4th October 2022
Read (Hebrews 5v1-4)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
It has been said that we should be very careful when choosing our heroes because inevitably they’ll let us down. I once spoke to a lady who told me she would have followed a local politician anywhere such was her esteem for that particular individual. Unfortunately the same man had moved to a political position that she could never support and so with tears in her eyes she told me that she had been betrayed. Perhaps you know the feeling?
Christians coming out of Judaism would have been very familiar with the high priest and his role in the sacrificial system of ancient Israel. He was chosen from his fellow men to act as an intermediary between them and God (v1). He would bring gifts to the Lord on their behalf and it was his responsibility to offer sacrifices for sins.
The sacrificial system was only temporary until the arrival of Christ but what made the high priest so effective was that because he was a weak human he could deal gently with those he was called to serve (v2). The people knew that the high priest had been called to an important role by God Himself (v4) but nevertheless he was no better than them. He struggled with his own trials and temptations and therefore he was able to sympathise with their weakness.
At the same time, the weakness of the high priest meant that something and someone greater was required. The high priest would offer sacrifices for the people but he also needed to offer sacrifice for his own sins (v3). Do you see the problem? A sinful high priest offered sacrifice for sinful people. The Lord was gracious in implementing such a system. The church before the arrival of Christ looked forward to His coming and they would catch glimpses of Him in the prophets, priests and kings. In the sacrificial system the Lord was slowly but surely revealing the mystery of Christ.
Finally when Jesus came He brought substance to shadows of the Old Testament. He was called by God just like Aaron was (v4). He is the mediator between God and humanity (v1). He deals gently with His people (v2). BUT…unlike the old system, Christ our great high priest is not beset by weakness. He is the perfect high priest because he does not need to offer any sacrifice for His own sin.
Be careful when you are choosing your heroes for inevitably they will let you down. Never place your hope or confidence in a sinful human for sooner or later they will fall or disappoint. But Jesus never has and He never will. We no longer move in the shadows for the mystery of the Gospel has been revealed in the person and work of Christ. Look to Him in full faith and assurance for the perfect has come and will never disappoint.
Q69 What is forbidden in the sixth commandment? The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.