30 Dec. Hebrews 4:14-5:6

30 Dec. Jesus is likened to a Jewish High Priest

"Since we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has gone into heaven, let us hold on to the faith we have."

"For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. When he lived on earth, he was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin."

"Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God's throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it."

"Every [Jewish] high priest is chosen from among other people. He is given the work of going before God for them to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Since he himself is weak, he is able to be gentle with those who do not understand and who are doing wrong things. Because he is weak, the high priest must offer sacrifices for his own sins and also for the sins of the people."

To be a high priest is an honour, but no one chose himself for this work. He must be called by God as Aaron was. So also Christ did not choose himself to have the honour of being a high priest, but God chose him."

"God said to him,
'You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.' [Psalm 2:7]

And in another Scripture God says,
'You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek'. [Psalm 110:4]"

          (Hebrews 4:14 - 5:6)


 

In the fourth chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews, the author tells his Jewish Christian readers that Jesus – who is now in the presence of God – is like a Jewish high priest who has gone into the Most Holy Place in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Because we can pray directly to Jesus in heaven, we can "feel very sure that we can come before God's throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it." (Hebrews 4:16)

Jewish high priests, like Aaron, were called by God (see Exodus 28:1). In the same way, Jesus Christ was appointed to be a priest like Melchizedek (see Genesis 14:17-20 & Psalm 110:4).

In the seventh chapter, the author develops the comparison between Jesus and Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jerusalem) who was a priest during Abraham’s time (see Genesis 14:17-20), long before Aaron. He argues that Jesus has entered the presence of God as a priest like Melchizedek – and has replaced all the priests descended from Aaron (who was the first in a long line of Jewish priests and Levites descended from Levi – see Exodus 40:12-15).

The author (who may well have been a Levite himself) argues in this way because, like Melchizedek, Jesus wasn’t qualified under the Jewish law to be a priest, as he wasn’t a descendant of Levi. (Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah – see Matthew 1:1-2.)

This may seem a very obscure line of argument to twenty-first century Christians, but it was essential for early Jewish Christians to be convinced from the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament) that Jesus was, indeed, qualified to intercede for them before God.

The photo shows a model of the 'Holy of Holies', the Most Holy Place in the Jerusalem Temple.

You can read more from the Letter to the Hebrews @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/the-bible-journey/17-the-letter-to-the-jewish-believers-in-antioch54426/jesus-is-greater-than-moses/


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