Questions for Littles: From among whom is a high priest taken (v1)? For whom are they appointed? To whom do they relate upon man’s behalf? What do they offer for sins? Upon whom can a high priest have compassion (v2)? Why is he able to do so? For whom is he required to offer sacrifice for sins (v3)? Who can take this honor for himself (v4)? Who called Aaron to be a high priest? Who appointed Christ to be High Priest (v5)? What did He say to Christ in v5?In the Scripture for the sermon this week, we were reminded that every high priest has to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He ministers on behalf of a sinful people before a holy, holy, holy God!
This requires two things: first, he has to be appointed by God; second, he has to be identified with our sins.
A high priest must be appointed by God. A man cannot simply demand that the perfectly just and holy God receive his ministry. The Lord is not obligated to provide or accept any sacrifice for our sin. The Lord is not obligated to provide or accept any priest to offer that sacrifice. So, the very existence of high priests is evidence of the great love of God—the perfectly just and perfectly holy God—to sinners! And, the fact that He has given us God the Son to be our high priest is evidence not merely of great love, but infinite, everlasting love!
A high priest must also be identified with our sins. As he who was appointed by God offers sacrifices that were appointed by God, the justice and wrath of God fall upon a substitute instead of us. The problem for sinful high priests is that this can never satisfy. Even their offering needs atonement. The advantage is that they are able to be gentle and merciful, because they are in the same boat as their people.
Enter the Lord Jesus Christ. He identified with us willingly. At the beginning of His ministry, John the Baptizer knew that this made no sense, but our Redeemer insisted upon it (cf. Mat 3:11-17). And on the night that He was betrayed, our Lord identified Himself with His people as He instituted the Supper, and then spent a significant part of the evening praying on their behalf as those who are joined to Him (cf. John 17).
But while those moments were great displays of the intentionality of our Redeemer in identifying with us, they were not the height of His identifying with us. That took place upon the cross, where our Lord experienced the guilt and shame of sin, together with all of God’s hatred against it. This was exactly what He had pleaded to be spared from the previous night in the garden!
How much is Jesus able to sympathize with us? In a very real sense, even more than we can sympathize with ourselves. He has endured the sinfulness of those who believe in Him in a way that—precisely because of His sacrifice—we never will! God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him!
How does it help either to know God’s love in making Jesus our Priest, or to know Christ’s sympathy?Suggested Songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or HB143 “At the Name of Jesus”