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Ezekiel was a prophet who God allowed to see many things. Most of his recorded visions were written during the Babylonian exile in a book that bears his name. Many have indicated that this compilation of writings is the hardest in the Old Testament to translate. Some of these visions remain prophetic as we approach the end of the age.
What caught my eye this month during my reading was the detail of the instructions and requirements of those who would serve in ministering before God. Take for example the blueprint for reconstruction of the Temple and the timing or specifics about sacrificial offerings. The rituals established from the beginning are reiterated again in this book for emphasis. They are repeated because God wanted attention drawn back to those things that the Israelites blatantly pushed aside. And, as punishment for the religious leaders and those across the spectrum of Hebrew society who adopted this “shove it to you, God, we are going our own way” mentality, the exile was levied. It was a harsh and brutal reality that lasted 70 years. God foretold the disaster would occur through prophets and commanded it to come forth. It did. Everything God does is for a reason.
“And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments.” Ezekiel 44:19 ESV
The ritual of taking off the holy vestments in the holy place and putting on common attire when leaving the area declared holy was the custom.
Now, take the transformation with me as you read the following passage:
…And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And, immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5: 24b-34 ESV
Is not this contrast stunning?
The eternal Christ, leaves His holy habitation in the Heavens and takes on a common likeness of humanity. Jesus is the embodiment of holiness. His flesh was wrapped in life and light, including his clothes. He didn’t leave His garments in Heaven when He came to earth. He made His entire wardrobe holy, by His presence.
In the midst of so many — one woman, one touch. Everyone wanted a piece of Him for they knew He was a man like no other. Most wanted to see His miracles/signs and hear what He had to say but some received something even greater.
One last thought: At the end of His ministry, His outer garments were taken from Him and He allowed the executioners to execute Him on the cross in His undergarments only. Remember, they cast lots for His clothing. He hung naked, shamed, spit upon, tortured and breathed His last. The guiltless became guilty. The eternal becomes killable. Why on earth? Only for you and me.
This is the great invitation that Jesus continues to give to us all. He wants us to pick up the garments dipped in blood that He laid down, so we can clothe ourselves with His righteousness and adorn ourselves with the everlasting cloak of salvation. What a wonderful expression of unmerited favor and love.
Joe Wagley is a Realtor and broker in Lenawee County. He is the owner of The Wagley Group in Adrian and Manitou Beach. He can be reached at 517-265-6000 or by email at Joe@TheWagleyGroup.com.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Joe Wagley: Jesus is the ultimate holiness transmitter