A high priest is a supreme religious leader and according to scripture, this was the only person who could represent the people before God. It was a role restricted to only the males of the tribe of Levi. Some of the roles of the high priest include offering sacrifices and gifts for the people and going before God on behalf of the people (Heb. 5:1). A high priest was required to be holy, physically without any defects, and of course, human. It was a role that no one could assume without divine ordination (Heb:5:4). It was a role that required complete carefulness, as a slight mistake could cause death (Lev. 10:1-2).
But Jesus is our perfect High Priest. First of all, you would recall that I mentioned that a high priest had to be human. Jesus is this. He is fully God and fully man (John 1:1,14). As a High Priest who represents humans, it is only fair that He be human as well. And this is part of what makes Him the perfect choice for us. The fact that He can represent us accurately before God because He has walked in our shoes.
For the high priests before Jesus, even if they could represent us before God, it would have been impossible for them to do so with the same boldness that Jesus does for us. This is because sin brings fear. However, Jesus knew no sin. He attained perfection on earth (Heb.5: 7-9). He is the reason why we also have confidence before God, since our justification is by Him. Jesus was not just physically perfect per the requirements of priesthood. He is also perfect spiritually too.
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Heb. 4:15-16 NIV
Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices from himself as the regular High Priests did due to their fleshy shortcomings. As a death blow to sin, He gave himself up for us. This is a High Priest who doesn’t wear out by constantly offering animal sacrifices to atone for sin (Heb. 7:27). He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice, once and for all (Heb. 9:25-28; Heb. 10: 10-14). He took his role as more than just a duty. Only love could have made Him do it. So, we do not have a High Priest that is just concerned about fulfilling a duty. What we have is a High Priest that loves us as much as the Father does.
It is impossible to attain perfection through the Levitical priesthood. Hence, there was a need for a better and more effective type of priesthood and that came through Jesus Christ (Heb.7:11-22). This is a High Priest who is seated at the right hand of God. He does not make sacrifices in tabernacles built by human hands. In fact, this tabernacle is superior to the ones on earth because the ones on earth are actually a copy of what is above (Heb. 8: 1-6).
Moreover, Jesus is our High Priest who lives forevermore. He was ordained as a High Priest by God and He called Him a priest forever (Psalm 110:4; Heb 7:17). We do not need to worry about His tenure ending. He has a permanent priesthood. This means He lives to make intercession for us forever. For every believer, this should be comforting.
Jesus is our perfect High Priest because He meets all our needs perfectly. He is the One who is made perfect forever. Heb. 7:26 paraphrased
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for being my perfect High Priest.
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