Friday, January 16, 2015

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 18, 2015

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(JESUS understands and intercedes for us)
(Hebrews 4:14-5:10)

In Hebrews chapters 4:14-5:10, the author seeks to show us how JESUS easily qualifies to fulfill the essentials of the priesthood, as they are defined by GOD. He thinks of the compassion of CHRIST as being far richer than the gentleness he ascribes to other high priests.
GOD declared and called CHRIST to be a Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Earthly Priests were from the Levite line of Aaron, the line that was appointed by GOD to serve in the priesthood here on earth. Melchizedek, an obscure figure in Scriptures, was both a king and a Priest (Genesis 14:18-20), who ruled in Salem (now Jerusalem), during the time of Abraham.
Old Testament accounts make no mention of Melchizedek’s father or mother. He seems to be without genealogy and, where his life begins, or ends, is unknown. However, there is one thing that is certain, and that is that, GOD knew him, and he knew GOD, and Abraham, knew them both. He was qualified to bless Abraham as a Priest, and to receive a tithe from Abraham as a king, who also, evidently, ranked higher spiritually, than did Abraham, and, Melchizedek remains a priest forever also (Hebrews 7:1-3).
In Psalms 110, “a messianic psalm” by David, Melchizedek is seen as a type of Christ. This theme is repeated here in this book of Hebrews, where both CHRIST and Melchizedek are considered as kings of righteousness and peace. In citing Melchizedek’s unique priesthood as a prototype for CHRIST HIMSELF, the author is showing that CHRIST’s priesthood is superior to the old levitical order of Aaron also. And so, we see that a different kind of Priest has come, who became a Priest, not by meeting the old requirements of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot, and will not be destroyed, “a Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”.
In Hebrews chapter 5, verse 2, as it is expressed in the original Greek, the word that the author of GOD uses for “compassion” is “metriopatheo” (met-ree-op-ath-eh-o), and it means “to be moderate in passion”. It is the only time in scripture that this particular word is used for “compassion”. We most often translate this word to mean, “To feel gently for”. It is said that, somewhere in the midst of any two extremes, there can be found, “the right way”. According to the Greeks, this is also where “virtue” can be discovered. They saw “virtue” as being the “midpoint” between two extremes.

Here in this passage the writer of Hebrews lists three important qualifications that any priest must satisfy;

·         Compassion is one of those three essential qualifications. A Priest must be in full sympathy with others at all times, and ideally, should have gone through some of the same experiences as the people he seeks to council. If a person is not bound together with others in the trials that life brings, he will not be able to correctly sympathize with their plight, and therefore will not be able to grant sound advice.

·         Secondly, Priests are appointed on behalf of others in order to deal with things concerning GOD. For instance, the earthly Priest was originally intended to be the link between the world and GOD. In the beginning, their primary function was to offer sacrifices to GOD for the sins of, first, himself, and then other people. The sacrifice was meant to restore a relationship with GOD that had been interrupted by sin.

·         The third and most important qualification is that the Priest must be, “called by GOD”, and not just show up, and appoint himself. The priesthood is a call to glory by GOD HIMSELF, and is not an office that is appointed by men.

GOD speaks to us, through our many experiences in life. These experiences always, in some way, try our hearts and souls. We can only hear HIS voice when we tune our minds to HIM, with complete “reverence”. If we rebel against GOD, through our resentments, or “continuous sins”, our hearts will build up a resistance that will make us deaf, or, unable to hear HIS voice.
JESUS, among HIS many roles, also serves as our “Eternal High Priest”. HE has been exalted above the Heavens, and has no need to make sacrifices for us from day to day, like the old line of levitical Priests had to do. Because of HIS vicarious sacrifice on the cross, HE, through GOD’s grace, was able to cover the sins of every human being, past, present, and future, with HIS “Eternal Life-giving Blood”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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