The Best High Priest – Part 2

Hebrews 5:1-10

Started this section last week, sets the theme for the entire center section of epistle. Is the most important portion; its subject: the Priesthood of the Lord Jesus. If point of Hebrews is that “Jesus Is the Best”, then certainly he is Best High Priest. So why is that a big deal? The veil in the temple torn in half, Old Covenant no longer in force. It’s New Covenant now, besides, the one “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father”. Why do we need a priest if we are priests?

Consider another question: who or what is it that makes you fit to be in God’s presence? Even high priests during time of Old Covenant couldn’t just waltz into Most Holy Place however / whenever they felt like. On Day of Atonement, High Priest had to take blood from sacrifice for himself and his household and sprinkle the mercy seat first! And that was only a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things”. If Aaron and his descendants entered Most Holy Place on basis of sacrifice, so must we. Except animal sacrifice is done, over, no longer acceptable to God; he requires something else now.

Even though we are priests, we still need a High Priest, one who has merit and standing to be in God’s presence. If this High Priest is to be help to us, must have sufficient merit and standing to cover not only his own presence there but ours as well. Not just anyone will do; in fact, is only one who meets all the requirements and does so perfectly – the Lord Jesus. Was appointed to his priestly office by God the Father himself, didn’t simply assume the role.

B. Jesus was…and is heard by God v.7

resurrection proves Jesus was heard

Jesus prayed to the one who was able to deliver him from death…and he did deliver him “out of” death, not simply back to earthly existence but to something far greater and more glorious

Jesus’ prayer not that he would escape death, but that he would not be overcome by it; that his prayer was answered means we need not fear death if we are “in Christ”

Paul prayed that saints in Ephesus might know “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty powerwhich He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.”Eph. 1:19-22

the fact we worship a risen Savior proves God heard and answered his prayer, and validated his appointment to office

necessary aspect of priestly office to plead with God, to intercede with God – first on behalf of the priest, then others

if Jesus could not effectively plead for himself, how could he possibly help others? that his prayers for himself were heard show he can be effectual mediator for his people

Jesus’ ascension “transported” him to most effectual place to exercise his priestly office

Jesus is now and forever will be serving as High Priest in real sanctuary – at the throne of grace, seated at Father’s right hand

is in place of highest privilege, greatest access – no better Priest, no better place, nothing can ever surpass it – Jesus the only one who can come to God deserving to be heard because he earned the right through his obedience, his reverence

C. Jesus was compassionate because of temptation v.8-9a (2-3)

an essential qualification for high priest – compassion for the ignorant and wandering based on personal experience

OT high priest did not have luxury of sacrificing for others…shaking his head…it’s me again…for them…they just don’t get it

could sympathize with the people’s need because he had same need; could understand their ongoing struggles with sin, he had same ones; could relate to dangers and difficulties of temptation, was part of his life also

to be complete Savior and High Priest, Jesus had to experience certain things

Jesus did not have sin and sin nature to cloud his perceptions and thinking – his senses not dulled to surroundings like ours: means temptation and suffering at an intensity outside our frame of reference

go back to previous chapter, v.15: he “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” – don’t hurry over that – “Christ was no actor on the stage of life; He lived life in all its terrible, tragic reality.”

Jesus’ entire life one of temptation, not limited to period at end of 40 days in wilderness; that one of most intense experiences but by no means the only temptation he faced

Jesus was tempted to sin but could not use his divine power and authority to resist it – would be unfair advantage, disqualify him as fit Substitute and High Priest

instead he showed us how to live godly through temptation, mediates from vantage point of understanding and compassion

“in spite of being a Son…” – didn’t get special treatment, no breaks because… see Luke 24:44-47 “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

D. Jesus was educated and perfected through suffering v.8-9a (2-3)

one of those things that must be fulfilled: “it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day”

because Jesus was perfect God-Man, his suffering even greater than we can imagine

not just on the cross, nothing in all of Jesus’ life to take the edge off his suffering – “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”

just like temptation, suffering throughout his life at an enhanced level beyond our comprehension – the sinless one living in sin-corrupted world

in order to fulfill the Father’s plan, the Son suffered – not only so he could be perfect suitable Substitute, so he could be compassionate and effectual High Priest

grew up with unsaved family members (John 7:5); had to deal with those who misrepresented his Father (Matt. 21:13); hounded by demons, surrounded by desperately ill people, living in country ruled by pagan idolaters, knowing he only had 3 years and whatever places he could walk to in order to do good; confronted daily by both physical and spiritual blindness and deafness; suffering the ultimate humiliation of death

through all his temptation and suffering he stayed the course

can sympathize with not only our suffering, also difficulty of persevering through suffering – not giving up

life not continuous episode of Fear Factor for Jesus – can handle just about anything, git ‘r done and move on

suffering not one of those things simply to be endured; didn’t just learn what it felt like, suffering was profitable for Jesus

was Jesus’ suffering that made him perfect, made him complete; was suffering that brought him to point where he could be source of eternal salvation

E. Jesus is the source of eternal salvation (9b-10a)

being Savior came with conditions (previous point) and comes with conditions (all who obey him)

Jesus had to meet all his Father’s conditions in order to be acceptable High Priest

just like Jesus didn’t assume office of high priest on his own, he didn’t assume position of Savior either

required work and obedience: John 17:4“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Phil. 2:8He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

everything from point of conception through resurrection essential to make Jesus a suitable Savior, source of eternal salvation

doesn’t stop there, though; cannot separate Jesus’ office of High Priest from his work of redemption

redemption a two-way exchange: sacrifice for sin brought to God, forgiveness from sin brought from God

for us to have real eternal salvation, Jesus must bring his perfect sacrifice for sin to God on our behalf, bring God’s forgiveness down to us

that’s enough, but there is more: all God’s blessings come to us through Christ – Gal. 3:29 “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.” Rom. 8:17 “​and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” — no union with Christ, no inheritance

Jesus is High Priest only for those who obey him – he learned obedience, we must follow his example

here’s the bigger truth: if Jesus is indeed the author, the source, of our eternal salvation, the proof of that will be our obedience

if you were charged with being a Christian, a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence to convict you? if evidence is in short supply, does it bother you? and are you doing something about it?

not talking about earning your salvation, it’s about evidence that you are saved and being saved, being made like Lord Jesus

F. Jesus was designated a unique high priest (10b)

not the best High Priest in a line, is best because he is in a different class – Melchizedek not Aaron

his priesthood not inherited, not ethnic – Jesus doesn’t claim privileges like Pharisees did : “Abraham is our father” (John 8:39)

Melchizedek introduced here, further explanation of his significance given in chapter 7 – will explore more when we get there

sneak preview: Jesus has a combined office: king-priest, see Gen. 14:18-20Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)”

let’s take it up yet another level – Jesus not simply priest who acts as go-between or conduit between God and man, man and God; we need a daysman, Mediator, High Priest to do that or we are hopelessly lost

Jesus is High Priest and he is our King – has right, position and authority to expect and command our loyalty, our obedience

G. we know this is true because Jesus lives

God has indeed kept his promise, old covenant promises have been kept – Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Gal. 3:16)

now new covenant in place with better promises – see Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; old covenant served its purpose, now superior covenant on basis of Jesus’ blood is in place

how do we know this to be true? Acts 13:29-34“Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.But God raised Him from the dead.He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.And we declare to you glad tidings; that promise which was made to the fathers.God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.'”

We can never say to Jesus, “you just don’t understand”. How hard it is to resist temptation. How much I struggle with sin. How easily I get discouraged. How difficult unsaved family can be. How much I hurt. How frightening some circumstances are. He not only understands, he sympathizes with us. He feels our pain and sorrow and struggle and frustration. And, here’s the best part, Jesus not only sympathizes, he can do something about our pain and sorrow and struggle and frustration. As our High Priest, Jesus intercedes for us at the throne of grace; Jesus brings us right in there with him and supplies everything we need. THe wonder of it all is that Jesus actually does that, in spite of everything he loves you, he loves me.


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