Consider Jesus as Priest
- June 14, 2015
Hebrews 5:1 1For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. ESV
2 chapters ago, Hebrews 3, called us to consider Jesus.
- Hebrews 3:1 1Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, ESV
- All of our consideration of Jesus all of our worship and meditation on him in his workings on our behalf falls under 3 offices that he performs.
- We worship Jesus as Prophet, as Priest, and as King
- Hebrews 3:1 calls us to specifically consider two of these three offices: prophet (called apostle) and priest
- Immediately upon giving this call to consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, Paul begins to compare Jesus to Moses, the greatest prophet of the Old Testament.
- And after proving Christ's superiority as a prophet to Moses, he exhorts us to listen to our prophet. What does a prophet do, he speaks to men on behalf of God. And what does our prophet tell us to do on God's behalf? To enter into his rest.
- "Today, if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts." Believe his promise and enter his rest. "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace"
- Do you hear the voice of your great prophet, then consider, listen diligently to what he commands and comply with all of your heart.
- "Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience."
Upon giving this conclusion (end of 4), Paul (now in 5) turns to the next subject of our consideration, Jesus the high priest of our confession.
- We have seen, Jesus superiority to the angels, his superiority to Moses, and now we begin to look at Jesus' superiority to Aaron.
- As Moses served as the prophet of the Old Testament, Aaron serves as the high priest of the Old Testament.
- Jesus is a superior priest to Aaron as shall be proved in the ensuing verses and chapters
- We will see through the course of this argument wherein Christ is like the priests of old and wherein he is distinct from them.
But in both, whether alike or distinct, he is superior.
- Is there anything the priests of old did well, Jesus did and does it better. In this he is alike unto them yet superior to them.
- Is there anything the priests of old did poorly, Jesus rectifies their shortcomings. In this he is distinct in his superiority to them.
In all of this, let us, the people of God, strive to consider Jesus. As I strive to bring him to mind as the great high priest, so strive yourself to bring him to your mind. Meditate on him and your soul will be changed this very day. Eternity will be different if you, by God's grace, do consider Jesus today.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ESV
- The apostle continues his argument. He builds brick upon brick, layer after layer, until he has reached his ultimate conclusion.
- He has already reached that conclusion under the subject of Christ as superior prophet, but now he strives towards that same conclusion under the subject of Christ as superior priest.
- Under both of these heads, whether considering Christ as prophet or as priest, Paul shows us Christ's superiority in that office, and then implores us to enter into the presence of God.
- Christ as our prophet has bid us to enter into the presence of God. Dare we refuse him?
- Christ as our priest has made way for us to enter into the presence of God. Dare we trample him underfoot? Dare we profane the blood of the covenant? Dare we outrage the Spirit of grace?
- What I'm saying is this, the great design of the epistle to the Hebrews is to show the superiority of Jesus, mainly in his offices of prophet and priest, and therein to implore saints to enter into the presence of God.
- [Read 3:1 and 5:1 together]
Chosen from among men
- A high priest must be taken from among men.
It is essential that a high priest be a man
- "For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God"
- It is essential to the office of priest itself that a priest be a human being, that he might represent man to God.
- Grasped, seized, taken, chosen, I take it to mean in this place sanctified, or consecrated. To be set apart. It implies being taken from among men at the same time as it implies being separated out from among men.
- Exodus 29:41–45 41The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. 42It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. 43There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. 44I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests. 45I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. ESV
- The end of this consecration and choosing is that God might dwell among the people.
- Exodus 28:12 12And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance. ESV
- We see in both of these verses a consecrated (or set apart) man who represents man to God offering gifts and offerings, bringing the people of God into remembrance before God through certain prescribed means.
- Jesus is one “taken from among men,” from amongst those for whom he is to be a priest, that so he may be of the same nature as those to whom he is a priest.
Gifts and Sacrifices
- A priest is set apart, taken or choses from among men, consecrated as holy unto the end and purpose of "offering gifts and sacrifices for sins."
Notice: where there is no sin, there is no priest
- There were no priests before the fall
The first priest mentioned in the Bible by the word priest is Melchizedek in Gen 14:18
- Genesis 14:18 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) ESV
The first priest mentioned in the Bible by the concept is Noah Gen 8:20
- Genesis 8:20 20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. ESV
The first priest mentioned in the Bible by type and shadowing is Jehova in Gen 3:21
- Genesis 3:21 21And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. ESV
The first priest mentioned in the Bible by promise is Jesus in Gen 3:15
- Genesis 3:15 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” ESV
- Notice, no priest is ever mentioned, not by name, nor by concept, nor by type, nor by promise until after sin's entrance into the world.
Notice, as soon as sin enters the world, a promise of a priest is made. God does not delay to give man hope in his sins.
- God, gives this promise of a redeeming sacrifice, one who will through suffering, crush the head of the serpent, BEFORE he even pronounces the curse to Eve or to Adam. Sin had already entered the world, and before God utters judgment against humanity for this sin, he first utters a blessing, a promise, a covenant, that a redeemer has already been provided.
- If you will, in your hearts, worship God here. As far back as the first entrance of sin God shows us his willingness to cover our iniquities by his own work. He covers our shame and our nakedness by his own priestly work, covering us and clothing us. In Adam and his wife this covering was with garments of skin, but for you this covering is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He clothes you, he covers your shame, he doesn't despise you as naked and defiled, but as robed in the splendor of holiness.
- Isaiah 61:10a 10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness. ESV
- Revelation 19:8 8it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. ESV
A priest "offers gifts and sacrifices"
the priest without a sacrifice is no peace-maker between God and man -Calvin
- As we have shown, there is no need for a priest where there is no sin.
But wherever sin exists, there is great need for a priest. For sin sets man at enmity with God.
- Romans 6:23 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ESV
- Romans 8:7 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. ESV
- James 4:4 4You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. ESV
The priest's job is to end this enmity
- Genesis 8:20–22 20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” ESV
- Ephesians 2:13–16 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. ESV
What is meant by "gifts and sacrifices"
- Many argue about this, we will take it this way.
- by “gifts” all offerings of things inanimate are intended,—as meats, drinks, oils, first-fruits, meal, and so on
- by “sacrifices,” the offerings of all creatures that were slain,—as lambs, goats, doves, whose blood was poured on the altar
- a gift is something given, a sacrifice is something laid down and hurt
I take this to symbolize and represent this truth:
- When Christ fed the hungry, he was giving a gift to God on your behalf.
When Christ died on a cross, he was giving himself as a sacrifice to God on your behalf.
Our good deeds must be presented by Christ, to render ourselves and them acceptable; and our evil deeds must be expiated by the sacrifice of himself, that they may not condemn and destroy us. -Henry
"On behalf of men"
- Christ himself, as a priest, acts on your behalf
- Jesus, right now is acting on your behalf
- Jesus, while he lived on earth, fed the poor, performed miracles, kept every article of the law, was crucified died and was buried, he rose again on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of God from where he makes prayers and intercessions and he does all of this on your behalf
- Doubt no more! Only believe
Here is the foundation laid of all our peace and happiness.
- Jesus has made way for us.
He is our great high priest. He himself as our priest offered gifts and sacrifices to God on our behalf, to cleanse us from all sin and uncleanness. That we might be made right with God.
this lies at the bottom of all the saints’ communion with Christ,—a deep, fixed, resolved persuasion of an absolute and indispensable necessity of a righteousness wherewith to appear before God
Some day you will have to stand before the Holy Judge.
- Hebrews 9:27 27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, ESV
- 1 Peter 1:17 17And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, ESV
- 1 Peter 4:17–18 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” ESV
- There is only one way and means by which you may stand upright on that day and that is robed in the righteousness that Jesus has purchased for you in his office as priest
- The way of salvation is this: that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Believe that he, as priest as offered gifts and sacrifices to God, and this on your behalf. Believe that these gifts and sacrifices have appeased the wrath of God. Believe Jesus himself is your peace.
- Some day you will have to stand before the Holy Judge.
Power to stand
- Would you have power to stand on that day. All other judgements are a type of that judgment. Indeed I believe all other hardships to be a type of that great hardship.
God is going to shake the earth hard. He is going to shake the earth with violence. So much so, that the only the things that will remain will be the things that cannot be shaken.
Hebrews 12:26–27 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. ESV
I don't care how strong your religion is or how strong your church life is. I don't care how strong your morality is. At the day of judgment God will tear it down, tear it down and it will wilt.
- What in you cannot be shaken?
- Hebrews 12:26–27 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. ESV
God is going to burn the world with fire so hot that only that which cannot be burned will not be melted away.
- 2 Peter 3:11–12 11Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! ESV
- Numbers 31:23 23everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. ESV
- Malachi 3:2 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. ESV
When God's judgment of water came upon the earth, a handful of people stood the test. When God burns the world with fire, when the heavenly bodies melt as they burn, will you stand unsinged by the fire?
- Daniel 3:27b the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. ESV
- If you would know that you will stand on that day, see if you can stand in easier days. In the day of sickness, in the hour of temptation, when tempted to doubt God's provision and his care of you, in your aptness to see other things as more splendid or at least more immediately entertaining than Jesus, can you there be found in him. Can you weather these lesser storms? If not, how will you stand in the great storm that all other storms serve as a type of?
- Judge yourself even by this, have you had the capacity to see Jesus as he has herein been preached unto you? Has he been for this last hour your all in all. Have you been enabled to sing his praises and offer your prayers unto the living God out of your desperate love-sick heart. We are called thus to examine ourselves. See if you be in the faith.
- 2 Corinthians 13:5 5Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! ESV
- There are 3 heads under which all of our worship of Jesus does properly fall.
- In his office as prophet, priest, and king.
- All of his beauty, majesty, and splendor is arrayed before us under these three heads.
- The application of all that I have said is simply this: worship Jesus and adore him for being your priest.
- For he was chosen from among men and was appointed to act on your behalf in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for your sins.