This year at Mosaic, many of us are reading through the Old and New Testaments together. On Friday, we had readings from Leviticus and Matthew.
Two stories of God.
Two stories of execution.
The first is the execution of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of the priest Aaron. On a superficial reading it seems like they are executed for what seems like a relatively minor infraction. They brought unauthorised fire before God. It was a violation of the command of God and as a result, extreme justice is given to them. They are consumed by fire before the presence of God. They are executed.
Then there is the New Testament reading. This time it is Jesus. He is mocked, beaten and executed in the most brutal of ways. He is crucified on a Roman cross. This time the execution is not because of His violation of the command of God. This time the execution is for all the times you and I have violated the commands of God.
Two vastly different scenes reflect the tension which God resolved in Jesus. His holiness. His abhorrence at any sin and the justice it deserves. Then there is also a picture of His love. His willingness to do whatever it takes to save us.
The story of Nadab and Abihu could be any of our stories, but instead Jesus made it His story. Instead He was consumed by the wrath of His father, so that we would not have to be. He was destroyed so that we would not need to be. He was executed, so that we don’t have to be.