Who makes you?
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect for ever.
I wonder if in these changing times where not only how we live has changed so much, but how we view our very selves has changed so much. May thinkers and writers of Christian faith or no particular faith are seeing that the only remaining authority for how we live, who we believe ourselves to be, how other people should be and what we human being should be doping or not doing is the self.
Many are seeing that the self has become the centre of our universe and the highest authority on everything from ecological management of the planet to what colour toothbrush we buy, to how we live in marriage and family, and of course now, even our gender. It is the self that chooses everything with only reference to self, not country, church, God, others, civic duty, family values…..
Many Christians are saying that if there was ever a time to listen to Gods Word on who we are and what we are here for it is now, lest our children, our young people and our very selves just get more and more caught up in our selfish selves!
Today is a day to hear God’s voice on your self – to let him define you according to him, not you. Let ‘Him do him for you’, rather than just “you do you”. If we hear and if we trust we will be bigger: bigger in love, generosity, vision, meaning, power for the good in a at times very bad world.
Today can we just let the magnificent scope of who Jesus is sink in for a moment and let the Spirit show us more of who we are and what we are here for in Jesus?
We hear of Jesus being the Great High Priest. For us that probably does not mean a whole lot. We don’t have High Priests and we don’t really have any awareness of who they were and what they did and why.
But for the writer to the Hebrews, and for the people of the first church, Jesus being THE Great High Priest is huge. The writer unpacks this truth so his people can hear just how big THEY really are in Jesus and just how big their life is in God’s world.
The writer tries to help us got the magnificence of Jesus and who we are when we are formed by him and trust in him by doing a ‘lesser to greater’ kind of speaking.
Like a software company giving you a free trial version of a program and then once you commit and actually pay for it, you get the full version, God gives the free trial version before he himself pays for the full version and delivers it free to you in his Son.
Here is the full version – Jesus is the THE Great High Priest of all time (Heb 2:17, 3:1, 4:14, 5:5….). Let this grand description of Jesus into your heart and mind now. It will encourage your, reaffirm you; remind you of your place and your task and your clear and present hope for no and beyond….
Like previous high priests, Jesus was anointed for the role, but for him it was at his totally unique and miraculous baptism in the Jordan (Acts 10:38).
Unlike other High Priests who were anointed for the role by the King, Jesus, the King of all kings, anointed himself for the job by his sacrifice death for all sin (John 17:19), and his Father, appointed him into the role not from the usual clan of Levi, but from the Order of the priest, Melchizedek, when he raised Jesus from the dead (Heb 5:1-10, 7:1-28, 10 19-21).
So, unlike all other high priests before, who had to be born into the family clan of Levi, Jesus stands in the line of Melchizedek, that strange and brief high priest who was also a king and whose family and death are not mentioned in Genesis 14. Melchizedek is the trial version of Jesus – who is King and High priest who tasted death and lived and whose lineage is the Father, not human family.
Unlike all other high Priests, Jesus does not just serve the Father in a human made temple in one spot on planet earth (Jerusalem), he serves the Father in the heavenly temple as the one who constantly prays for us, intercedes for us (Heb 8:1-2; 9:11-12, 10:19-21, 7:25)
That is beautiful:
25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
The risen Jesus, Great High priest and King prays for you today, friend.
His praying changes you and makes you who you are. This priest of prayer mediates our relationship with the Father based on the Father’s grace, not our performance, moral purity, correct intelligence, family story or fantastic looks.
Unlike all other high priests, who were called to serve one community (The Jewish people), Jesus, divine and human was resurrected from death to serve the whole human family (all nations). And so, he does his work for all people and calls all people into his priesthood (Heb 2:11).
He took the job to give us the job with him. All baptised people are God’s holy priests in the holy work of making this global community holy. Each one of us serves the Father by serving the world in our many and varies vocations or calling John 17:17-19, 1 Peter 2:5,9, Rev 1:6, 5:10).
SO, you job is not just a job. It is a means by which Jesus prays for, intercedes and mediated a new relationship with the Father through you. The goal of you job or career or study is not serving your self by simply working for the weekend, saving for a house and etc, but the goal of your job and your house and everything else is serving people in Jesus’ name for the Father’s praise.
Jesus as your high priests gives you all this in baptism and its ongoing shaping effect in your life;
You are washed clean and given a clean conscience (1 Cor 6:11, Eph 5:26, Heb 10:22)
You are anointed with his Spirit as he was anointed (2 Cor 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20,27).
You are therefore made holy, set apart, called and gathered all by faith in the Father’s gracious love poured out lavishly into you for his good purposes in this life.
Are you getting the scale of what the Lord has done in you and for you from that baptism day until now? It is grand!
You and I have a status as a gifted and called priest of God that is far greater than the call the first ever priest of God, Aaron, received. Our status is greater than all the high priests that ever served.
They were consecrated for the job by the sprinkling of animal’s blood on their clothing from the altar in the temple. You have been sprinkled on the inside in your heart and conscience with Jesus’ everlasting human and divine blood from the heavenly sanctuary, which is actually Jesus, the new temple! He is everything and that makes you really something!
This happened only once for all the high priests. For you it happens today and every other time you receive the blood and the body of your Saviour to eat and drink in his presence with his Body – the holy community of the Father – the church.
The Old Testament priests had special clothes that were given to them for the job. You don’t need them because you are clothed not with clothes but with a person – Jesus himself. You have a breastplate of faith and love on you, and armor of light on you, and your mark of priesthood calling is not your clothes or your family name or your country of origin or your status in the community or level of wealth or anything else other than Jesus’ own holy love and pureness he gives you.
The High Priests could only enter the Holy of Holies in the temple to meet with God that close once per year. You get to live every moment of every day in the Holy of Holies not by your magnificence but only Jesus’ magnificence. Every time we gather in Jesus name under his authority with faith in him we touch heaven – the holy community of the Lord speaking and doing, and us responding – called The Divine Service.
Like the high priests of old, we do their work. We stand in for others, represent others, seek forgiveness and give forgiveness in God’s name. We pray for others, for those who can’t pray or wont pray – we pray.
We also stand in God’s stead with others – speaking his words, forgiving their sins, telling of Jesus’ deeds and gifts as we be his ambassadors, his light in darkness, his order in chaos, his hope in despair.
Like high priests, we have a holy vocation, a set apart colling as we serve the Lord as we serve people as his community of priests.
Can you sense who you are and what your life is really all about?
Friend, please do. We Christians need to not be formed not by our own selves but by Jesus’ self because he is so good and so full and so crucial to the life of every person.
Let your baptism name you, ‘loved child of the Father’. Take up your calling already given you in your baptism. It is who you are and what you are to be about: your Father’s business more than anyone else’s or your own.
And when you are confident of who he says you are or when you stop listening to him and go back to yourself defining yourself, or the others around you defining you, he prays for you. he intercedes to the Father for you in the pride and in the prejudice, in the confidence and in the weakness, in the faithfulness and in the idol making and following – he prays for you.