“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 NIV84)
Not only were the names Israel’s children etched into the onyx stones of the ephod, but each was also represented as a precious stone in the breastplate the Lord had made for the high priest. Over his heart, the high priest would carry the names of those he served. Always knowing, and always remembering, that they were in service for and to God’s people. Every time the high priest performed his role, he was representing. He was either representing God to His people, or God’s people to their God. What a heavy responsibility. The high priest was NEVER to represent his own interests. In fact, when fulfilling his duties, his interests didn’t matter.
In a very real way, this is the same thing that Jesus has done for us. Jesus represents us to the Father as those redeemed and sanctified by His blood shed on the cross. Jesus represents the Father to us by revealing to us His heart of grace, mercy and compassion. Jesus doesn’t have to wear us over His heart because we are in His heart. He loves us, no matter what!
Any pastor worth his salt knows this all too well. We bear the hurts and pains of those we serve. We try the best we can to represent the love and compassion of Jesus to those God has placed over our hearts. May our ministries never be about us but about the Lord and those we serve.