Our Great High Priest

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost
October 21, 2018

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Job 38:1-7, (34-41) •  Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c  •  Hebrews 5:1-10  •  Mark 10:35-45

Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs.

And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. 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.”

And in another passage God said to him,

“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

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. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 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 5:1-10 New Living Translation (NLT)


We continue our journey through Hebrews. This week’s reading is very similar to last week’s in that again it references Jesus as our great high priest.  The writer compares the high priest of the Israelites to our great high priest — who is Jesus.  In ancient times, the high priest had to be selected.  In much the same way, Jesus was selected by God to be our great high priest.  Jesus, the writer of Hebrews tells us, is appointed by God to represent the people.  Jesus is our representation to God. He was selected by God to represent us.  Much like the high priest of ancient days was subject to the ordinary, everyday weaknesses of our body, so was Jesus.  Remember that Jesus was God incarnate – or God in the flesh. Jesus’ body suffered the same weaknesses that we humans experience – and yet, as we learned last week, He was without sin.  That is why Jesus is the only one capable of being the sacrifice for our sins.

I find it interesting that the humility of Jesus is mentioned here.  Jesus did not appoint himself to the position – he was appointed by God.  Jesus was called by God, just as the high priest of the Hebrews were called by the people to represent the people.

Jesus offered up prayers, and petitions for His people.  Jesus was obedient to the Father and lived in submission to the Father.  Jesus was our example in this and he calls us to do the same.  Jesus was the only one capable to be our high priest.  It is Jesus who is the source of our salvation – if only we receive – if only we believe – if only we obey his commands.

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