Fifth Sunday in Lent (March 18, 2018)
5 That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him,
“You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.”
6 And in another passage God said to him,
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. 8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:5-10 | New Living Translation (NLT)
This is our last Sunday before Holy Week begins. Today our reading brings us to Hebrews. On Sundays we have been in and out of Hebrews because we have been looking at who Jesus is. The author mentions that Jesus himself did not put himself in the place of high priest. This takes us back to the ancient hymn text we find in Philippians 2:
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Christ is our great example in many ways. One of those is in his humility. He could have taken the place as high priest, but he didn’t. God gave the position to him. Christ could have had many things – after all – he had the divine privilege of being God. How do you promote yourself if you don’t take advantage of that? It should be a lesson to all of us. Even though we have the right to…we should allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, just as He did through Jesus.
Jesus came to be the source of our salvation. Because of the sufferings that He endured while here on earth – as God with us. He was tempted and tested and yet never sinned. This is what qualified him to be our great High Priest and also what qualified him to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world – AND – makes him Savior. We no longer have to sacrifice animals the way they did in the Old Testament. We no longer have to go to a priest to confess our sins, because we can go directly to Jesus. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb – he paid the price of our sins, which is death – and in His case – death on the cross. Jesus is the great mediator between us and God – and how cool is that? Jesus is the Son of God. As we have been exploring on Sundays, Jesus is God. Jesus came to be God in the flesh. Jesus came to save us from our sins. He is our Great High Priest.