Perfect priest, King of Kings
Hebrews 5 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Perfect High Priest
For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; 2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; 3 and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. 4 And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”;
6 just as He says also in another passage,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Today’s text begins saying: For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. We should not be surprised, even though it is disappointing, that we see priests, pastors and all sorts of religious leaders fall in sin. As the scripture says, they too are beset with weakness. They are tempted just as all of us are. That is why the principle in Galatians 6:1 is vital within the church. It says: Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus says: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” We are not to judge others, but having judged ourselves, having dealt with our own sin, we are to help others. We are to remove the speck from their eye, that they too might have their vision restored and would see their own error.
Unlike the priests and pastors, taken from among men, Jesus was and is the perfect priest. Hebrews 4:15-16, from yesterday’s text says: We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says: We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus, the perfect high priest, the one without sin, offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sin, so that we could be restored; reconciled to God. The text says of earthly priests: He can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness. Unfortunately many religious leaders do not deal gently with those who are misguided, even though they too are tempted and weak. Jesus on the other hand, though He is perfect, does deal with everyone in love, mercy and grace. Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The throne of grace, the grace of God is available to anyone who believes and receives the sacrifice of Christ for their sins. When Jesus was on the cross, when He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice, Matthew 27:50-51 says: Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. John 19:30 tells us what Jesus cried out: “It is finished!” It is the finished work of the cross that opened the way to the throne of grace. It is only through the finished work of the cross that we are restored and reconciled to God.
It is important that we understand what the text means when it says: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” Genesis 14:18-20 describes Melchizedek, who Jesus priesthood is like. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. Melchizedek was both a priest and a king. He had authority both on earth and in heaven. Jesus is both a priest and a king. He has all authority in heaven and on earth. We should never presume on His grace. In Matthew 25:31-33 Jesus Himself describes a time when He will establish His authority. He says: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” There is another throne in heaven and on earth. Along with the throne of grace there is the judgment seat of Christ. Jesus is both priest and king. In John 5:22-24 He says: “Not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jesus is the king. There will be a judgment, either by grace through the cross, in Christ’s righteousness, or according to our own works.
Jesus, the perfect priest and the King of Kings says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.