“Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.” (Numbers 16:47-48)
It was a shocking display of God’s justice. Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and all their families were swallowed alive by the earth. In this way God showed that Moses and Aaron were his appointed leaders.
But that terrible event didn’t keep the people from grumbling. They continued to oppose Moses and Aaron. So God sent a plague on the camp. Then, as Moses directed him to, Aaron ran into the midst of the people with his holy censer to offer atonement for the people’s sins. It was a bold move. Because of the plague, many people were already diseased, and some had already died. For Aaron to touch anyone who had the plague or died from it would have made him unclean and unable to minister as a priest. But he did his priestly duty. In the words of our passage, he “stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped.” He prevented those who were alive from joining the dead.
This scene points to what Jesus has done for us. When Jesus, the holy Son of God, became human like us, he entered a world filled with sin and death. He even took on death for our sake, to pay the price for our sins. And now he lives to intercede for us. So our salvation is secure. He stands between the living and the dead, keeping us in the salvation he has won for us. If you are in Christ, hell cannot touch you. Praise God that Jesus bars the way!
Jesus, thank you for saving us. Help us to live faithfully for you. Amen.