Hebrews 5:1-10 Ps 110:1-4 Mark 2:18-22
Priest King God
The letter to the Hebrews was directed to Christ-believing Jews, what we now call Messianic Jews, who have that extra special richness in faith and heritage. At the time of the book, it must have been puzzling for them to decide on what part of their culture still remained. Given that this letter was written around the late 60’s AD, the temple sacrifice continued and the ordinary Jews were reliant on the High Priest going into the holy of holies, once a year, on the day of Atonement to offer a blood sacrifice for his sins and the sins of the people. The high priest was selected from the priests, and were descendants of Aaron, and his job was to represent the people in the presence of God. Therefore, these Hebrew Christians must have puzzled about the repeated claim in this letter that Jesus was a great high priest, as he was clearly a descendant of David (which was required for his royal claim). To explain this, the passage today includes the verses (5&6):
Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
‘You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.’
And he says in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever,
in the order of Melchizedek.’
God had it already in the scriptures (from Ps 110) that this ultimate high priest was not only King, but his son, and eternal. I will leave out the full implications of Melchizedek, as this is covered later when we get to chapter 7.
Shortly after this letter, the temple was destroyed and since that time, the Jews have not had atonement sacrifice in the holy of holies. This I imagine must be a big concern to any Jew who sins.
So, the Hebrews reading this letter would be fully prepared to accept the Jesus way to salvation, and not as the rest of the Jews, who would be asking, “What do we do now?”
‘What’s that got to do with us, here in Southbourne?’, I hear you ask!
It is reassuring that God has everything covered, and with Jesus he is all we need. I find it exciting that looking through the Old Testament that God had his plan in place for us all.
But even more exciting are the words from 1 Peter 2:9,
…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
So, we as believers, have been blessed as chosen, like the Jews were, but also, we are Royal Priests too! Being priests means we have ready access to God in the holy of holies, so there is nothing stopping us from approaching him today. We have the reassurance of our salvation. No matter what we face – distress, disease, danger; we have the knowledge that our God will see us through to the other side and has everything covered. He is our king; therefore, we have kingdom work to do for him. Hallelujah.
We thank you that we have all we need through Jesus.
Although we sin and get things wrong, he has made the sacrifice once and for all, when he went to the cross for us.
Help us to come into your presence with joy and delight and receive from you the words of eternal life with open hands. Make us willing workers, as we eagerly wait for the day when your kingdom comes, on earth as it is in heaven, when Jesus returns.