Understanding the High Priest

Hebrews 5

Friday, September 23, 2022

The Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament was responsible for bridging the gap between God and man. Their job was to make sacrifices for the people to turn away God’s wrath. People are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). Every person sins against God and is therefore guilty and worthy of his wrath, and therefore, death (Romans 3:23, 6:23). In order to turn away God’s wrath, blood must be spilled, since blood is what is owed. By sacrificing an animal to God, that debt is paid, and our just punishment is delayed. The priest’s role in this is as mediator. Normal people don’t need to (and in fact aren’t allowed to) offer their own sacrifices. The priests do it on their behalf. The priest takes your offering and presents it to God. For this to work, priests need to be blameless in their own right and that is why they also offer sacrifices for themselves. The most important sacrifice of the year is on the day of atonement when the high priest goes into the Holy of Holies, the location of God’s mercy seat. On this day they offer a sacrifice for all people and bring it directly to God’s feet by sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat. Only the high priest is authorized to enter this area. All others would surely die.

If Jesus is our High Priest, then he is the one who can approach God on our behalf. He is the one who can turn away God’s wrath. He is the one who has our interests at heart, having been tempted the same as us. However, Jesus is different from the priests who came before. He is not of the old order or Levitical priests; he is a priest of the order of Melchizedek. Jesus isn’t selected for his priestly service because of his heritage, but instead because of his obedience (Hebrews 5:8). He is a High Priest who we can trust, because we know that he was truly obedient to God and was without sin. He himself said that God would send legions of angels on his behalf (Matthew 26:53). If God will do that for his Son, then we can truly believe it when Jesus said, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14).

What is it that you are hungering for? Do you long for a faith as strong as the apostles? Do you want to do the works that the disciples did in the book of Acts so that God can be glorified and more can be saved (Acts 3:6, 5:15, 6:8, 8:7, 9:34, 9:40, 14:3, 19:11-12)? Pray daily. Ask and you will receive (Matthew 7:7). You have a High Priest who understands you. You have a High Priest who can ask the Father, and the Father will listen.

-Nathaniel Johnson

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Pretend you are God writing a job description for a mediator between God and man. What qualifications does the role require? Any benefits to the job?
  2. Can God mediate for himself?
  3. What makes Jesus the perfect mediator?
  4. How have you personally benefited from Jesus in his role as mediator and high priest? What coming benefits are you looking forward to?

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