7776 - High Priest
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We have come to the first of several references to Jesus as the high priest. Let’s explore what that means.
Listen to Hebrews 2:17:
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
We again call attention that the book of Hebrews exalts Jesus Christ as the author and founder of the New Covenant of grace, and pronounces Him superior to all of the previous figures who have stood before God in behalf of the people of earth.
The priesthood to which usual reference points, is the Levitical priesthood instituted as a part of the Law. The high priest was the chief figure in the order of priests. He has special duties in standing between God and the people.
Aaron, Moses’ older brother, was the first high priest appointed to serve in the Tabernacle between Israel and God.
The main duty in the high priest’s representation was to offer sacrifices and gifts in behalf of the people.
Sacrifices were for the purpose of propitiation maintaining a relationship with God. That word propitiate means to calm, pacify or appease. From our present viewpoint we recognize it was to pacify God until the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The gifts of the people were to express communion or fellowship. These were given in thanks and appreciation, as heart expressions of praise.
Under the Levitical system the high priest was required to offer sacrifices for his own sins first, because no impure or unholy person could appear before God.
Notice this passage speaks of the necessity that Jesus be made like his brothers in every way. That is the primary reason Jesus had to come to earth in human flesh.
Philippines (2:7-8) tells us Jesus emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
This is the story of Jesus Christ being made like his brothers. He became flesh and blood. He became a baby. As a child he was obedient to his parents.
We are given little insight into his sibling relationships. But you can envision growing up in a home where four younger brothers did not believe what you claimed or taught. Unbelief was experienced in his own home. We should add that some of these brothers became leaders in the early church after his resurrection.
He lived for thirty-plus years in this flesh. He got cold. He sweat. He became tired. However, Jesus also grew in wisdom and in stature, and found acceptance and friendship with many people.
As he grew up, and as a man he was often rebuffed, rejected and criticized.
He was tempted in every manner as we are; yet he never yielded to sin.
All of this was necessary in the life of Jesus so that he could complete his ministry on earth there on the cross.
You see, only a sinless, spotless sacrifice of a body like the people could satisfy the just requirements of God the Father as the atoning sacrifice. No other person qualified under these requirements. Jesus came to earth because there was no other way to rescue humanity from eternal death in sin and damnation. Without this gracious plan of God formulated in heaven, the earth and all of mankind was doomed to eternal darkness, suffering and pain.
Its amazing that this mission trip was planned in heaven before the creation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20). And Christ never flinched; he never complained. He was faithful throughout, from conception to resurrection.
No wonder He is now exalted in heaven as the lamb who was slain, who takes away the sin of the world.
Let us join the multitudes of heavenly host in praise and worship; of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ — our High Priest in heaven.