Wednesday, March 21, 2007

hebrews: Jesus the High Priest

10 Hebrews

Hebrews 7.1 - .28

The primary job of a Levitical priest was to connect the Israelites to the LORD. The priest stood in as our representative. He offered sacrifices for us. He asked the LORD to forgive us. Unfortunately the priests of old died so a new priest had to come along and take his place. Over the centuries the Israelites had thousands of high priests and probably millions of “regular” priests. Their priesthoods were temporary. Long before the LORD set up the Levitical Priesthood thru Aaron there was a priest named Melchizedek. The Aaronic priests were priests because they were born into the tribe of Levi. Melchizedek had no such heritage. He was a priest without genealogy, without mother or father. The LORD made Melchizedek a high priest. (Hebrews 7.1 - .10) Jesus is a priest like Melchizedek.

The author of Hebrews refers to the fact that Melchizedek resembles the Son of God as a high priest. (Hebrews 7.3) Neither of them are descendants of Aaron or come from a priestly tribe. Both of them are kings. Both of them are greater than Abraham and by proxy the Levitical priesthood. (Hebrews 7.4 - .10) This is not to say the Melchizedek was supernatural in any way. He walks into the story of God’s people in Genesis 14 and then walks out*. It is Jesus who is the focus of what is being written.

The text quickly shifts to Jesus as the High Priest who truly meets our needs. Jesus is eternal and therefore he is the permanent high priest. Unlike the other priests he will always be there interceding on our behalf to the Father. Unlike the priests of old who had to offer sacrifices for themselves and the People of God over and over again, Jesus offers himself once and for all as a sacrifice for sin. He saves us completely. He is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinner and exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7.23 – 28)

He became the true High Priest by way of an oath that the LORD made. As we saw earlier the oaths and promises of the LORD are always fulfilled and are greater than any oath or promise we can make. Unlike the People of God in the past who had to rely on other people to represent them before the LORD we have the Son who is the permanent Great High Priest Jesus Christ. Unlike the People of God in the past who had to rely on continual sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins, our sins have been forgiven by the once and for all sacrifice the Son made on our behalf. This is a great and awesome comfort to know that we have security in our life as on of God’s People and don’t have to fearful but should live pure and holy lives as his people. For a world with so much darkness and bad news this is light and truly good news.

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