“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
— Acts 22:16

Earlier we talked about priests who had to wash with water, symbolically washing their sins away before they came into God’s holy presence in the tabernacle (Oct. 8). Because the seriousness of sin resulted in death, the symbolically purified priest would sacrifice an animal in the place of the sinful people. The priest would then sprinkle the sacrificial blood on the people to show that their sins were atoned for. Yet the priest’s washing with water and the sprinkling of blood did not actually take away the people’s sin (Hebrews 10:11).
By the Spirit of God, Isaiah prophesied about a dedicated, suffering Servant who came to represent God’s people and take their sins on himself, even though he was innocent of sin (Isaiah 49-50; 52:13-53:12). This Servant was Jesus, and he became the great, sinless High Priest who offered himself for the forgiveness of all of our sins, and spiritually covered us with his blood (Hebrews 8-10). Old Testament priests looked forward to the day when God would somehow deal with sin, and today we can look back to the cross of Christ Jesus. And all of this is symbolized when someone is washed, covered in the waters of baptism. The next time someone asks you, “When were you saved?” be sure to answer, “About two thousand years ago.”

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2). Amen.

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