Jesus is Greater: Session 13- Our Qualified High Priest
Series: Jesus is Greater
Title: Our Qualified High Priest
Scripture: Hebrews 5:1-10
Subject: Jesus Christ
Central Theme: The Priesthood of Jesus Christ
Objective Statement: Jesus Christ gives us incredible access to God because He has greater qualifications for the job than anyone that ever existed. Let’s examine the text and see the Earthly High Priest compared and contrasted to our heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ.
- The Earthly High Priest (v.1-4)
- His Appointment. (verse 1 and verse 4)
- His Assignment. (verse 1-3)
- The Heavenly Hight Priest (v.5-10)
- His Selection. (v.6, 10)
- His Suffering. (v.7-9)
- Have you ever been asked to do something and you didn’t feel very well qualified to do the job? Maybe you felt like the job description was kind of vague.
- Pastor Corey and I worked for a man I love very much name Bill Bales. He was our Pastor at the church we both worked at in Florida.
- Pastor Bales is someone that was faithful in his ministry for over 5 decades of full time ministry.
- When he pastored he had summer interns from Bible Colleges come and work for him every year.
- My dad was one of those interns in the 70’s.
- Corey and I were both summer interns for him in the early and mid 2000’s.
- In these summer internships we dove in head first into the ministry. Much of that was dealing with people and programs. We ate at a different church members house 4-5 nights a week. We did all kinds of stuff with the teenagers, children’s ministry and the like.
- One of the things that Pastor Bales like to have the interns do a physical job around the church.
- When my dad was an intern he removed stucco off a large section of a church building- hammer and chisel…the whole thing.
- When I was an intern Pastor Bales decided he wanted a sidewalk. Here was his instructions. “See that door down there?” “Yes”. “From there to here I want a sidewalk.” Silence. “How do you make a sidewalk”? “Well, can there be grass there where the sidewalk is going to go?” “I guess not.” “Your right. The grass has to go.” “So, what do I do?” “I guess you need a shovel.”
- And so for some time that’s what I did. I recruited teenagers with a promise of pizza buffet for lunch. They helped some. Not a whole lot.
- Eventually the sidewalk got done. It wasn’t exactly straight. It was an ugly sidewalk.
- It wouldn’t take you too long to look at it to figure out that the person who put it in was not really qualified or experienced to do so.
- But I learned a lot from the process along with many other circumstances. Pastor Bales wanted us to know that ministry can be hard work, and that we shouldn’t be above hard work no matter what title we held.
- In today’s text there is a theme of qualifications.
- The author continues a topic that we began to study last week, and that is the topic of the priesthood.
- We learned last week, and we will continue to study today, the Great High Priest, that is Jesus Christ.
- And similarly to last week, my aim in this message is to spur you on and encourage you to experience an incredible relationship to God through prayer.
- Before Christ came there were men who were priests that mediated between men and God.
- Jesus Christ is greater than they are and has a greater priesthood.
- We can have this incredible relationship to God through Jesus Christ. Why?
Jesus Christ gives us incredible access to God because He has greater qualifications for the job than anyone that ever existed. Let’s examine the text and see the Earthly High Priest compared and contrasted to our heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ.
1. The Earthly High Priest (v.1-4)
1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
- In this text we continue to talk about Christ as our High Priest. Remember that the author of Hebrews is talking to people with a Jewish background.
- These people had an understanding of the Old Testament priesthood.
- Verses 1-4 focus on that Old Testament priesthood to compare and contrast their ministry with the ministry of Christ.
- We see them compared and contrasted in three ways.
A. Their Appointment. (verse 1 and verse 4)
- First, the author talks about their appointment.
- You can see this clearly taught in verses 1 and 4.
- In verse 1 it says that the high priest taken among men is ordained for men. The word "ordained" means "to designate, constitute convoy: - appoint, make, ordain, set". The idea is that the Old Testament High Priest didn't make himself the High priest he was called of God.
- This is exactly what he explains in verse 4.
" 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."
- In Exodus 28 we are told of how Aaron became the priest. God chose him.
1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
- Aaron's work was a calling of God not a career choice made by man.
- He was appointed. His line after him were to be priests as well.
- This is why we say that they were priests of the Aaronic order or of the Aaronic line.
B. Their Assignment. (verse 1-3)
- Second, the author talks about their assignment. What were the priests told to do.
- Look at the text again and notice what it says they were ordained to do.
"1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:"
- The priest was centered "in things pertaining to God". He went to God on behalf of the people.
- How did he do that?
- It is spelled out specifically in the verse- "that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins".
- In Leviticus 1:1-7:38 the laws pertaining to sacrifice are laid out.
- There were many kinds of offerings and sacrifices. In our text where it talks about "gifts" some have said that this seems to refer to the grain offerings, and "sacrifices" to the animal offerings or burnt offerings.
- For instance, here is part of the law around offering an animal as a sin offering which was an offering made for inadvertent sin.
32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. 33 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.
34 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:
35 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.
- What is the point? The point is that the priest’s assignment was to go to God on behalf of the people, especially through offering sacrifices for sin to God.
C. Their attitude.
- The last area that we want to talk about from this section is the attitude of the priests and what motivated it.
- This is addressed in verse 2, speaking of those priests:
2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
- Their attitude could and should be one of compassion for those who sinned and were coming to offer their sacrifice to God.
- Their attitude was not to be haughty or prideful because of their calling, thinking that they were so much better than those they represented. Why? Because each priest "also is compassed with infirmity".
- That means that they were sinful, too. And because of their sin, they had to offer sacrifices for themselves as well.
And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
- We just referenced Leviticus 4:32-35.
- Leviticus 4 is about the "sin offering" which was an offering that was to be made for sin that was done not in rebellion but inadvertently or unknowingly.
- In Leviticus 4 this sacrifice consisted of:
- For the high priest, a bull without blemish (Lev 4:3-12)
- For the congregation, a bull without blemish (Lev 4:13-21)
- For a ruler, a male goat without blemish (Lev 4:22-26)
- For a commoner, a female goat or female lamb without blemish (Lev 4:27-35)
- In cases of poverty, two turtledoves or two young pigeons (one for a sin offering, the other for a burnt offering) could be substituted Lev 5:7-10).
- In cases of extreme poverty, fine flour could be substituted (Lev 5:11-13; cf. Heb 9:22).
- In this case, the sacrifice for the priest was greater than the sacrifice for the regular person.
- They were held to a high standard because of their ministry. The attitude of these priests therefore was to be compassionate, repentant, and Godward.
- We now can go to God ourselves, boldly, because we have a great High Priest. We do not go to any man to get to God. We can go right to God through Jesus.
- We should however go to God on behalf of men.
- We should talk to God about people and then talk to people about God. We are called to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
- We are to share the Gospel. It is very important that our attitude never be that we do it as people who are better than our mission field.
- We are not better. We are just forgiven. We have been given much, and so we will be required of much.
- This was the nature of the earthly Aaronic priesthood. Now let’s look at Christ’s Priesthood because that is exactly what the Holy Spirit does in this passage.
2. The Heavenly Hight Priest (v.5-10)
- The author takes a direct line right to Jesus Christ, and compares that Aaronic priesthood to Christ.
- Look at these comparisons that are made.
A. His Selection. (v.5-6, 10)
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest;
- Jesus did not choose to appoint himself to be made a high priest. God the Father selected him for that task.
- The words “so also” show that this is a comparison to what was just said about the Old Testament priests.
but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
- When it says “but he that said unto him”, the text is referring to God the Father saying to God the Son “Thou art my son, to day have I begotten thee”.
- This is a quotation from Psalm 2:7.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
- The author is saying that there was a point in eternity past where Christ was chosen by God for this ministry.
- He then refers to another very interesting quotation in Psalm to refer to this selection.
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
- He repeats this truth in the last verse of our text as well.
10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
- Who was Melchisedec, what is the order of Melchisedec, and what does this have to do with Jesus being chosen by the Father to be our High Priest?
- This name would have been very familiar to Jews to which this book was written.
- Verse 6 quotes Psalm 110:4. I’ll read verses 1-4.
1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
- This Psalm is speaking of the Messiah. It is claiming that when He comes He will be a High Priest, but not a priest like the Aaronic priest.
- The Aaronic priesthood was selected because of their family line.
- The kind of Priesthood that the Messiah would have would be “forever”. That’s an interesting statement. This priesthood would be after the order of Melchizedek, who is introduced in the first book of the Bible.
- There is a principle of interpretation that says when you see the first mention of something in the scripture, you tend to get a key into understanding that topic. This is part of the reason why Genesis is such an important book. It is a book of firsts, and if you get the interpretation there wrong, your interpretation of the whole thing could be off.
- Melchizedek is only referred to in Genesis, Psalms, and in Hebrews. He is dealt with more later in Hebrews so I’ll reserve some of what can be known about him for a future sermon.
- That being said, let’s look at where he is first mentioned.
- In Genesis 14, we have an account of Abraham going to war with the kings to rescue backslidden Lot, his Nephew.
- On his way back, in verse 18, he meets someone.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
- What we learn about this man is interesting.
- He holds two offices.
- In the Old Testament there were three anointed offices- prophet, priest, and king.
- Here is someone that held 2 of those offices.
- He was a king, and he was a priest. This never happened among the nation of Israel.
- Those offices were separated.
- Some have pointed to this being a problem when King Saul lead. He made a sacrifice of the animals and God rejected him as the king. He was trying to usurp the role of the priest. God hadn’t called him to that role. He wasn’t a priest. He was a king.
- Now, when Christ comes he is like Melchisadec more than He is like Aaron in that he puts those offices together.
- He is the king, but no just the king.
- He is the king and the Great High Priest.
- He is prophet, priest, and king.
- It’s a different priesthood now.
- It is not an earthly priesthood; it’s a heavenly priesthood.
- It’s not someone who is just a priest. Jesus Christ is our kingly priest. He is a royal priest.
- He is a priest forever!
- Every other priest, being human, dealt with aging, and eventually death. They got old. They died. They left that office.
- Jesus Christ is a priest forever and eternally. He will never die. He will live forever.
- He ever lives to make intercession for us.
- He is our heavenly High priest in His selection. Now look at…
B. His Suffering. (v.7-9)
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
- He takes us to dark Gethsemane. This verse takes us to witness what Jesus suffered.
- Look at Jesus the night they came to arrest Him so they could kill Him.
- He was in the garden, in dark Gethsemane. Look at Him there. He is on His knees and on His face, and His face is covered in blood that Luke says began to pour out of the pores as he sweat drops of blood.
- His face is covered in blood. Look at Him! Listen to Him. Do you hear him?
- V7 says He “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears.”
- What was Jesus praying? We know from the gospels that He was praying “not my will, but thine be done.”
- But v7says He was praying, “Unto him that was able to save Him from death and was heard in that he feared.”
- That does not mean Jesus was praying and trying to get out of death.
- The preposition “from” could be translated “he was praying unto him who was able to save him out of death.”
- Notice it says His prayer “was heard.”
- If He was praying to get out of dying on the cross, that prayer wasn’t heard.
- But it says in v7 His prayer was heard.
- He was praying that He would be saved out of death. God heard that prayer and on resurrection morning, three days later, Jesus Christ rose again from the dead.
- In v8 he takes us from dark Gethsemane to dark Calvary.
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
- The word “perfect” means “he became fully qualified.”
- Not that He lacked moral perfection, but it means that when He gave Himself on the cross of Calvary He was fully qualified to be our Savior and to be our great High priest.
- That’s why the Bible says in v9, “...He became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him.”
- The salvation God offers you is eternal. Not temporary salvation. Not probationary salvation.
- God doesn’t save you and say, “I’m going to see if you can hold out and live right. If you can, I’m going to let you be saved, but if you can’t I’m going to make you be lost again.”
- No, no.
- We don’t get a temporary or a partial salvation, we get an eternal salvation. It’s forever.
- Let’s summarize what we’ve learned. Check this out.
|Old Testament Priesthood||Jesus Christ's Priesthood|
|Earthly (5:1)||Heavenly (4:14)|
|Appointed (5:1,4)||Appointed (5:5-6)|
|Intercede (5:1)||Intercede (5:7-9)|
|Aaron (5:4)||Melchizedek (5:6,10)|
|Should be Gentle (5:2)||Is Gentle (4:15-16)|
|Sinful (5:3)||Sinless (4:15)|
|Point to Salvation (5:1)||Provide Salvation (5:9-10)|