What’s the Point?
Early in college that I decided to study for ministry.
- My brother, a pastor gave me really good counsel to serve in as many internships as possible.
- I did several. One of them, a youth ministry summer internship in Titusville, Florida.
- I served under a quirky senior pastor.
- We differed theologically though he had some practical wisdom.
- With a South African accent he often said: “The main thing in life is keeping the main thing the main thing!”
“We actually had to sing this as a congregation…”
“This is pretty cliché but, doesn’t the Bible teach this?”
ESV Deuteronomy 6:4-5 "Hear, O Israel: aThe LORD our God, the LORD is one.1 5 You ashall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
ESV Job 19:25 For I aknow that my bRedeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the cearth.1
ESV Psalm 42:1 To the choirmaster. A Maskil1 of athe Sons of Korah. bAs a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
ESV Psalm 73:25 aWhom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
ESV Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: a"Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but alet him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. bFor in these things I delight, declares the LORD."
ESV Matthew 22:37-40 And he said to him, a"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.39 And aa second is like it: bYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.40 aOn these two commandments depend ball the Law and the Prophets."
ESV John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have athe words of eternal life
ESV Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and awisdom and knowledge of God! bHow unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
ESV 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except aJesus Christ and him crucified.
ESV 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, a"Let light shine out of darkness," bhas shone in our hearts to give cthe light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
ESV Galatians 2:20 I have been acrucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives bin me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, cwho loved me and dgave himself for me.
ESV Ephesians 3:17-19 aso that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being brooted and cgrounded in love, 18 may have strength to acomprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and bheight and depth,19 and to know the love of Christ athat surpasses knowledge, that byou may be filled with all cthe fullness of God.
ESV Philippians 3:10 athat I may know him and bthe power of his resurrection, and cmay share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death
ESV Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: aforgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for athe prize of the upward bcall of God in Christ Jesus.
ESV Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely aI am coming soon." Amen. bCome, Lord Jesus!
“The main thing in life is to love the Lord! Keeping this main thing the main thing.”
Bearing this in mind, Hebrews 7 makes this same point!
“Jesus is a Superior High Priest.”
- The last four verses of chapter 7 makes this point one more time.
- Chapter 8:1 makes a key transition saying, “Now the point in what we are saying is this…”
- So, the point of Hebrews 7 continues with all other preceding points of Hebrews 1-7.
- Meaning everything is a sub-point building to make this main point.
Jesus’ priesthood is the bridge to chapter 8:1’s point. This is the central theological point of the book!
This comes as a logical progression – a sub point leading to a main point.
The sub point first.
Jesus is a superior high priest because he is holy (vv. 26-28)
a. His perfect character (v. 26)
The message of Jesus’ superiority is what verse 26 concludes.
“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest…” (v. 26).
“it is…fitting” meaning Jesus is exactly the one and only one qualified for the role.
- We explained this last time.
- Jesus guarantees to save to the “uttermost.” Comprehensively! (v. 22).
- He saves, intercedes or advocates for you from heaven.
- He stakes His reputation the promise to intercede (vv. 22-25).
Verse 26 makes the case that Jesus is our intercessor because Jesus is Holy!
- Hebrews isolates Him as the only One qualified and His qualification holiness!
- Christ is “fitting” or “suitable” is based on Christ’s perfections!
This is a list of Christ’s attributes. What we should resonate with!
- They prove Jesus’ worth!
- They highlight Christ’s ministry on earth and His exalted position in heaven.
- Horizontally and vertically. Heaven and Earth.
Christ is “holy.”
- The author does not use “holy” [Grk] “hagias” which means “set-apart.”
- John’s Gospel tells us Jesus fulfills the thrice holy vision of Isaiah (Jn. 12:41)!
Hebrews 7:26 speaks to Christ’s perfect character or integrity!
- Jesus did not commit sin. More than what He did not
- The word [Grk] “osios” speaks to Jesus’ piety and devotion to his Father.
Paul uses the same word to speak of godly character men of God have within their worship and daily lives:
ESV 1 Timothy 2:8 I desire then that ain every place the men should pray, blifting choly hands without anger or quarreling;
ESV Titus 1:8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, aand disciplined.
Remember, these attributes reflect who Jesus was on earth and who He is exalted in heaven.
- The same word for “Holy” is used of Christ in Revelation 16:5 where an Angel describes Jesus. “O Holy One, who is and who was.”
- Jesus is “holy” whether on earth or in heaven.
Jesus is also “innocent” (v. 26) meaning without guile.
- Specifically without “evil.” “Harmless.”
- Jesus never intentionally hurt people.
- The Gospels tell that Jesus met both friend and enemy with compassion and grace.
- No pollution within Christ.
- Jesus was free from everything that is evil, without craft, cunning, or duplicity.
Jesus was “unstained” (v. 26).
- Jesus was “undefiled” - free from any moral or spiritual blemish. Spotless Lamb.
- This Greek term “amiantos” signifies what is required for a priest to be fit to enter into God’s presence.
“Just as rays of sun can shine into the foulest stagnant pond and not lose their radiance and purity, so Jesus lived His life in the sinful, defiled world without losing the least of His beauty and purity.” [MacArthur]
Jesus was not defiled being a friend of sinners. He moved through the world and remained untouched. Having personal contact with Satan, and left spotless.
Jesus was “separated from sinners” (v. 26).
- Again, this does not mean Jesus did not have contact with sinners, like a monk moving to a secluded monastery.
- His enemies were correct: He was a “friend of tax-gatherers and sinners” (Mt. 11:19).
“Unlike Levitical priests, who had to keep themselves away from anyone who would defile them ritually, Jesus could mix with sinful people and yet their defilement did not affect Him. He touched lepers (Mk. 1:41), the ritually unclean, and even the dead (Lk 8:40-56) without contracting their defilement.”
- In contact with His parents, brothers, sisters, friends, disciples.
- Ate with, traveled with, worked with, and worshipped with them.
- However, his nature was totally separate.
- Christ mingled with sinners to reach them! Separate in nature to save them!
This is the mode of Jesus on earth.
- It in fact should be ours as well.
- Do you know the phrase; “To be in the world but not of the world” is not a Bible verse?
- A good slogan. To be with unbelievers while we guard our hearts.
Jesus was “exalted above the heavens” (v. 26).
- These attributes tie Christ’s earth ministry to heaven and this is no exception.
- Jesus’ separation from sin on while on earth is the reason why He is “exalted above the heavens” (v. 26).
- The reward for His righteousness! He is triumphant!
- Literally, “Having become higher than the heavens.”
- This ties back to his “separation from sinners” as heaven is not an abode of sinners.
- However, Christ from heaven remains in vital connection with his sheep.
- His exaltation qualifies Him to meet our needs with forgiveness and grace.
b. His sufficient sacrifice (v. 27)
Christ’s attributes mark his perfections, these perfections contrast the priests as mere men.
- Jesus “has no need” meaning he is not distressed about needs born from sinning.
- When a Levitical High-Priest sinned, he was required to offer sacrifices for himself (Lev. 4:3).
- Whenever the people sinned, he also had to offer a sacrifice for them (Lev. 4:13).
- These occasions could be daily.
- On the Day of Atonement, an annual sacrifice for himself and for all the people was offered (Lev. 16).
- Christ had “no need for this!” (v. 27).
I do not see the word, “since” [Greek] as if to explain why Jesus had “no need” to atone for his own sin!
- Scripture does not need to answer Jesus’ sin issue because he had none!
- Priests and people had the need not Jesus!
- Jesus’ “once for all” sacrifice addressed their needs not his.
- This is straightforward: “he did this once for all offering himself” (v. 27).
- Christ’s sufficiency is why his sacrifice was “one time” because that is all it would ever take!
ESV 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also asuffered1 bonce for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, cthat he might bring us to God, being put to death din the flesh but made alive ein the spirit,
- Christ’s ability to take care of their “daily” need with a “one time” event is again based in his sufficiency.
- His absolute sufficiency led to His ultimate sacrifice.
- Jesus did not need to offer a “lamb” because he was the only option.
- Covering all sins past, present, and future applied to all believers!
ESV Titus 2:14 awho gave himself for us to bredeem us from all lawlessness and cto purify for himself ca people for his own possession who are dzealous for good works.
Spurgeon - Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world, and “offered up Himself” as a sacrifice for sin. The great High Priest, who officiated on the occasion of that wondrous and unique sacrifice, was Jesus Christ Himself. he offered up himself When He bowed His head, it was because He would do it, and willingly yielded up His soul, committing His spirit to the Father—not under constraint, but “he offered up himself.” Oh, this makes the sacrifice of Christ so blessed and glorious! They dragged the bullocks and they drove the sheep to the altar; they bound the calves with cords, even with cords to the altar’s horn. But not so was it with the Christ of God. None did compel Him to die; He laid down his life voluntarily, for He had power to lay it down, and to take it again. So far as Christ was Himself alone concerned, there was no necessity that He should die. He was infinitely glorious and blessed. “He offered up himself,” but not for Himself; then, for whom did He die? For men. We are told that He took not up angels, but He took up the seed of Abraham—He took up sinful men.
c. A transcendent Son (v. 28)
All priests of the Old Covenant, even the most dedicated were weak.
- We have established this throughout chapter 7.
- What is strong is “a Son” (v. 28).
- The language of verse 28 looks forward:
“law that appoints men in their weakness” to “an oath which came later than the law” (v. 28).
We have covered the oath from Psalm 110:4, written by David, tying Melchizedek’s priesthood (Gen. 14) to Christ’s priesthood.
- From the past to the present, Hebrews timestamps the “oath” as coming later than the “law”– some 400 years after Moses wrote it.
- This is to say again, the Law as a ritual system destined even in David’s day to be obsolete. Passing away.
ESV Psalm 40:6 aIn sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open bear.1 Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
ESV Psalm 51:16 aFor you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
Hebrews 10:9 quotes Psalm 40:6-8 to conclude his point.
ESV Hebrews 10:9 then he added, a"Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
Back to Hebrews 7:28, “the oath…appoints a Son” who came a 1,000 years after David!
- This Son brings the final blow to the Law.
- This Son is the goal and consummation.
- This is what, “who has been made perfect forever” (v. 28) means.
“The Levitical Priesthood was a giant sign in the Old Testament saying, “This way to Jesus.”
- “Perfect” [Greek] “Teleiw” means Jesus brought the priesthood to its end, so that there is nothing else needed to complete it!
- Jesus completes it.
- His Priesthood remains forever.
Jesus is the main point of everything in the Bible (8:1)
The beginning of chapter 8 brings things to a summarizing moment.
“Now the point in what we are saying is this…” (v. 1).
- The “point” [Greek] is Kephalaiov translated “head.”
John Knox called it “the very pith” or the “crown.”
- Understand chapter 8:1 in terms of summarizing – All the themes of Hebrews 1-7 rising to the surfaces here.
- The point is that everything points to this “Jesus.”
“…we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven” (v. 1).
- The primary thrust of the letter, thus far crystalizes in Jesus as high priest.
Like getting the gold star in Sunday school class answering, “Jesus.” For 90% of questions asked by the teacher is “Correct!”
- On a more sophisticated level, the point of this next section is that Jesus’ priesthood fulfilled everything in the sacrificial system.
- Christ is “seated” (v. 1) in terms of a past, effective, and finished action.
- The Aaronic priests was never finished and did not sit when he entered the holy place - No Chair.
- The real reason he did not sit is that his work was never done.
- Hebrews 10 says, “every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices” (Heb. 10:11).
Christ’s superiority is signified by where he is seated. “…at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in heaven” (v. 1).
- The place of honor and power.
“The right hand of a king was considered the highest place of honor in the kingdom, as seen in Solomon's day…”
ESV 1 Kings 2:19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king's mother, aand she sat on his right.
- The “throne” was not only the place of majesty but also.
A “throne” is a raised chair with footstool signifying “dominion, royalty, the place of affection and kingly power.”
- Christ is the Father’s coequal.
The word, “the Majesty” [tns megalwsuvns] with definite article should be understood as a name for Christ! The specific majesty!
- This is greatness and preeminence.
- Everything in the ceremonial system points to Christ exalted!
Let this argument play out in Hebrews 8:2-5.
2 a minister in the holy places, in athe true tent1 that the Lord bset up, not man.3 For aevery high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus bit is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer.
4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law.5 They serve aa copy and bshadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, c"See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain."
Everything horizontal on earth makes a rocket launch to heaven!
What happened under the Old Covenant system on earth is a “copy and shadow”
- The same concept and picture from Colossian 2.
ESV Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore let no one apass judgment on you bin questions of food and drink, or with regard to ca festival or da new moon or a Sabbath. 17 aThese are a shadow of the things to come, but bthe substance belongs to Christ.
John Piper addressed his people with a word to the children:
Kids, suppose you and your mom get separated in the grocery store, and you start to get scared and panic and don't know which way to go, and you run to the end of an aisle, and just before you start to cry, you see a shadow on the floor at the end of the aisle that looks just like your mom. It makes you really happy and you feel hope. But which is better? The happiness of seeing the shadow, or having your mom step around the corner and it's really her! That's the way it is when Jesus comes to be our High Priest
Our priest is not a “weak, sinful, dying, priest like in the Old Testament days. He is the Son of God – strong, sinless, with an indestructible life…Not ministering in an earthly tabernacle with all its limitations of place and size wearing out – soaked and burned and torn and stolen.” No! This is the real thing – the true tent that the Lord set up!
“Is this your Jesus?” - “Is this your Savior?”
“Is He the main point of your life?”