Summary: Jesus our High Priest
October 14, 2012
Fear to follow the example of the Israelites who disobeyed God in the desert because His word is alive and powerful and dangerously sharp. Everything in creation will be laid bare before Him when it’s time to settle accounts, so cling to Jesus, our “great high priest” and “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Now, how do we know this is true? Let’s contrast Jesus with the priests of the Old Testament:
For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
What can a sinner do with his guilt? There’s no way he can even stand before God let alone make a case for his innocence. And so, God established a system whereby someone can intercede: these men are called priests, and (1) they are taken from among men, (2) they are ordained by God for men, and (3) they offer gifts and sacrifices.
The priests come from men—they’re of the same stock as their brethren, and it’s easy to see the comparison to Christ. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us: “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16).
These priests are ordained—that is, they are appointed to this position by God. A man couldn’t just walk into the most holy place, and he couldn’t pretend to be a priest. Read II Chronicles 26:16-21: “But when [Uzziah] was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 17And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: 18And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God. 19Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar. 20And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him. 21And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”
They offer gifts and sacrifices for sins—they did something no one else on earth could do. But we have to take note of their frailty:
2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
They had a personal connection with people who sinned in ignorance and with people who willingly rebelled because they were guilty of the same things! Their very first priest led them to make golden calves as false gods (Ex. 32)!
3And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
How ironic that the one who would stand before God has to offer something for His own sins as well as the sins of the people. It would be like going to court and watching your lawyer pay his own fines before pleading your case.
4And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
No man assumes the position, but rather he has to be born into it. He has to be a son of Aaron—don’t miss this point!
5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest;
Christ didn’t take the honor of priest for Himself,
but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Jesus is God’s only begotten Son! He has the right to be God’s priest, and He is ordained to be (Ps. 110:4), but His priesthood is different than that of the sons of Aaron. (1) His priesthood is forever! He might have taken on the seed of Abraham, but He defeated death, and He ever lives. (2) It is according to the order of Melchisedec. I’m not going to get into this comparison much today because we’ll spend a lot of time on it in chapter seven. For now, let’s just go back and read the story so you’ll be familiar with it: There was a war between several kings, and Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was living in one of the places that lost the war. Back then, when your town was conquered you could count on either being killed or taken into slavery: “And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 15And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 16And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. 21And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion” (Gen. 14:12-24).