Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord. (Exodus 28:29)
As God spoke to Moses and gave him the plan for the tabernacle in which the Lord God would dwell in the midst of His people Israel, He also gave instructions for the garment that Aaron, who was to be the first high priest of Israel, would wear while ministering in the tabernacle and offering sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. These included instructions for the breastpiece that the high priest would wear, bearing the names of his people on his heart.
If you’ve spent much time in Scripture, you know that Jesus is identified as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), and I am quite certain that He, like Aaron, bore the names of His people upon His heart as He offered His perfect, paid-in-full sacrifice before the Lord to atone for the sins of His people.
For centuries, the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon was widely considered to be a poetic allegory of God the Shepherd’s love for the people of Israel and Christ the Bridegroom’s love for His bride, the church. While that interpretation has been rejected by many modern theologians, there have been a number of outstanding Bible scholars, past and present, who read the Song as a breathtaking love letter from the Bridegroom to the bride. While I readily and respectfully acknowledge that there are good and godly interpreters who disagree, I favor the traditional reading of the text, especially when I come to passages like these, where the Bridegroom croons to His bride —
How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
And the bride exults —
He has brought me to his banquet hall,
And his banner over me is love. . . .
My beloved is mine, and I am his;
He pastures his flock among the lilies. (Song of Solomon 1:10; 2:4, 16 NASB)
I wrote in an earlier article that as Christ hung on that cruel cross, He clearly heard the jeers of the crowd: “He saved others, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him” (Matthew 27:42).
And here’s the incredible truth: He could have! Jesus Christ could have come down from that cross in an instant, uttered one word, and twelve legions of angels would have turned the hill Golgotha into a slaughter pen (Matthew 26:53). It wasn’t nails that held Jesus Christ to the cross; it was his love for YOU!
This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder . . . As our Savior hung on the cross, experiencing the terrible, utterly unimaginable wrath of God, shuddering as fresh jolts of agony coursed through His body with each tortured breath . . . could it be that He was thinking of you and me during that entire time? And perhaps He was repeating to Himself over and over . . .
“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!”
Christian, you are the bride of the King. I pray you will exult in the amazing, unfathomable love that your great High Priest has for you. He bore your name upon His heart as He bore your sins upon that cross . . . and His heart beats with love for you today. May that truth strengthen you and encourage you to walk in faithfulness and joy this day.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!