Our Perfect Priest
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
- Most of us are at a distinct disadvantage to appreciate Jesus, for we grew up without having priests.
- Priests are a necessity of religion, as determined/declared by Jehovah, which all false religions ape!
- Any God worthy of worship must be so far above His worshippers that there is a need for a go-between, thus Job spoke of one and Paul declared Jesus that One (Job 9:33; I Tim 2:5; Gal 3:20).
- The Hebrews, or Jews, well understood the importance of a priest for the remission of sins and peace with God, for they had a 1500-year history of priests descending from Aaron of the tribe of Levi.
- Paul used much of this persuasive epistle proving that Jesus was far superior to any of their priests.
- The High Priest of our profession is Jesus Christ (Heb 3:1); forget all other men as your high priest.
- He took on our nature, not that of angels, to be able to commiserate with us (Heb 2:14-17; 4:15-5:3).
- He was called by God to the office like Aaron (Heb 5:4-5), as declared by David in Psalm 110:4.
- Details of Jesus Christ’s Melchisedec priesthood are found primarily in chapter seven of Hebrews.
- For Melchisedec priesthood details.
- In the following verses, His Melchisedec priesthood will be defined by His intercession and results.
- God cannot be His own mediator or priest, so He designed and sent the perfect Man Christ Jesus!
Who in the days of his flesh
- A great mystery of our faith is God was manifest in the flesh (I Tim 3:16; John 1:14).
- Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for a signal purpose – to die (Heb 2:9).
- Paul commended and praised Jesus for this willingness for such humility (Phil 2:5-8).
- The time of the following events was during His earthly, human life before ascension.
- He became us with flesh and blood (but no fleshly sin nature) to suffer and to relate.
- You have had no struggles with your flesh to justify any comparison to His strivings.
- Jesus was in a flesh body, not glorified in heaven as He is now, for thirty-three years.
- He still has a human, flesh body, but it has been glorified as we will be (Phil 3:20-21).
- Do you want a High Priest that had a flesh nature subject to the weaknesses of yours?
When he had offered up prayers and supplications
- Jesus prayed and supplicated in Gethsemane for God to allow Him another option.
- Prayer. A humble and solemn request to God in words either verbally or mentally.
- Supplication. Humble or earnest petition or entreaty – more begging than praying.
- Notice there is no intercession here – he prayed not for others here, but for himself.
- See/hear His humanity (Matt 26:36-39,42,44; Mark 14:32-36,39,41; Lu 22:39-46).
- John’s account of similar trouble is not in Gethsemane but before (John 12:27-28).
- No man ever knew the will of God better, but yet He asked and begged to avoid it.
- But always and with full conviction, He was ready and willing to do God’s will.
- We want to learn to pray as Jesus Christ taught us to pray and as He Himself prayed.
- Even with duties you know you must perform, there is no sin or weakness in praying.
- Do not create bondage for your soul by defining weak faith that condemns Jesus!
- Your Father in heaven knows your human frame and pities you accordingly for it.
- Do you want a High Priest that knows how to pray and supplicate the God of heaven?
With strong crying and tears
- His praying and supplicating, both of which you must do, was very passionate indeed.
- Do you see that Jesus was fully aware of the great horror coming to Him on the cross?
- Remember well that there was much more to His crucifixion than mere physical pain.
- He was very afraid, because he had a human nature to feel things like the fear we feel.
- The Bible says fervent prayer avails much (Jas 5:16); think of strong crying and tears.
- It is not wrong to cry, it is more like Jesus and His father David (Ps 6:6; 39:12; 42:3).
- Jesus had bowels to produce tears, though knowing God’s will (Jn 11:35; Luk 19:41).
- Lacking tears generally indicates a lack of bowels, but we do not need more theatrics.
- Do you want a High Priest very empathetic and passionate to pray or supplicate God?
Unto him that was able to save him from death
- God was able to save Jesus from dying on the cross, but His will would not be done.
- The power of the Jews and Romans combined and squared meant nothing to Him.
- Hezekiah, in far greater straits, was saved immediately and totally from Assyrians.
- Jesus told Peter His Father could send 12 legions of angels right then (Mat 26:53).
- But if Jesus asked for them or God sent them, the scripture would fail (Mat 26:54).
- Never forget that God’s will is declared in scripture so that the one is as the other.
- You know from above that Jesus begged – for the cup to pass from Him, if possible.
- If you ask for God to deliver you from something, even death, and He does not, think.
- Think … if God does not deliver, then the result is His perfect and righteous will.
- Think … if God does not deliver, then He will provide all you need to do His will.
- Think … if God does not deliver, it is the best result for you, no matter your view.
- For the fitting song, Ten Thousand Angels.
- Do you want a High Priest that knows and understands to whom to pray in great need?
And was heard in that he feared
- Note the fear in this verse – this is not Jesus’ fear of dying, but rather His fear of God.
- Jesus’ fear of the cross was not the bottom line, for He was totally willing in faith.
- The bottom line to His prayer in Gethsemane was submission to God’s will over His own will, which is fear and reverence of God perfectly applied and illustrated.
- It is not our fear of a situation that gets God to hear us, but rather our fear of Him.
- Paul explained later in this epistle: fear of God is acceptable service (He 12:28-29).
- Jesus had taught fear of God, Who had power to kill and cast into hell (Lu 12:4-5).
- Jesus is said to have trusted God, like fearing Him, for His deliverance (I Pet 2:23).
- These words plainly declare that God did hear the prayers of our Lord in Gethsemane.
- Jesus prayed in the garden in the middle of a night, but hours later God forsook Him.
- Though God forsook Jesus in fellowship, He supplied what He needed in strength.
- Even when we lose the joy of fellowship, God will sustain us to remain faithful.
- How did God hear Jesus? He heard and sent an angel to strengthen him (Luke 22:43).
- See His boldness to go meet the mob coming to arrest Him and identify Himself.
- See His confidence on trial and total lack of shirking or threatening (I Pet 2:21-24).
- How did God hear Jesus? Psalm 22 says God did not hear, but did hear (Ps 22:1-3,24).
- Do you want a High Priest that though troubled reverenced God and was heard for it?
Though he were a Son
- As the Son of God, Jesus should not have had to suffer something so personally ugly.
- But you see in Gethsemane His humble submission to His Father’s will for Him.
- He did not complain it was unfair, or it was inconsistent, or it belied God’s love.
- But as the Son of God, He had been charged and sent to lay down His life for sinners.
- He understood His office and was willing, yea ready and eager, to do God’s will.
- He knew, for we are told elsewhere, that He would be highly rewarded for dying.
- We, though the children of God, will have our ugly things in life to endure and suffer.
- Do you want a High Priest, though privileged most highly by God, did all expected?
Yet learned he obedience
- The Son of God willingly submitted to pain in order to learn and illustrate obedience.
- This learning should be understood as experimentally and practically, not just academically, intellectually, or conceptually, for He had always obeyed (John 8:29).
- How can we ever complain about our trials, when He bore worse ones so much better?
- Do you want a High Priest that did what He asks of you, though better through worse?
By the things which he suffered
- It was not so much His sufferings that taught Him, but rather His submission to them.
- Suffering is good, as we have recently learned, to acquire patience, experience, hope.
- No soldier dying for His country comes close to Christ’s conscious, knowing decision.
- For more about afflictions.
- Do you want a High Priest that suffered significantly and willingly chose it for God?
And being made perfect
- He was, and became, and is, an infinitely perfect priest in every way by any measure.
- He carried the value and worth of His own sacrifice to God in heaven for the elect.
- He did everything perfectly … lived, died, buried, resurrected, ascended, intercedes.
- Consider His person, office, humility, obedience, supplication, endurance, mercy, etc.
- This idea of perfection of Paul by the Holy Spirit is not new, but repeated (Heb 2:10).
- Jesus sent word to Herod that after three days He would be perfected (Luke 13:32).
- It is the combination of all Jesus was, all He did, and all He does now that is perfect.
- Do you want a High Priest that is absolutely perfect in every way by any measure?
He became the author of eternal salvation
- God gave the elect to Christ, and He gives to them eternal life (John 10:28-29; 17:2).
- There is a Man in heaven that has guaranteed and will complete your entire salvation.
- At the right hand of God with His sacrifice finished (Heb 1:3), He gives us eternal life.
- Not only did He die and rise … He ever lives to intercede (Ro 5:10; 8:34; Heb 7:25), which Paul elevated to a very high level indeed in comparison to His death.
- Do you want a High Priest that has finished and is doing everything for eternal life?
Unto all them that obey him
- The Holy Spirit can choose whatever He desires to describe recipients of salvation.
- In this place, and many others also, He chose to identify the elect by their obedience.
- Your decision to invite Jesus into your heart is not a condition or proof anywhere.
- Your baptism no matter how much you believed is far too little for real evidence.
- The real evidence of eternal life, for those Jesus will surely save, is true obedience.
- The evidence of election is your obedience (I Thess 1:2-4; II Pet 1:5-11; Gal 5:6).
- Salvation has never been a decision, except for God’s choice to save (Ro 9:15-16).
- Obedience as evidence.
- Remember, obedience has already been introduced, the Lord’s obedience in suffering.
- Do you want a High Priest that rewards the wicked and punishes the righteous (Ezek 13:22), or One whose gift of eternal life is consistent with godliness as the result?
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec
- David foretold his Lord, chosen by his LORD, would fulfill Melchisedec’s priesthood.
- Psalm 110 is one of the Messianic Psalms and declares Jesus Christ King and Priest.
- For His Melchisedec priesthood.
- Do you want a High Priest that fulfills all the great traits of Melchisedec’s priesthood?
- There is much more to be said of Jesus Christ’s priesthood, and Paul did, but his audience was dull.
- Are you advancing in the knowledge of Christ by His Spirit and word, or are you also a dull hearer?
- Men will do most anything for false priests on earth, but you have a perfect priest gone into heaven!
For Further Study:
- Sermon Outline: Order of Melchisedec
- Sermon Outline: Our Great High Priest.
- Jesus made us kings and priests to God.
- A summary of Melchisedec priesthood.
- For Jesus Christ’s testimony on trial.
- For an introduction to Messianic Psalms (see also).
- Overview of Israel’s Day of Atonement.
- Running our Race like Jesus Ran.
- More about Running Like Jesus.