A Priest Forever

Posted by on Aug 19, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

August 19, 2007

Sunday Morning

“A Priest Forever”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 5:1-10

Scripture Text: Hebrews 5:1-10

Introduction:

 

A.   Suppose, for just a moment, that you were approached by an orthodox Jew who asked you the following questions.

1. Who is your high priest?

2. Who mediates between you and God?

3. Who offers the sacrifices to atone for your sins?

4. How are your sins going to be pardoned, when you have no one offering sacrifices and no one interceding for you?

5. How can you claim that this new covenant supercedes and is superior to the Old Covenant given through Moses when it leaves you without a high priest?

6. If you were approached by an orthodox Jew and asked these questions, how would you answer him?

 

B.   Well, here’s how you should answer him.

1. As a Christian, I do have a High Priest, I have a perfect High Priest.

2. My High Priest has offered Himself and His own blood as a sacrifice for my sins.

3. He does not confine Himself to an earthly temple, nor does He have to sacrifice yearly or daily.

4. My High Priest made one sacrifice that atones for all of my sins, for all eternity.

5. Not only that, but my High Priest is now seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, and He continually intercedes on my behalf.

6. By the way, the name of my High Priest is Jesus!

C.   This morning, as we examine our text more closely, we are going to see how Jesus met all of the Old Testament qualifications for high priest, and not only met those qualifications, but actually far exceeded them.

 

D.   According to our text, the first qualification for high priest was that a high priest had to be…

 

I.       Divinely Selected.

 

A.   Notice again the first part of Vrs. 1 of our text, “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God.”

1. The word “ordained” here implies that the high priest was appointed or selected by God.

2. Not just anyone could be a high priest.

3. In fact, when God first established the Mosaic priesthood, He made it clear that only Aaron and his sons (descendants) could fill the office of priest.

4. Listen as I read Exo. 28:1, God is speaking to Moses, “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.

5. And so, only the descendants of Aaron could fill the office of priest.

 

B.   There were three characters in the Old Testament who learned this the hard way.

1. Their names were Korah, Dathan and Abiram.

2. In Num. 16 we are told that these three man came before Moses and Aaron and complained because they were excluded from the office of the priesthood.

3. Of course, when they challenged Moses and Aaron, they were actually challenging God, because He was the One who said that only Aaron and his sons could be priests.

4. And so, the first qualification for high priest is that the high priest was divinely selected.

5. Look again at Vrs. 4 of our text, “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”

6. In other words, “No man who is not chosen and given authority by God as was Aaron, can take the honor of the priesthood upon himself.”

 

C.   But someone says, “Wait a minute. Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron. They were not even from the same tribe. Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, and Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. How then could Jesus be qualified to be our High Priest?”

1. While it is true that Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron, He was divinely selected, He was chosen by God to be our High Priest.

2. Notice again Vrs. 5 of our text, “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.”

3. The latter part of this verse is taken from Psa. 2:7, which says, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”

4. This should remind us of something that happened when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan river.

5. Listen as I read Mat. 3:16-17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:…And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

6. And so, even though Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron, He was chosen by God to be our “great high priest.” (See also Vrs. 10 of our text.)

 

D.   It’s interesting that the writer of Hebrews reminds His readers that there was at least one other “priest” who was not a descendant of Aaron.

1. In fact, this priest lived long before Aaron was even born.

2. Who was this priest?

3. His name was “Melchisedec.”

4. Notice again Vrs. 6 of our text, “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

5. Who was “Melchisedec”?

6. Melchisedec was a priest who lived in the days of Abraham. According to Gen. 14:18, he was “the priest of the most high God.”

7. While we know very little about him, we do know that when Abraham returned from a battle during which he rescued his nephew, Lot, he gave Melchisedek “tithes of all” the spoils that he had taken. (Gen. 14:20)

8. And so, there was at least one other “priest,” in addition to Jesus, who was not a descendant of Aaron.

 

E.   And so, the first qualification for high priest was that the high priest had to be divinely selected. The second qualification was that he had to be…

 

II.      Humanly Sympathetic.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 2 of our text, “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.”

1. It is talking about the high priests of ancient Israel.

2. Of course, these high priests were men, descendants of Aaron, and as men, they were able to sympathize with those whom they represented before God, when they entered into the holy of holies.

3. It might be helpful here to point out the Greek word from which the expression “have compassion on,” literally means “to deal gently with.”

4. The high priest of Israel was expected to deal gently with the people, rather than being harsh and abrasive.

 

5. Being a man himself and understanding what it is like to be human, he was more apt to be this kind of a high priest.

6. (Illus.- As a pastor, I am sometimes tempted to come down hard on a church member who has been caught up in some sin. While I realize that sin cannot and must not be tolerated, I am also reminded, from time to time that I, too, have human weaknesses, and remembering that, I try to be gentle and understanding when dealing with these kind of situations. Being human myself helps me to do this.)

 

B.   But someone says, “Wait a minute, pastor. Jesus is not human. He is God. How could God possibly understand what it is like to be human?”

1. Well, you are right about one thing, Jesus is God.

2. However, you’re wrong with you imply that Jesus has never been human.

3. He was human, from the day that He was conceived within the womb of the virgin Mary, until the day that He returned to His Father in heaven.

4. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

5. And so, yes, Jesus is God.

6. However, John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

7. Paul put it like this in Phil. 2:5-7, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:…Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:…But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

8. Turn with me, for just a moment, to 1 Tim. 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

9. And so, not only is Jesus God, but He was also a man.

 

C.   Not only was Jesus a man, but as a man, He experienced every trial, every hardship, every difficulty, every burden, and every motion that we will ever experience.

1. This is what makes Him such a sympathetic high priest.

2. Notice again Vrs. 7-8 of our text, “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;…Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;”

3. Did you notice in Vrs. 8 the words “by the things that he suffered”? (In other words, “by the things that He experienced and endured as a man.”)

4. What all did Jesus experience and endure as a man?

5. The answer to this question is why I say that Jesus was far more qualified to be our high priest than any of Aaron’s sons.

6. And the answer is, He experienced everything that every man who has ever been born, or will be born, has ever experienced, with the exception of sin.

7. Look back at Heb. 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

 

D.   (Illus.- As a pastor, I am sometimes called upon to encourage and offer comfort to those who are going through trial in their life. Oftentimes, I can fully sympathize with them because I have endured the same trial in my own life. However, there are other times that I cannot, simply because I have never personally experienced what they are experiencing.)

1. The same thing was true of the sons of Aaron.

2. Jesus, however, has experienced it all, with the exception of sin.

3. This is what makes Him, not only qualified to be our high priest, but also much more qualified than any of Aaron’s sons.

 

E.   And so, the second qualification for high priest was that the high priest must be humanly sympathetic.

1. He must be divinely selected.

2. He must be humanly sympathetic.

3. The third qualification was that he had to be…

 

III.    Priestly Sacrificial.

 

A.   In other words, he must be able and willing to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.

 

B.   Notice again Vrs. 1 of our text, especially the last phrase, “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:”

1. It says, “…that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

2. This is talking about the work of the priests.

3. The primary responsibility of a priest in ancient Israel was to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.

 

C.   Now the most important sacrifice was the sacrifice offered by the high priest once a year on what was called the Day of Atonement.

1. On this very special day, the high priest would kill a goat, and then take the blood of that goat, enter into the Holy of Holies, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.

2. According to Lev. 16:15, this was a “sin offering…for the people.”

3. And so, in order to be a priest, one had to be willing and able to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.

 

D.   Does our Lord Jesus meet this qualification?

1. The answer is, “Yes.”

2. In fact, Jesus is far more qualified to offer sacrifices than any of the sons of Aaron.

3. Do you know why?

4. Because Jesus did not have to offer a sacrifice for Himself, as did the sons of Aaron.

5. Notice again Vrs. 2-3 of our text, “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….And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.”

6. Before the high priest of ancient Israel could enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of that goat to make atonement for the sins of Israel, he had to first make atonement for his sins.

7. Turn with me to Lev. 16:11, it says, “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:”

8. And so, before the high priest could make atonement for the sins of Israel, he had to make atonement for his own sins.

 

E.   Again, this is why Jesus is far more qualified to be our great high priest than were any of Aaron’s sons, because He did not have to offer a sacrifice for His own sins.

1. And you know why He didn’t?

2. Because He had no sin of His own.

3. Let’s jump ahead for just a moment to Heb. 7:26-28, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;…Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself….For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”

4. You see, Jesus had to be perfect?

5. Do you know why?

6. Because He not only acted as our High Priest, He was also our sacrifice.

7. The apostle Peter put it like this in 1 Pet. 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned this morning?

1. We’ve learned that there at least three qualifications that a man must meet in order to be a high priest.

2. First of all, he had to be divinely selected (one of Aaron’s descendants).

3. Secondly, he had to be humanly sympathetic (understanding and compassionate).

4. Finally, he had to be priestly sacrificial (able and willing to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people).

 

B.   Did our Lord Jesus meet these three qualifications?

1. Yes, He did.

2. First of all, He was divinely selected (chosen by His Father).

3. Secondly, He was humanly sympathetic (for 33 years He walked in our shoes and experienced everything that we will ever experience, with the exception of our sin).

4. Finally, He was priestly sacrificial (offering Himself and His sinless blood as an atonement for our sins).

5. By fulfilling all of the qualifications for high priest, according to Vrs. 9 of our text, our Lord Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation.”

 

C.   The question is, “Do you know this Jesus?”

1. Have you received this “eternal salvation” that He now freely offers to those who put their trust in Him?

2. If you, then why not?

3. Jesus loves you!!! Won’t you come to Him today?