|Jesus Lamb of God - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's , for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." Hebrews 7:26,27.
Our reading yesterday left us in the middle of a discussion. The writer of Hebrews was addressing Jews who had lived all their lives observing the law of Moses with its rituals, sacrifices, and feasts in order to be accepted by God. He was showing them that now Jesus had superseded that system as a way to God.
In his argument he used the Old Testament character Melchizedek. He was the priest of Salem to whom Abraham gave tithes and who blessed Abraham. David, speaking of Messiah, spoke of Him being in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). The author of Hebrews equated Jesus with Melchizedek (yesterday's devo).
In today's reading, he continues his argument by comparing the Levitical priesthood with Jesus's:
- The Levitical priests came under the authority of a "fleshly commandment" versus Jesus who came "according to the power of an endless life" - Hebrews 7:16,17.
- The Levitical priests, even with all their obedience to the law, made no difference to man's basic inability to keep God's law, versus Jesus who made it possible for people to draw near to God - Hebrews 7:19.
- The Levitical priests did not have the oath of God (the "better covenant") behind them as Jesus did - Hebrews 7:20-22.
- The Levitical priests kept dying and having to be replaced versus Jesus who "continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood" - Hebrews 7:23-24.
Finally, in the climax of his argument, the Hebrews author tells the readers of his day and us today what we have in and through Jesus:
"Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost—completely, perfectly, finally and for all time and eternity—those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them" - Hebrews 7:25 AMP.
Jesus was able to complete what the Levitical priesthood only symbolized.
This was so because unlike the Levitical priests Jesus was "holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners and exalted higher than the heavens," a priest who didn't have to offer sacrifices for His own sin—because He had never committed any. " … He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up" - Hebrews 7:26,27 AMP.
We who have never been part of the Levitical system can appreciate only with our imaginations what a change this was for devout Jewish believers. But when we're tempted to minimize what Jesus' life, death, and resurrection meant in God's big scheme of things, we have only to look at the system He superseded to be eternally grateful.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for making Your "once and for all" offering for my sins and for now interceding and intervening with God the Father on my behalf. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)