Printable version: pastoral letter 159
Jesus Christ is the Best! He is our Best
The Book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers in the second half of the First Century. As you read it, you get the drift that these believers were losing their zest for Christ, and beginning to think longingly of their old Jewish ways.
One can almost imagine their Jewish grandmother coming for a visit and lamenting their absence from the Temple: “Don’t you miss the wonders of the Temple? The sacrifices you can see and smell? The feeling you get just being in a place so grand? And the priest! His robes? His presence? His grandeur? You have no such things in this ‘church’ you now attend! Where is your temple? Where is the sacrifice? Where is the incense? Where is your priest?
We are all so worried about you!”
Indeed, in the book of Hebrews, faith is all about the unseen and the future. In Hebrews, it is unbelief that is caught up in the here and now and insists upon seeing and touching.
Now, our Jewish brother is going to have to tell his grandmother right out that he has a priest, a wonderful priest, the Best Priest, but that his Priest is unseen.
Jesus is the Christian’s Priest. We cannot see Him now. We have heard of Him, and we have received Him by faith. As our Priest, He:
Has done something
Is doing something
Will do something
Now, this may not be good enough for some, certainly not for our Jewish grandmother! But it is the way of faith. It is the Christian way. The book of Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as the Best Priest, and our souls will be greatly enriched to explore Him in this regard. Remember! The health of our soul is determined by that which we love the most, so, may this exploration serve to enhance yet more our love for Jesus!
A Priest is a spiritual “bridge builder”. He is one who stands for another in order to mediate his cause. He is one who takes care of another’s relationship with God.
Now nobody does these things like Jesus does!
Take a few minutes and read Hebrews 4:14- 5:14
We are moving into the very heart of Hebrews now. Discovering Jesus Christ as Our High Priest, understanding just what this means to us as His People, is revolutionary. Our passage will reveal great Truths about Jesus as our High Priest, all to bring us great encouragement. Once again we encounter this word “therefore”. Whenever we see this word it always refers backward to what has just been written and then forward to application. The immediate preceding verses are full of warnings! “Let us fear…”; “Be diligent…”; “Do not harden your hearts…”. What are we do in light of such warnings? Where do we go for help? Our passage points us to our Priest! It warns us then it encourages us to look to Jesus.
Jesus is our Victorious Priest
The first thing we discover about our High Priest is that he is our Victorious High Priest.
Verse 4:14 tells us that Jesus Christ has “gone through the heavens”. Unlike all other priests, this Priest is crucified, risen , and ascended in heaven! Now He is at “the right hand of Power on High”. He is “exalted to the highest place and given a name that is above every name.” He has “sat down at the right hand of Majesty on High”.
So, here we have:
A Superior Priest in a Superior Place!
Our Best Brother is in the Highest Position!
Peter Lewis writes:
There is a human being on the throne of the universe! Go to the heart of the created universe, and you will find a man! Go to the place where angels bow…and you will find a man! Go to the very centre of the manifest Glory of the Invisible God, and you will find a man. True human nature, one of our own race, mediating the Glory of God.
Jesus is our Compassionate Priest
Next, we see that He is our Compassionate High Priest. God required that every High Priest be able to “deal compassionately with those who are ignorant and going astray” (5:2).
Just look at Jesus. He:
- Was “tempted in every way, yet without sin.” (4:15)
- Was “subject to human weakness.” (5:2)
- “Offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears” (5:7)
- “Learned obedience through what He suffered.” (5:8)
Therefore, because of Jesus being our compassionate High Priest, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (4:16)
The old Temple was all about barriers. The Gospel is all about access.!
Take some time and consider this. Think about it. Ask the Lord to plant this wonderful Truth about Jesus Christ deeply into your spirit.
Jesus is our Appointed Priest
Then, we discover that Jesus is God the Father’s Appointed Priest. He is the One God wants us to have! The world is full of “priests”. Every religion seems to have multitudes of them. Jesus is the Father’s choice for us!
“Called by God“(5:4)
God the Father says of Him:
“You are my son” (5:5)
You simply cannot do better than agreeing with God that Jesus Christ, God’s appointed Priest, is the One for you! God declared Jesus to be His chosen Priest for us by raising Him from the dead (5:5). This was true of no other priest, ever, and will never be true of any other priest, pope, or pastor (I’m sticking with Jesus!)
Jesus is an Eternal Priest
Further, this appointed priest is a Priest Forever. “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” (5:6) We will look at Melchizedek in depth later, but for now, just consider the following about him, that relates to Jesus, our Priest:
*A King of Righteousness
*A King and a Priest
*A Priest before Levi and his company of priests
*Timeless in ministry and power
*Installed by God’s oath
*Blessed by Abraham
If Jesus is a Priest forever, let me ask you, “How long is forever?” The Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation for those who obey Him.” (5:10)
Well, who takes care of your soul? Who is the guardian of your salvation? Who is the bridge builder between your sinful self and our Holy God? Who secures your relationship with God?
Entrust your whole self to Jesus Christ and He will be a faithful High Priest over you…Forever.