Arguably the most important office appointed by God is that of priest. In the Old Testament, priests were the intermediaries between God and the people. They offered up the sacrifices to God, they offered prayers to God on behalf of the people and they praised God on behalf of the people.
Jesus holds the office of priest in similar ways, and also in more extensive ways.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with sacrifice. Sin deserves punishment, and in the OT animals were sacrificed to fufill the puinishment. However, that was deemed insufficient.
Heb 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Jesus became the new, and greatest high priest, with the implicit knowledge of exactly what sacrifice was needed.
Heb 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
He knew that blood had to be shed, and that the blood needed to be His.
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
His blood spilled on the cross was the final, total and complete sacrifice needed for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus willingly laid Himself on the altar of sacrifice, bringing Himself there as priest, and sacrificing Himself.
Into God’s very presence
Jesus brings us closer to God. He testifies and intervenes on the behalf of His people, those that God gave to Him. Jesus leads us from our sins into the presence of God, as our high priest. He showed us how to pray and worship, He gave us the example, He showed us the way to the most holy of places, into God’s presence.
Heb 9:24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Heb 6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
Heb 6:20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Our high priest bought for us, with His sacrifice, a right that is so very precious. He opened up the way to directly go into God’s presence. No more blood sacrifice is needed, no more inner holy places in temples, no more priests to spill blood for our sins. The curtain is torn, and we can enter.
Heb 10:20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Intercedes for us
Jesus, as our priest in God’s presence, presents us to God. He brings us to God, and verifies our imputed righteousness. He brings our prayers and confessions to God, He pleads our case before God.
Heb 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
The greek word for intercession shows us how utterly personal and specific the priestly duty is that Christ does for us. The greek is entugchanō, which means to ‘petition, or plead with’. Christ takes our personal case before God, and we can have total assurance and confidence that we will be seen as clean of our sins.
In summary, Christ, as the God-man, is uniquely qualified to be our eternal high priest. He is 100% sure of the worth of His sacrifice. He represents us, His children, before the judgment throne of God. He pleads our own personal case, He brings our spiritual needs before God, assuring our perseverance.
We will conclude with the office of king tomorrow. Until then, may God bless you and keep you.