Jesus, Priest and King
Bible Text: Hebrews 5:1-10 | Speaker: Jeff Crotts | Series: The Race Set Before Us | Hebrews 5:1-10 – Jesus, Priest and King
Intro: I was meeting with a few young men this week, studying, Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle and we came across a phrase worth memorizing.
“Hell itself is truth known too late.”
Jesus put it this way:
ESV Matthew 7:22-23 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'
23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
If you are like me, you like to have certain things nailed down in your life.
Your family relationships, your health, your bank statement, your job, your retirement.
The most crucial category to have nailed down is the Assurance of your Eternal Destiny!
This re-frames your priorities:
Your family’s spiritual condition, your health remade in heaven, your money and resources belonging to God, your job, now a calling, retirement, now doesn’t mean stopping.
The last few paragraphs of Hebrews appears manic toggling back and forth between extreme comforts and extreme warnings.
From a sympathetic Lord Jesus, who is our Brother.
To the highest-stakes warnings not to fall into hard-hearted states!
NOT drifting, spurning true salvation, crucifying again the Son of God.
NOT holding Jesus with contempt, and utterly falling away.
“What makes these two seemingly opposite extremes fit together – comes under the banner of Eternal Security of the Assurance of Your Salvation”
Though, this GREAT Salvation (cf. Heb. 2:3) ties you to This Sympathetic High Priest.
This GREAT Salvation comes exclusively through this Sympathetic High Priest!
Believers with Assurance know Jesus and His work on the Cross is all they need for Heaven!
You Believe Jesus is qualified to save you! In addition, qualified to keep you!
Principle: Jesus, qualified to save you, assures you!
Since high priests were qualified to secure temporal assurance, Jesus is qualified to secure eternal assurance.
Qualifications of a high priest (vv. 1-4)
The over-arching point is that, “God demands to be worshipped on His terms, not man’s terms!”
The author begins stating that every “high priest” is “chosen and appointed by God.”
No true priest was ever self-appointed!
God does this work and it was “on behalf of men” or for the sake of men.
God cared about man’s need and concern to be reconciled, to have his or her conscience clear.
“Gifts” and “Sacrifices” speak to voluntary gifts in the ceremonial system like a meal/grain offering or peace offering.
There were thanksgiving and devotion offerings, burnt offerings, grain, fellowship, thank offerings, restitution offerings and transgression offerings particularly on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16).
The sacrifices for sins were bloody offerings for sins or trespasses committed.
The priest was a link between man and God.
Sin interrupts the relationship between man and God and this was the Bridge back.
Sin throws up a barrier between and the sacrifice restored the relationship!
A priest is a representative to atone for sins.
They were human to represent humans, an angel would not qualify.
They were mediators (Ex. 28-29).
Atonement was always in keeping with the Covenant/Promise made to by God to Israel and it was based on Grace and applied through Faith.
Abraham was the father of faith and so reconciliation was always by faith.
These offerings were never meant as meritorious acts.
These “sacrifices” pictured the GRACE founded in the Abrahamic Covenant and were prescribed means of repentance carried out through the Mosaic Covenant.
These offerings prefigured and foreshadowed the New Covenant.
In other words, these “sacrifices” were temporal and necessarily repeated.
Much like our prayers of confession and repentance, they too are in temporal and necessarily repeated.
Our sacrifices of worship, praise, and prayer are necessary for growth and for our consciences to be clear and our relationships to God.
Our sacrifices act as a similar means for spiritual vitality!
ESV Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
ESV Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Our sacrifices are always based on the New Covenant which fulfilled the former Covenants!
Back to Hebrews 5!
A high priest was not an elitist.
In fact, it was a qualification for a high priest to be in solidarity with the rest of the people.
This might paint a contradictory picture with your view of the high priest.
The high priest was to be set apart, garbed in a priestly robe, turban, and sash.
Permitted to move into an inner sanctum - where no one else could go.
Here the qualification is that he must “deal gently with the ignorant and wayward” knowing “he himself is beset with weakness” (v. 2).
The priest must be one with men, having experienced, sin’s weakening powers.
He had to be “human” to be qualified!
“Gently” means a priest lived in the middle – not angry but sympathetic with the sins of the populous.
This qualification made mediators not judges!
He knew from personal experience the weakening power of sin and invited sinners to be helped.
The emphasis is on understanding sins of “ignorance and waywardness.”
Sins of omission. Acting ignorantly in unbelief!
People swept away in a moment of weakness.
An impulse or passion, being mastered by temptations.
These sins were categorically different than cold, calculated sins of a hardened heart!
This kind of work for believers is what he related to as a believer himself.
A person “obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people” (v. 3).
The priest himself needed a priest – or to act as his own priest.
The word used for “offering” appears 29 times in Leviticus 1-7 alone.
Before killing the goat offering on behalf of the people, sprinkling its blood within the veil in the holy of holies, he first entered the veil with the blood of a bull, a sin offering for himself and his household (Lev. 16).
Then he offered the goat as a sin offering and released a second goat into the wilderness to picture the removal of sins.
ESV Leviticus 9:7 Then Moses said to Aaron, "Draw near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and for the people, and bring the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as the LORD has commanded."
ESV Leviticus 16:6 "Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.
“…no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was” (v. 4).
No one chooses to be high priest!
This is not democratic where someone puts forth his name or is elected to office.
Aaron was chosen by God.
ESV Exodus 28:1 "Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests--Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Question? “How important was it for the ‘appointment’ to be divinely authorized?”
A couple of passages emphasize how serious God was about this.
Numbers 16 – The sons of Korah (not from Aaron’s line)
1 Samuel 13:5-14 – Saul’s unlawful sacrifice
2 Chronicles 26:16-23 – Uzziah, king of Judah
The issue of “appointment” is the issue of “honor” (v. 4).
Just as in these Old Testament examples, we lose the assurance of our salvation when we take matters into our own hands.
When we foolishly believe we can SAVE ourselves!
“Honoring” is yielding total control to God! (v. 4)
The contrast to Uzziah’s pride is found in Isaiah 6
Isaiah 6 – Christ, exalted in the temple as Prophet, Priest, and King!
What is again surprising (shocking!) is how this same exalted Christ (cf. John 12:41) comes to us in human solidarity!
Just as the high priest had to realize his own weakness to qualify as a mediator, so did Christ!
Instead, to being austere, elitist, and distant He comes near to save!
Principle: Jesus, qualified to save you, assures you!
Qualifications of a Priest-King (vv. 5-10)
Jesus’ qualifications are patterned right after the Aaronic high priesthood.
Jesus literally did not “exalt” [edoxasev] “give glory to himself” (cff. Jn. 5:44; 7:18; 8:50, 54).
He too was “appointed!”
Two verses from Psalms point to this appointment!
But, both verses capture Jesus, not as a temporal high priest from the line of Aaron which but from a line that is eternal.
The first reference from Psalm 2:7 (later applied by Paul in Acts 13:33) speaks to Christ’s resurrection!
Christ was “begotten” meaning he was affirmed at as God’s risen “Son.”
Christ vindicated as King.
The second reference from, Psalm 110:4 saying Christ is a unique “priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (v. 6).
We will not cover Melchizedek until Hebrews 7 but suffice it to say, he is mentioned in Genesis 14:18-20 as a mysterious Priest, outside of Aaron’s priesthood.
The King of Salem, who is also a priest, whom Abraham offered tithes, the spoils of war to him.
ESV Hebrews 7:3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
The point is that Melchizedek represents a different kind of priest.
A King-Priest fulfilled by a truly eternal King-Priest!
Who is Christ!
“Is this King Priest qualified solely by the fact that He is the Son of God?”
We will get into this NEXT TIME ---
But this King Priest is our Mediator!
Fully God and Fully man!
Verses 7-10 say as much!
“In the days of his flesh” speak to his time on earth, his pre-resurrected state, where Jesus felt all the frailties of humanity!
This speaks not only to Christ’s agony at Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-45) but also to the God-ordained trials he faced in life on earth.
We will have to unpack Jesus’ suffering next time but suffice it to say, Jesus being fully human meant he was not on “auto-pilot” when he suffered.
When he “learned!” (v. 8), Jesus was always sinless but this does not mean the “tests” he endured on earth were fake!
Christ did not move from being disobedient to being obedient but from being untested to being tested and then proven!
Jesus’ ministry was a training ground laid out by the Father and he passed!
Conclusion: I was raised in a Baptist church at the end of my neighborhood.
The pastor there was kind and older in life.
I was 7 years old, and at the end of an evening service, I spoke to our pastor about my desire to be “saved from my sins” and he prayed with me and then came to visit me in my home.
Honestly, I don’t remember too much about what we talked about that day.
What I remember was that he was a “gentle” and “accepting” pastor/shepherd who wanted my soul to be at rest.
In retrospect, I don’t believe it was then that I became a Christian.
He offered temporal a temporal comfort to my spiritual condition.
I didn’t want to go to Hell but I didn’t truly understand what it meant to cast myself upon an Eternal Shepherd.
Later, when I was 17 I met this Eternal King-Priest and He like my earthly shepherd met me with “gentleness” and “acceptance!”
This King-Priest and Shepherd saved me and gave me eternal comfort for my spiritual condition.
Before that time, the question of whether I was truly going to heaven, lingered. After I met the Lord, assurance of my salvation has been mine to enjoy!
Turn to this High Priest who is King!