WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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CHRIST IS OUR HIGH PRIEST
(JESUS identifies with us and intercedes for us)
(Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10)
In Hebrews chapters 4:14-5:10, the author of GOD seeks to show us how JESUS easily qualifies to fulfill the essentials of the priesthood, as they are defined by GOD. JESUS is our High Priest, WHO has gone to Heaven to intercede for us, and is the SON of GOD.
Complying with all of GOD’s wishes, HE accepted the charge to come to earth and be born of woman into a 100% human being, so that HE could legitimately qualify to become a living sacrifice for all mankind in general, and all Christians in particular. As a human being, HE came to understand all of our weaknesses, and HE faced all of the temptations from satan that human beings have to face. That’s why we can now come boldly to the Throne of GOD, and there, we will find and receive HIS mercy, and all the grace we need to help us to overcome this world, just as JESUS did (4:14-16).
In chapter 5, verses 1-5, the writer of Hebrews discloses to us, the three most essential qualifications that are required for one to be a priest, who serves the GOD in Heaven. An earthly High priest is a man chosen to represent other human beings in their dealings with GOD. One of his key roles is to present their gifts and their sacrifices for sin to GOD. However, because he is himself a sinful human being, he must first offer up sacrifices to GOD for his own sins.
First of all, in this passage the writer gives us the attribute of “compassion” as a key qualification. The compassion of CHRIST is far richer than the gentleness that is ascribed to the earthly high priests. The High priest must be able to deal compassionately with people who are, for the most part, ignorant and wayward, and he himself is also subject to those same weaknesses.
The Greek word used for “touched” in verse 4, “sumpatheo” (soom-path-eh-o), means “to have compassion for”. “Compassion”, in the Greek, “metriopatheo” (met-ree-op-eth-eh-o), is “a midpoint between two extremes”. That tells us that a priest must operate with his “emotions under control” at all times, and not be too light, nor too harsh, when dealing with the people he is interceding for before GOD. He must keep his feelings neutral, in the middle, where “virtue” can be found. That way he stays within the boundaries of the compassion that CHRIST exhibited, and won’t subject himself to being influenced by satan, through “out of control” emotions.
And so the second qualification of the priest is that he must keep himself within the will of GOD by having “self control” over his own body. He must continually be concerned about his own spiritual life and personal relationship with GOD in Heaven, WHOM he labors for.
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. Thus 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. And so a priest of GOD must;
· Have and show compassion
· Keep himself within the Will of GOD, having self disciple
· Most importantly, “be called by GOD”
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 the voice of GOD.
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 one-time-only, vicarious sacrifice for us on the cross, HE, through GOD’s grace, was able to cover all the sins of every human being, past, present, and future, with HIS “Eternal Life-giving Blood”. And HE now intercedes for us from a Heavenly vantage point, pleading our case before GOD, whenever we choose to accept HIS sacrificial rendering, giving HIM control over the throne of our lives.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website