Ezekiel 7:1-27; Hebrews 5:1-11; Psalms 104:24-30; Proverbs 22:20-21
NT: “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed in matters pertaining to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he is also clothed with weakness… No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, Christ did not exalt himself to become a high priest, but God who said to him, You are my Son; today I have become your Father, also says in another place, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. During his earthly life, he offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was the Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. After he was perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, and he was declared by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:1-2, 4-10 CSB)
Not anyone could become a High Priest. There were qualifications that had to be met first. The first qualification was that the High Priest must be a human in order to fully represent humanity before God. Secondly, the High Priest had to be appointed by God – hand-picked from among humanity by God to represent humanity in matters pertaining to God. There were several times in Biblical history when men tried to appoint themselves as priests, and it didn’t go well for them. Thirdly, the High Priest had to be able to sympathize with the people he was representing. Finally, a sacrifice had to be made to consecrate the High Priest unto God. The requirements for priestly consecration are recorded in Exodus 29.
Jesus Christ met all of those qualifications. Though He was the Son of God, He became a man and dwelt among us. Christ was selected by God, the Son in whom He was well-pleased, to stand in our place. When Jesus laid aside His divinity to be born into humanity, He was fully human, with all of our limitations and physical weaknesses. He was limited by time and space, He got tired, He got hungry, He experienced temptations, He experienced physical pain, He had to learn how to be fully obedient as a limited human and He did so through pain and suffering. Jesus was and is able to fully sympathize with humanity in every way. Finally, Jesus was consecrated through a sacrifice – but it wasn’t a sacrifice for His own sin. It as a sacrifice for our sin. His sacrifice wasn’t a sacrifice of rams and bulls, but of His own body.
There was one qualification that Jesus did not meet. High Priests under the law came from the tribe of Levi and were descendants of Aaron. Jesus was not a Levite. He was born into the kingly tribe of Judah. Though all of the High Priests since the establishment of the law were all descendants of Aaron, there was one High Priest that was appointed by God before Levi was ever born and before the law was ever established. That High Priest was Melchizedek. The brief story of Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14:18-20. The name Melchizedek literally means King of Righteousness. Melchizedek was not only the priest of the Most High God, he was also the King of Salem (or King of Peace). Jesus was not appointed a priest under the law – for He fulfilled all of the requirements of the law. Jesus was appointed High Priest under grace in the order of Melchizedek, King of Righteousness and King of Peace… and like Melchizedek, Jesus would serve as High Priest and rule as King. Because Jesus has already died and has now been resurrected, He is able to serve as King and High Priest forever. Because He sits on the throne of grace at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest forever, He intercedes for us to the Father forever… and through Him, we have a sympathetic advocate before the Father forever.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for loving me so much that you laid aside Your divinity to become a man so that through pain, suffering and death, You would be appointed as my Great High Priest, bridging the divide between me and God, reconciling me to God, and serving as my intercessor and advocate before God forever. For that and more, I offer my life to You and serve You as part of Your royal priesthood here on earth. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.