25 February • Saturday after Ash Wednesday
1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor for himself, but only
when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
6 as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
The office of the high priest in the Old Testament was instituted by God “to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (v.1). By the divine appointment of God, high priests such as Aaron and his sons (Leviticus 8) were men called and ordained to show compassion to struggling sinners and to offer sacrifices for sins (vv.2-4). However, no amount of sacrifices offered through the human high priests could take away the sins of men (Hebrews 10:11). In response to the cruel nature of sins and its eternal consequences, God sent his one and only begotten Son (John 3:16) as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, to enter the Holy of Holies once and for all to secure the eternal redemption of mankind (vv.5-6). Jesus Christ became
the unblemished sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus Christ our Great High Priest, who was in the form of God, “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). As a result of his humble obedience, there’s no longer the need for high priests as the go-between for God and men, and there’s no longer the need for sacrifices and burnt offerings as in the Old Covenant for sins of men (vv.7-10). As sons and daughters of God (John 1:12) who are redeemed, forgiven, and set apart, we are given access into the presence of our Father in Heaven. What a privilege we have received.
With Jesus Christ as the source of our eternal salvation— we can be confident of our spiritual inheritance, for He has given us the Holy Spirit as guarantee until we acquire possession of it (Ephesians 1:13-14). Let’s remain firm and confident in Christ as we learn to overcome the dark storms and challenges in this season of the new normal, to His praise and glory!
Lord Jesus, thank You for being our heavenly High Priest who bore our sins on the cross. Worthy are You Lord, the Lamb who was slain, to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honour, glory and blessing. AMEN.
Jesus was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. On the spectrum of our personal obedience to our Lord, let us likewise readily pray, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Revd Canon Dr Lewis Lew
St Andrew’s Cathedral