Summary: Sermon 17 in a study in HEBREWS
“For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.” NASB
The middle verses of this chapter have dealt with the differences between the priesthood of men and the eternal Priesthood of the Son of God. In brief, Jesus was not even from the tribe of Levi, from whom the Aaronic priesthood was manned.
He was from the tribe of Judah, from which no priests ever officiated. In fact, there is an example in the Old Testament to tell us God’s reaction to anyone who would usurp the authority of the priesthood that He established.
King Uzziah was also of the tribe of Judah, and this is the sad story of his later days.
“But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. 18 They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.” 19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him. 21 King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and excluded from the temple of the LORD. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.”
So we know that it is God who establishes and commands positions of authority, and of His Son He said, ‘Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’.
This order was not of the line of Aaron, and as we looked at previously, the lack of information about Melchizedek makes him a type of the eternality of Christ and His High Priestly office that has no end.
So as I said, in these middle verses of HEBREWS 7 we have a contrast between a priesthood and its services which were passing away, and the coming in of a better priesthood.
In the first place, the priests themselves were sinners and therefore had to make sacrifice for themselves as well as the people, whereas the Son of God, being sinless and perfect could make sacrifice for all but needn’t make sacrifice for Himself.
Secondly, the old had many priests since they died and had to be replaced, but Jesus Christ is alive forevermore and as it says in verse 25, is “able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
So as we go into our text verses today, let’s take a closer look at Him. Let’s consider Jesus; study Jesus; and see why He is our greatest need.
WE NEED A PRIEST LIKE HIM
…it was fitting that we should have such a high priest
Most translations at the beginning of verse 26 say that it was ‘fitting’ that we should have such a high priest. One or two say it ‘became us’. These terms can be misleading for us since they are not meant in the way that we normally apply them.
The author is teaching that we had a need that could not be met except by such a high priest as has been described, officiating in the kind of priesthood that has been established for us in Him.
The Holman translation says “For this is the kind of high priest we need…” but the wording of the NIV more clearly shows us that the writer is referring back to earlier verses as it reads, “Such a high priest meets our need…”
(This sermon was written shortly after the election of Barak Obama. Whereas I usually update sermons before reposting, I decided to leave the following paragraph as originally written for the reader’s hindsight)