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Jesus as High Priest

October 16th, 2018
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At the centre of this new way is the teaching on Jesus as our great high priest. In fact, one could argue that the main point of Hebrews is to explain the significance of Jesus’ high priesthood.

Hebrews 8:1

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: we do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,

Scripture teaches that we all require a priest or a mediator to approach God. But Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus Christ himself is our priest—indeed, our great high priest—and he has no rivals.

What, then, does it mean for Jesus to be our great high priest? We will consider three aspects from Hebrews. And then look at what type of oneness he brings us into.

First, as our great high priest Jesus has offered the final sacrifice to atone for sins . Because Jesus’ sacrifice is perfect, no additional sacrifice is needed forever.

This is the case because Jesus did not simply offer a sacrifice that was external to himself, but he offered himself as the perfect sacrifice.

A key text in this regard is Hebrews 10:5–7, which quotes Psalm 40:6–8:

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, “Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll –
    I have come to do your will, my God
He then adds in Hebrews 10:9
9 Then he said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do your will.’ He sets aside the first to establish the second.

Jesus’ sacrifice provides the solution to a problem that we often find in the Old Testament: even where sacrifices may be offered, people’s hearts (including those of the priests) were often far from God.

Jesus overcame the imperfection of previous offerings by offering the sacrifice of his own body. For in his body, Jesus was fully devoted to God in every way. Jesus never sinned, whether by deeds of omission or commission.

Jesus lived a perfect life, which enabled him to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice for the remission of sins.

As Hebrews says, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. However, the blood of bulls and goats can never suffice to take away sins That is why it is such wonderful news that Jesus himself is our final sacrifice.

Jesus can actually bring true and lasting forgiveness of sins because of the value of his sacrifice.

It was of great value because of its purity and the fact that it was the Son sent from heaven who offered it for us.

Second, Jesus is our great high priest in a way that is superior to the high priesthood of the Old Testament because Jesus ministers in heaven itself. We see this in

Hebrews 1:3(b)

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

It is important to remember that Jesus’ sacrifice is effective because he did not stay dead, but was raised to an indestructible life, and this resurrection life is the reason for the heavenly, priestly reign of Christ.

His seat at the right hand of God is the seat of the victorious conqueror, who has conquered all his enemies, including Satan, sin and death

This describes the humanity of Jesus ascended to the throne of God. He has taken our humanity to the right of God.

There is no one on earth or religious system that can provide closer access to the throne of God.

Hebrews 6:19

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Jesus thus reigns as our great high priest in heaven itself.

But prior to this description of his ascension we read the emphasises on the divinity of the Son:

Hebrews 1: 3(a)

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

The power of Jesus as our great high priest to forgive our sins is therefore keenly related to his divinity as well. In him human and divine are one.

This high priest has a special quality

Hebrews 7:23-25

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

He never has to be renewed in his office. He never takes a break or goes to sleep. Death will never prevent him from executing his office as priest. He is a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. He is the royal priest-king whose priestly reign has no end.

He therefore is able to save his people to the uttermost, because he always lives to intercede for us, and never ceases to provide access to God, blessing us with the benefits of salvation acquired by his high priestly work

3. A High Priest Like Us

Lest we think that Jesus is far removed from us in the heavens, Hebrews teaches that Jesus is our great high priest because he is near to us. He is our brother, the one who goes before us.

He did not discard his humanity as something temporary and unpleasant.

Hebrews 2:10

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.

In fact, Hebrews says that Jesus learned obedience by what he suffered, and was thus made perfect

How are we to understand this perfection? It does not refer to any lack of perfection in the Son’s essential character. Instead, it refers to the perfection of his priesthood. Jesus is the perfect priest for us. He was made like us in his humanity in every way, except for sin.

We read that the Son of God was not ashamed to be known as our brother. In other words, Hebrews emphasizes the solidarity of Jesus’ condition with our own, even to the point that he endured suffering in order to bring many sons to glory

11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.’

From the heavenly side he reveals God to us and from the earthly he lead our worship to God.

13 And again,
‘I will put my trust in him.’

He gives us his faith in God

And again he says,
‘Here am I, and the children God has given me.’

He therefore understands what it means to live in this world with all its difficulties, not least the need to struggle against temptation. And this is key: because Jesus is made like his brothers in every respect, he is qualified to serve as a “merciful and faithful” high priest. Don’t neglect to see his mercy.

As one who understands our frailty and struggle with sin, he is gentle with us.

And Jesus not only understands us better than any earthly priest, but because he never gave in to sin, he is actually able to help us in time of need. Indeed, as the one who has won final victory over sin, Jesus is the source of eternal salvation.

Now we need to discuss the concept of oneness. Or Atonement.

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Message for the Day

The Sin Problem

October 16th, 2018
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The Day of Atonement pictures the role of the high priest in removing our sins and bringing us into the oneness of God..

First look at the problem of sin and how the Bible defines it..

The Bible project has a video on Sin. To view please click here.

Sin is an unsolvable problem for humans. We see that as each government ultimately fails and someone else tries to create the good society.

The book of Hebrews shows that even the beautiful religious system of Israel was inadequate to overcome sin.

There is an exciting chapter in Hebrews 10 which reveals God’s solution to our problem.

It is centred on the events of the Day of Atonement – the holiest day in which the holiest person went into the holiest place. It reveals God’s new way to him.

It also contains an encouragement to enter this oneness and a warning about not treating carelessly this grace of God.

Read Hebrews 10.

Message for the Day ,

Exile(2)

September 21st, 2018
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The exile language is used most explicitly of Jesus. So when you start, you open up the first page of the New Testament, you get to Matthew, and Matthew has this genealogy: the exile is the key. There’s fourteen generations to an exile and there’s fourteen generations from the return of exile to Jesus. And so Jesus comes to a situation where exile is quite important, and he actually comes into that situation and it seems that exile is still actually happening.

So you read in Luke’s Gospel—you read about people who are waiting for the consolation of Israel. And what’s the consolation of Israel? They’re waiting for something like the end of exile.

They’re back in the land, they’re there, but the—one of the key hopes for the end of the exile was that God’s people would be not only in God’s place, but under God’s direct rule. Israel’s not under God’s direct rule. There’s all these other foreign enemies who are in there—supremely the Romans.

They’re not experiencing the great blessings that were promised by Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets that would happen when they came back from exile. So in that sense, they’re still under God’s judgement and still waiting for an end of exile.

Jesus, when he comes, he talks about the kingdom of God being near and the kingdom of God as opposed to—we see this in Daniel—to the kingdoms of the nations being in charge. God is going to be in charge.

And then when Jesus predicts his upcoming death and resurrection, he talks about it in terms of himself being handed over to the Gentiles. And mocked and flogged and killed. So that language of exile is actually used of Jesus. It is like he’s going through the kind of thing that Israel went through when it came to God judging them for their sin.
Jesus is under God’s judgement. Jesus is suffering that curse, which is actually described in terms of exile. So he actually by suffering that curse—that judgement of God—he actually takes that upon himself and he brings about the kingdom of God.

The end of Israel’s exiled state is when God is actually in charge fully, and it is actually also in the Old Testament when new creation would happen: God would bring about his entire new creation. He would bring an end to sin, an end to death, he would bring about resurrection, he’d bring about new creation.

And that is what happens in Jesus: in Jesus —there is new creation. Jesus is raised from the dead: he’s resurrected, he has a whole new body not subject to death, he himself is actually God’s kingdom and has brought it in but only in himself.

Only for one man—only for Jesus. In him and in that fully physical sense, God has brought about a completely fully physical new creation, but only in Jesus. He is the first fruits.

So the physical new creation, the end of exile, experiencing all of God’s blessings happens to Christ.

But as we continue to read the New Testament and as we see in the Gospels as well, we can actually be part of that not by by political means, not by belonging to some ethnic group or nation. But we become part of it through God’s Spirit and his Word bringing us to have faith in Jesus Christ – to truly believe in him.

The Bible talks about us actually being in Christ, it says, and in 2 Corinthians, Paul says, “Whoever’s in Christ, new creation!” That’s the literal translation. That is, new creation is actually whenever someone is in Christ, and we are in Christ by his word and his Spirit. So, in that sense, we ourselves are in that new creation—end of judgement, end of exile.

So in Christ, we’re part of the new creation—we’re home. We’re in the place we really belong. The exile is totally over for him, and if we’re in him—if we’re united to him by faith and in the Spirit—then it’s over for us as well. Of course, it’s not over completely and totally for us: we’re in that new creation by faith and by the Spirit, not by sight.

But we have to be careful in saying that we’re in exile here and now, because in Christ, we no longer are in exile: we’re home. We experience this so strongly in prayer. It is a taste of our future home life.

There is a powerful promise is made in John14:1-4

1 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.’

However the Christian life reflects a paradox.

In one sense Jesus bring his home life to this earth so we can see his fellowship with the Father in the Spirit. But also it says he became flesh like one of us and joined our tabernacling, in our exile.

We hear that he is promising that the home life we have seen in him will become fully ours when he returns.

So can we say Christians are in exile? Most of us, truth be told, live pretty comfortable, settled, suburban lives, in the country that we were born in or chose to adopt as our own. The circumstances of our daily lives could hardly be more different from those endured by people who have been forcibly displaced from homeland and family.

But if we are readers of the New Testament then we will know that exile language can be used metaphorically as well as literally. Occasionally, within the pages of the New Testament, we meet examples of men and women who are exiles in the literal sense of the word – John on the island of Patmos, for example (Rev 1:9), or Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth (Acts 18:2).

But what about the average settled Christian living in his homeland?

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Message for the Day