7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. But the priest shall be unclean until evening.
8 The one who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and shall be unclean until evening.
This was not sin, it was uncleanness from burning the sacrifice. This affected the Priest, and the one who gathered the ashes. They had been washed, but they were unclean until the sun went down.
What interested me, was where they spent the time of uncleanness? I began to wonder, so just for a moment, join me in my wondering. I don’t know if this ever happened, but just suppose the two men spent the time together in conversation.
How much time would, even a Levite, have with a Priest? They would work together, but what about fellowship. What about having a problem, and having the ear of the Priest, for just an afternoon?
God does nothing by accident, so I don’t believe whoever the Priest and the man of ashes was, was an accident. For the sake of supposition, let’s just suppose this Levite was named Levi. We’ll keep it simple, and the Priest, will call Eleazar.
Maybe it was a financial issue, or the man was troubled about his teenager. Let’s go a step further, and say that this Priest had experience dealing with the same issue. Perhaps in that brief imaginary conversation, that the Priest spoke something into the life of that Levite, that rescued his entire family.
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s all well and good, but it’s an imaginary situation. You can’t tell me chapter and verse about a conversation between a Priest and a carrier of ashes. You’d be right, in the Old Testament, but what about The New Testament.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
Let’s keep the name of the ashes’ carrier the same, let’s call him Levi. Only instead of the ashes of the sacrifice, let’s talk about the ashes of his life. He was a tax collector, probably not the dream he had as a child. This was Matthew, called Levi. I have to believe, as a young man, he dreamed of more than sitting and taking money to give to Rome.
He had some ashes of his own. If nothing else, the remnants of dreams which had not materialized. He had some uncleanness, but Levi didn’t hold out any hope of talking to a Priest. A Priest in that day, wouldn’t have spoken to a tax collector if they could avoid it. Yet, there was another Priest walking one day.
I mentioned that the Priest in Numbers Chapter 19, was in the situation because of the sacrifice. He had not sinned, that was not the reason for Eleazar’s uncleanness. Because of the sacrifice of purification, he was in a state that was not of his doing.
Christ has no uncleanness, not at any time. The Word Of God says, He knew no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. He was not, I want to make this very clear, in any uncleanness of any kind. The Lamb was spotless, Holy, and separate from sinners.
Yet, He walked into the unclean areas of the camp. Because unlike Eleazar, He could touch the unclean, and Heal their uncleanness, without defining Himself. You see, the same chapter in Numbers talks about touching a dead body, and dealing with that. Christ touched the dead, and they started breathing again.
Christ touched the Leper, and instead of getting leprosy, the Leper got healed. Christ touched the blind, and they began to See. Christ was both Priest, Sacrifice, God, and Man. So when He walked to the place Matthew sat, He wasn’t there killing time til He went back to Heaven. He was planning the time, until He could obliterate both the world’s uncleanness, and the night itself.
He spoke to Matthew, looked into his eyes, and said Follow Me. In other words, we don’t have to wait until The Sun sets, Matthew, because Jesus said, I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life! He is the Sun that arises with Healing in His wings. He’s The One who’s state is not determined by our darkness, but by His Light.
Could that be why in Matthew’s last chapter, he talked not about the sunset, but the dawning of a new day? When This Priest speaks to you, it’s a new day! When The High Priest of Judah speaks, it’s Life giving, it’s cleansing, it’s a new day in Him!!!
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.