A GIFT WORTH UNDERSTANDING
In Hebrews, chapter 2, the writer does a better job than any other New Testament writer in helping us to understand why God became flesh, born Jesus in Bethlehem for which we celebrate Christmas.
For 28 performances during the Living Christmas Tree, I would come out for about three minutes after Gail would sing "Jesus The Light of the World," and I would try in a 3-minute time span to encourage people to make the most important decision they could ever make in their life. And to make that decision I tried to, in a nutshell, help them to understand why Christ came into the world.
Now, I want to, this morning, do a good job with this. I don’t have a lot of time but I don’t think I need a lot of time. I want to just take this theological passage of scripture. Hebrews is a great book. It’s a little difficult to understand, and I want to bring it down to it’s minimum just so you can begin to understand, perhaps, even as a Christian, more than any other time, why God had to come into this world, born Jesus, in Bethlehem’s manager. We all grew up with the verse John 3:16. I have it in your sermon section. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Will you turn to the Book of Hebrews. The Hebrew writer does a better job than anybody else helping us to understand why God had to become flesh. He does a better job than anyone else helping us to understand the humanity of Christ. And in chapter 2, he talks about the fact that you and I, fallen mankind, needed a bridge or a mediator between ourselves and a holy, righteous God. And so, therefore, to help them to understand, help the Jewish people to understand what was needed, he refers to Christ continually as the high priest. Now, they immediately knew when he talked about high priest, every Jewish mind quickly grasped what that meant. Because they knew what a high priest was. They had them.
Now, there are four qualifications of a high priest of which the Hebrew writer, basically, tells the people that Jesus Christ met these four qualifications, and He is the eternal, supreme high priest.
Let me give you the four qualifications.
1. Must be one of the people.
The high priest must be one of the people. In other words, he had to be one of them. He had to be a Jew. He had to be living with them. He had to know them well. The high priest was identified. He became one of them. Just as Jesus Christ became one of us.
2. Must be faithful in ministry.
The high priest was to be very faithful in his ministry. Not only to God but also to mankind.
3. Must be appointed by God.
The high priest, not something randomly or democratically chosen. The high priest was appointed by God to be the high priest.
4. Must be cleansed from all sin.
The high priest must be cleansed from all sin because one of his chief functions was to offer up a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
Now, what the Hebrew writer is saying is, that Jesus Christ became man to be the high priest for all of us and he fulfills all four of those qualifications. He became one of us. He became flesh so that He would live with us and identify with us and know us. Secondly, He was faithful to the Father in his ministry. As you know He looked to his Father, speaking of His obedience on several occasions. And, thirdly He was appointed by God, the Father to come into this world. And, finally He was cleansed from all sin because He knew no sin at all. He was without sin.