Exodus 22-24; Matthew 20:17-34
Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Exodus 22-23 continues with laws that will form the Book of the Covenant. Exodus 24 gives us a picture of Moses, the Mediator.
Moses mediates symbolically as he sprinkles the blood on both the altar and the people. The sacrificial blood is necessary for the sinful people to approach a Holy God. Moses stands between the altar of God and the people as the mediator of the Covenant.
But we also see Moses physically mediating for the people as he goes before the Lord’s presence on the mountain to receive the rest of the covenant regulations…
Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24:17-18).
Before Moses ascended the mountain to stand alone before God, there is an amazing scene. It’s breathtaking…
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank (Exodus 24:9-11).
Can you imagine? Beholding God? And eating and drinking?
In today’s New Testament passage we see a different type of encounter with God… I wonder if the mother of John and James knew exactly who she was standing before when she made her bold request!
She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” (Matthew 20:21-22)
The cup Jesus was referring to was His death. Jesus goes on to say…
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).
It is in this verse that Jesus gives (in my opinion) the clearest message of the gospel. He came to give his life as a ransom for many. He becomes both the sacrifice and the mediator between God and man. Now that’s breathtaking. That’s the gospel!