8th August 2023
Read (Hebrews 7v11-28)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
First posted 22nd October 2022
Jesus Christ is our great high priest and He is superior in every way to the priesthood that we see in the Old Testament. In what ways is Christ the superior priest? Firstly, perfection was not possible under the Old Testament priesthood (v11-12). During the days of the sacrificial system the priests came from the tribe of Levi. But the sacrificial system was temporary and supposed to point worshippers to Christ. It is only through Jesus that perfection is possible.
Secondly, although Jesus isn't from the tribe of Levi, He is still our perfect priest (v12-14). Jesus came from the tribe of Judah and no one from that tribe ever served at the altar (v13) and Moses never mentioned anything about Judah and priests (v14). Jesus instead comes in the likeness of Melchizedek who was a priest long before Moses, the Levites, the Law and the sacrificial system.
Thirdly, Jesus didn't become a priest because of His family descent but by the power of His indestructible life (v16). He died but rose again and is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (v17).
Fourthly, Christ obeyed the law completely on our behalf. The law could not save us, it could make no one perfect but Christ has introduced us to a greater hope. By grace alone, faith alone in Christ alone, we can draw near to God (v19).
Fifthly, the Levitical priests were introduced to their role without an oath but Christ was made a priest with an oath from God that Jesus would be a priest forever (v20-21). Sixthly, there was a multitude of Levitical priests because their role ended when they died, but only Christ is a high priest forever. Because Christ lives forevermore (v23-24), He is able to save fully any who draw near to Him and He lives to pray for them daily at the Father's right hand (v25).
Finally, Jesus is the sinless, spotless, Son of God. He is perfect in every way and is exalted in heaven (v26). Therefore His sacrifice is once and for all and never to be repeated. He doesn't need to offer daily sacrifices for His own sin and that of His people - He has no sin and Calvary paid the price for His bride the church. The Levitical priests were appointed in weakness but Christ is the perfect high priest forever (v28).
It's hard to believe that some of the Hebrews were seriously considering a return to the old system that couldn't save and the old priests who were as weak as them. Instead the Apostle pointed them directly to Jesus who was superior in every single way to the Levitical priesthood.
Today if you would be saved then Jesus is the only way. Today if you need help then Jesus is the one to turn to. Today if you seek assurance of salvation then Jesus is at the right-hand interceding for you. Don't look back, instead look to Jesus who is the guarantor of better covenant (v22).
Q12 What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created? When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.