A sermon on Jesus being our high priest
1) About 75 times in the Bible we find the words, “high priest.”
2) About 55 of these passages are located in the New Testament.
3) About 16 of these 55 New Testament references are in the book of Hebrews.
4) Time and time again we are told in Hebrews that Jesus is our “high priest.”
5) Tonight we want to look strictly at the book of Hebrews and the verses that refer to Jesus as a high priest.
a) Heb. 2:17 is the first text and this passage speaks about “becoming” a high priest.
b) Whoever wrote this book intended to say there were certain qualifications.
c) Whatever these qualifications are, Jesus had to meet them and He did meet them.
d) If we want to “become” involved in some type of activity, there are often qualifications.
e) Someone cannot become a doctor without training and licensing.
f) Other professions such as being an attorney or a teacher also have qualification requirements.
g) Heb. 2:17 – READ.
h) One qualification for Jesus to be high priest was to become a man (share in the kind of life we have).
i) Jesus met this qualification as well as every other so He now serves as a high priest.
6) Some might wonder what a high priest was; this is also an important question.
7) It does no good to say Jesus is our high priest if we do not know what this position involves.
8) Heb. 2:17 tells us what a high priest does – He deals with things “pertaining to God.”
9) God doesn’t need any help so helping the Godhead is not the role of the high priest.
10) Those who need help are the people, and this is where a high priest comes into play.
a) Somehow a high priest intervenes (works) to help bring man and God back together.
b) The work of a high priest is spiritual and it somehow relates to forgiveness of sins.
c) This information is given at the end of verse 17.
d) As a high priest Jesus made “propitiation” for sin. He made the appropriate sacrifice.
11) Sometimes there are things in life that we want to be sure someone takes care of.
12) Even though someone says they will take care of something, we are not always sure they will follow through.
13) Most of us have spoken with someone in person or on the phone and we didn’t feel too assured about the conversation.
14) We hung up or left the store wondering if the person would really do what they said.
15) When it comes to forgiveness of sins, this is too important an item to let a shoddy workman do it.
16) Jesus became a high priest and Heb. 2:17 says He is “faithful.” Jesus is reliable.
17) When it comes to the Lord, He takes His work very, very seriously.
18) Not only is Jesus faithful, verse 17 says He is “merciful.”
a) There are good workers in the world but these men and women show no mercy or compassion.
b) When it comes to someone dealing with our sins, we want someone who shows kindness and compassion.
c) We want a gentle hand and the Hebrew writer says Jesus offers that.
d) Verse 17 does not specifically identify the Lord as our high priest.
e) The first verse in the next chapter, however, does – Heb. 3:1 – READ.
19) Here Jesus is specifically identified as our high priest.
20) Under the Old Testament system, high priests were with the people.
21) Heb. 2:17 says that for a time, Jesus was “with the people” (He also lived on the earth).
22) Now our high priest is somewhere else – Heb. 4:14 – READ.
a) At the present time Jesus the high priest is “in heaven.”
b) This is good news.
c) Heaven is presented as the dwelling place of God; it is, shall we say, the “divine headquarters.”
d) Since God is the one who forgives sin, Jesus is now in the place where this is done.
e) He is in the right place to intercede and be an advocate for His people.
23) Because Jesus has assumed this role, Heb. 4:14 says we need to “hold fast our profession.”
24) Christ is our only hope and source of safety so we need to cling to Him.
25) We do that, in part, through the spiritual body He created (the church).
26) Jesus once said He is the vine and we are the branches.
27) We need to stay connected to the vine (our high priest).
28) Jesus is our direct spiritual link to an eternal home and eternal salvation.
a) Some might think that since Jesus is no longer upon the earth He has forgotten what life here is like.
b) Someone may say, “Yes, He was here at one time but that was long ago.”
c) Today we see instances of people “not remembering where they came from.”
d) A person may grow up in the worst type of poverty. They become wealthy and forget about their past.
e) Sometimes people can no longer identify with the way of life they formerly lived.
f) Such is not the case with the Lord.
29) Look at the next verse in Heb. 4, Heb. 4:15 – READ.
a) The writer said our high priest is “not” of a certain type.
b) He is not like someone who fails to understand and empathize.
c) Jesus has faced the very kind of temptations we have faced.
d) He was never married, but He knows what it is like to be in the midst of a disagreement.
e) He never had children, but He is fully aware of the struggles parents can have.
f) He never used a computer, but He knows the world makes advancement and there are new things to learn.
30) In the next chapter of Hebrews we are again introduced to information about high priests.
31) In 5:4 we are told that men are not allowed to automatically assume this job; God must select them.
32) Long ago under the Old Testament system, God selected Aaron to be a high priest.
a) When God was ready to give a religious system for the entire world, He decided to have a high priest.
b) The person selected by heaven is Jesus, and Jesus alone.
c) God has made Christ high priest and no one else has the right to assume this position.
d) In spite of this there are religious groups that put forward men and women as religious leaders.
e) Jesus has been given this position and He is not willing to share.
f) Jesus was obedient to heaven’s wishes (Heb. 5:8-9), and one consequence of that was being made a high priest.
33) A few of you know that I have a military decoration, a *****.
34) The *** is a military medal awarded to soldiers injured in battle.
35) My “medal” came out of a filing cabinet. It was not presented at some special ceremony.
36) I worked closely with a man who distributed these *** to various service members and families.
37) One day I was at his desk and he invited me to “have some medals.”
38) It would be wrong for me to say I am a *** recipient.
39) Certainly those who earned this medal would feel wronged if I laid claim to deserving this medal.
a) Notice what is said about Jesus – verses 8-9 of Heb. 5 – READ.
b) Jesus paid the price—a high price—to be a high priest.
c) He did all that needed to be done in order to “be the author of salvation to all.”
d) How must Jesus feel when someone else comes along and says “salvation may be obtained with another way?”
e) Or, how must the Lord react when someone says, “There is another path/savoir?”
f) Surely heaven’s full wrath will finally fall upon that person and or claim.
g) If we have not earned something important like Jesus did, we have no right to lay claim to it.
40) Sometimes people take on a role for a specific period of time and then relinquish it. Another gets the job.
41) Such will not be the case with the Lord.
42) Heb. 6:20 refers to being a high priest “forever.”
a) Until the end of time, the Lord will be ready and willing to help the people of God.
b) He is always there ready to deal with the problem of sin.
c) Jesus can successfully deal with sin because Heb. 7:26 says He is “sinless.”
d) In verse 27 we are reminded of how the Old Testament system worked.
e) Regular priests had to deal with their own sins prior to helping the people.
f) Jesus never had a single sin charged to His account, so He is exempted from this task.
g) In fact, He is not only exempted, it is through His blood that we are forgiven.
43) In verse 28 the thought is continued – under the Old Testament system the high priests were imperfect.
44) Men had various “infirmities” (weaknesses and shortcomings); Christ has none of those shortcomings.
45) Our high priest, Heb. 8:1, is sinless so He was able to “sit down at the right hand of God.”
46) Heb. 8:2 goes on to say He “ministers in the sanctuary.”
47) In Heb. 9:12 we learn how Jesus “once for all” offered His blood in the right place.
48) Because of what Jesus did as a high priest, Heb. 13:13 says “let us follow Him.”
a) Let us be His people—faithful in every way.
b) Let us love Him, honor Him, serve Him, and live sacrificial lives for Him.
c) Let us recognize Him as Lord and let His word guide every aspect of our lives.
d) Heb.13:14 goes on to say this world is on our permanent home.
e) As a high priest Jesus has prepared another place for us to go.
f) If we recognize the Lord as our high priest, we imply that earth is not our true dwelling place.
49) Then in Heb. 13:15, still in the context of Jesus being our high priest, the text says, “let us offer up praise.”
50) This praise is described as the “fruit of lips” (one way to do this is singing).
51) Another method is prayer. We should be very grateful we have a perfect high priest.
53) Not too far into the distant future we will be having a friend’s day.
54) Flyers are on the table and we want to distribute them as widely as possible.
55) There are people in this area who do not currently have Jesus working as their high priest.
56) We can help them find the Lord if we will invite them.
57) Too, we are in the process of bringing in some very nifty DVD’s.
58) These simple 1 pack disks tell the story of the cross in a simple but wonderful way.
59) The elders want every family to have one, and this is something that we want to distribute.
60) Jesus became high priest to help people be forgiven of sin, and we have a responsibility in this area.
61) We can help people find Him and obey Him.
62) In verses 16-17 additional Christian responsibilities are introduced.
a) From these additional verses we find that Jesus being a high priest means we also have responsibilities.
b) Jesus has paid the full price, and our response to what He did is loving obedience.
c) Right now Jesus wants to be our high priest—paying the price for our sin and covering it.
d) Have we become a Christian? The steps to becoming a Christian are simple:
Without faith we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6).
We cannot be a child of God without repentance (Lk. 13:3).
We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:12; Acts 8:36-38).
Finally we must be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Have we done these things and are we living a faithful Christian life?