Summary: We have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
JESUS THE BETTER WAY: JESUS IS A BETTER MEDIATOR
HEBREWS 4:14 – 5:10
Big Idea: We have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
• Reading from the Old Testament: Job 23:1-9, 16-17
• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 22:1-15
• Reading from the Gospels: John 17:1-26
It strikes me as significant and worth note that most religions in our world employ a holy office of priesthood (or its equivalent). Look at any religion you please; Spiritism, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Native American religions, and even some strains of Christianity. The office of “priest” (or its equivalent) is present. As humans we seem to need someone to serve as a “buffer” between us and God … we need someone to “mediate” the relationship.
If you were to establish a set of criteria for someone to be a mediator what would that criteria be? I see many of the same criteria for mediators whether they be mediators between two parties in a dispute or between you and God. What would be on your list?
• Compassion? I certainly want my mediator to be understanding and sympathetic to my cause and my plight.
• Life Experience? I certainly do not want a mediator that is wet-behind-the-ears! I want them to “know the terrain” very well.
• Above average in wisdom and intellect? I want someone who has the wherewithal to navigate the circumstances for me. I want them to know everything they need to know to plead my case!
• Character? I would not want a mediator whose character was questionable. Questionable character makes everything they do suspect. I want them to be worthy of the office.
• Access to the judge? I want my mediator to be properly credentialed.
And there’s the rub. My list is impossible. I, like you, know some pretty good people but none of them meet all those criteria. Everyone meets some of them but nobody meets all of them.
The problem we face is that the mediator by her/his very nature (human) is inadequate. The mediator needs a mediator!
It really does not matter whether we are talking about a mediator in a court of law or a religious mediator (a priest) they all have this problem. Judaism certainly suffered from this. If you read the book of Leviticus you will find this to be a consistent undercurrent. Even though God ordains Aaron and his clan to be his priests the book makes it clear that Aaron and his clan aren’t qualified. God keeps reminding them to offer sacrifices for themselves. He also keeps reminding them of certain behaviors they cannot or must do. They are flawed and inadequate.
This real and present dilemma brings us into closer grips with the great theme of Hebrews – that Jesus is the perfect high priest – the perfect mediator. His task is to bring the voice of God to man and to usher men into the presence of God.
Let’s read Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10.
4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
5:1-3 Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
5:4-6 No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’” And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 5:7-10 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.