Summary: Shows that Jesus is our great high priest (part of Advent Series)
Jesus the Priest (Advent 2)
December 9th, 2001
Fellowship Advent Christian Church
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. 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. 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." 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.
Jesus means many things to many people, his birth affects everyone one way or the other. To some he is savior, to others he is fraud. You can have any opinion about Jesus except no opinion, for you have to either accept or reject his claims on your life. This Advent Season we have been examining some of the different roles of Jesus; last week we looked at Jesus the Prophet, today we will meet Jesus the Priest.
What do you think of when you think of a priest? Most likely you think of a pastor, a person who is appointed to lead a church. Now, even though I’m a pastor I know full well that just because you might think of a priest someone who leads the church like a pastor, your opinion might very well be mixed. People generally have mixed feelings about the clergy. On the good side, people assume that a priest is someone who knows the will of God and has studied God’s word to know the wisdom found there. People think of priests as loving, kind, caring people. They think that pastors don’t have the same sins, temptations, or bad habits that they have; some don’t even think that they can talk to their pastor because they don’t think the pastor will understand the temptations that they are struggling with— after all, what does a pastor know about doubt, anger, hatred, lust, or greed? They see priests as people who are willing to give their lives to serve God and their fellow man, somehow set above and beyond the average Christian. This is not a bad view to have.
But there’s another side to this view of priests and pastors as well-- a negative side. Some people think that they can’t relate their problems, struggles and sins to a pastor because they think that the pastor would not be able to relate to their sins. Sometimes people think that pastors won’t have anything to do with them because of their sins; they think that a pastor won’t want to talk to somebody who is sinful. Others don’t like pastors because they think that pastors are ‘holier than thou,’ looking down on people who aren’t free from sin like they are. For whatever reason, a lot of people have the idea that they can not get to know their priest or pastor because there is simply too much of a difference between clergy and lay people.
As many of you know, I have never liked the word Reverend as a title for a priest or pastor, and don’t go by it myself. I also don’t like wearing a clerical collar or robe in the pulpit. For that matter, I’m not terribly fond of wearing a suit. I don’t like anything that emphasizes the difference between the regular person and the priest or pastor. I would rather be called Robert than Reverend. I don’t want to wear clothes that will make people treat me differently because I am a pastor. I want people to know that I am a regular person like they are. I will try to be a good example, I will try to know the bible, I will try to show God’s love and wisdom, I will try to fulfill the duties of my calling to the fullest; but I don’t want people thinking of me as being somehow different than they are simply because I’m a pastor. I’ve said it before, but I consider it an honor and a compliment when people say that I am not like most pastors.