Hebrews 5: 4 – 10
Last week we looked at the portrait of the High Priest; we highlighted that the High Priest was an office which was occupied by a man and chosen among men by God. He had to be sympathetic knowing that he is no different when compared to the people he is going to offer the sacrifice for; plus he had to offer sacrifices in the prescribed way and according to the Law. The High Priest can only offer sacrifices for Sin once a year and was not allowed to stroll into the Holiest of All frivolously.
The first High Priest of Israel was Aaron and the writer in presenting his case to the unsaved made a comparison with the next person in the hierarchy, that is, Aaron. Aaron was not appointed by any man; he didn’t assume the office, he was called explicitly by God. It was all God’s idea that the Sin of the people could be atoned for because He wanted a way back for mankind.
Aaron was a High Priest appointed strictly for the nation of Israel.
As always in this great book, the writer from the onset, made a clear-cut distinction between the Old and New Testament. He made the comparison between Angels and Jesus, between Moses and Jesus and between the Old Testament High Priest and Jesus who represents the High Priest of the New Testament. His audience again is the group who heard the message of the Gospel and was not certain about making a commitment to what they had heard. He had to go this way to convince and warn them again and again.
Did Jesus meet these qualifications?
First and foremost Jesus was not raised to the glory of the high priesthood as a result of a desire or career; He was elevated by God (the same God who appointed Aaron) to the office. Jesus said, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me.” This is the reason why He had to come to planet Earth as flesh; Apostle Paul expresses it in the fact that He came in the likeness of sinful flesh and condemned sin in the flesh. We can categorically say that Jesus came into the world as hundred percent Man and hundred percent God.
John Calvin was spot on when he said, “that the Son of God has a nature in common with us, does not diminish His dignity, but commends it the more to us for he is fitted to reconcile us to God because he is man.” In other words, God had to come down to where we are in order to pick us up and bring us back to Him.
Secondly the Bible says that, while Jesus lived on Earth, anticipating death, He cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as He offered up priestly prayers to God because He honored God and was answered. Some other translations have it as, Jesus cried with strong cries. We can refer to the crucifixion at Calvary and when He was at the Garden at Gethsemane. His cry showed His entire participation in mans’ weakness so that like the Bible rightly states, we do not have a high priest who is not touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He was COMPASSIONATE.
Thirdly, Jesus did not approach the mercy seat like Aaron did. Looking back at the instruction given to Aaron, a Goat/Ram without blemish had to be killed and the blood is taken into the Holiest of All. This isn’t the same in the case of Jesus. He went into the Holiest of All by Himself without the blood of goats. He became the sacrifice not for the atonement (which was temporal) but for wiping off the sins of those that would believe and commit to the message of the Gospel. His sacrifice was permanent until this very day. In other words, He became the sacrificial animal that would be slaughtered and His blood used for the forgiveness of sins, not for just one nation but the whole world in its entirety.
It was a complete and perfect sacrifice; the least we could do as human beings is to commit to this message as the writer warned his audience who could not commit because of the hardness of their hearts. The goal had been achieved; mankind can now approach God without any sense of shame or guilt.
Indeed Jesus was qualified and fitted to be our High Priest.
The difference between His priesthood and that of Aaron is that Aaron was only a High Priest over the Nation of Israel but Jesus became the High Priest over the World. I can say this because in verse 6 and 9 of the same chapter, He was declared to be a priest forever, having the rankings of Melchizedek. Do you remember Melchizedek; He was the priest that appeared from nowhere, no parent or genealogy. There was no nation of Israel at that time but all we had was the World.
Therefore, Jesus became the progenitor of the new Covenant. He provided ETERNAL SALVATION for only those who would believe and commit to the message of the Gospel. The racial barrier was completely broken and removed so that there isn’t a Jew or Gentile but all will become one with Christ as the Head having many members. Anyone who believes will not perish but have eternal life.
“The first link between my soul and Christ is not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon
I can almost guess that in the coming chapters of this Book, a whole lot would be said about Melchizedek and the priesthood. Keep it here.