May 6, 2011
Saturday after the First Sunday after Easter
Morning - Ps. 42, 43, Ex. 17:1-7, Heb 4:14-5:14
Evening – Ps.93, 111, Is. 43:1-7, 1 Pet. 3:1-12
The rabbi was a highly honoured man in the Jewish community. Known for learning and wisdom, he was often asked to settle disputes and give counsel on a wide range of issues. And his word was usually followed gladly. Yet beloved and respected as he was, the High Priest was much more so. He lived in palatial grandeur, oversaw the services of the Temple, and was the spiritual leader and symbol of the entire Jewish religion and nation. The book of Hebrews has already told us Christ is greater than angels and Moses, now it tells us He is greater than the High Priest.
He is greater because He has passed into the heavens and because He is the Son of God. Yet He is also aware of our human trials because He experienced them Himself. He is touched by our infirmities and was in all points tried and tempted as we are, though without sin (4:15). Therefore He is merciful and welcoming to those who seek Him. We may come to Him boldly, not arrogantly or flippantly, but in reverent confidence in His grace, knowing that in Him we will find mercy, grace, and help (4:16).
He is greater than the human High Priest because He Himself is without sin, therefore, every aspect of His work is for His people, not Himself. The human High Priest had to offer sacrifices for his own sins, and to spend time in prayer and confession for himself (5:3), but Christ is without sin, and His ministry was given entirely for our sake.
He is greater that the High Priest because His Priestly Order is great than the Human High Priest’s. He is of the Order of Melchisedec (5:10). We will see more about Melchisedec later. The point of today’ reading is that Melchisedec was the Priest of God long before the institution of the Temple, the sacrificial system, and the order of priests that conducted the services, including the High Priest.
Therefore, let us go on with Christ into mature faith. This means there must be more to our faith than simply repeating “Christ died for my sins, so I am saved.” We must move into fully trusting Christ with our lives and souls. We must move into finding in Him our life’s meaning, our joy, our pleasure, our hope, and our comfort. In other words, our belief that Christ died for our sins must transform and direct every other aspect of our life, else it is not real faith.