TODAY’S READING: NEHEMIAH 11-13
“Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.” – Nehemiah 13:30-31
This is the closing statement of the book of Nehemiah. Several things stand out to me in relation to Jesus.
Nehemiah had cleansed the people of everything foreign.
We wed ourselves to all sorts of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, practices, customs, etc. that are foreign to the light, love, and life of God. Jesus cleanses us from everything that is foreign to God’s character. We are no longer to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. And, we are to destroy the strongholds, the foreign fortresses in our minds, that guard thoughts and lofty opinions against the knowledge of God. Jesus cleanses us of all these as we set our minds on him.
Nehemiah provided for the wood offering at appointed times. This was a daily offering necessary for the priests to keep fire continually burning on the altar.
Jesus provided his own wood offering at his own appointed time, carrying the cross for his crucifixion.
Nehemiah also provided for the firstfruits.
In 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23, Paul says that Jesus is the firstfruits. In his resurrection, Jesus brought new life to the earth. He was the firstfruits, the first of this new life, to come forth out of the ground.
As the last things Nehemiah mentions of himself, it clearly was important for him. And, these are important things to remember about Jesus. He cleanses us of everything foreign in our hearts, souls, and minds. He provides the wood for the offering that he, and all us who want to follow him, was crucified on. He is the firstfruits, the beginning of the new creation and new life.