Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Bethany Bullet - November 17, 2016

Jesus: Unlike Any Other Series…Priest                     Text: Hebrews 7 and Mark 12:39-40

A Priest Unlike Any Other
We continue our series titled “Unlike Any Other.” Today we look at the Priestly office of Jesus and we will see how Jesus is a Priest like no other.

For the people of Israel, the priest was the most important person in society.  The priest was the go-between, the one who was able to secure the forgiveness of sins and to appease a holy and righteous God. 

The office of priest began with Moses and Aaron, from the tribe of Levi and for generations the Levite family served the Lord in the Tabernacle and in the Temple and served the people by offering sacrifice that brought forgiveness. 

Sacrifice is a messy business.  It was a something that happened over and over again.  The priests spent their days offering the blood of bulls and lambs, pigeons and sheep, pouring out the life of another for the sins of the people. 

The book of Leviticus chronicles the activity and we don’t need to go into details but suffice it to say sacrifice was something that happened often.

One day a year (the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur) the high priest would enter the holy of holies, the inner part of the tabernacle, then the temple, and would offer a sacrifice for his own sins and the pour out a sacrifice upon the mercy seat for the forgiveness of the people.  This was the only way that sinful people could be made right in the eyes of God.

The repetition of sacrifice was at the heart of the life of the priests.  There was a constant flow of animals and blood in an attempt to satisfy the wrath of God himself. 

From the time God gave his law to Moses on Mount Sinai until the destruction of the Temple in 70AD countless priests served innumerable offerings.

But these priests were sinful humans like the rest of us.  The book of Hebrews gives us a great picture of the work of a priest and we will use a few passages in this book as our text this today. 

In Hebrews chapter 5 we read the following, “Every chief priest is chosen from humans to represent them in front of God, that is, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin.  The chief priest can be gentle with people who are ignorant and easily deceived, because he also has weaknesses.  Because he has weaknesses, he has to offer sacrifices for his own sin in the same way that he does for the sins of his people.” (Hebrews 5:1-3)

The Old Testament sacrificial system was set in place to bring forgiveness to the people but the writer of Hebrews tells us that it was also to prepare humanity for something even better. 

In Hebrews chapter 7, we are re-introduced to the character of Melchizedek who “was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God.” (Hebrews 7:1)

Melchizedek is a different kind of priest.  Not a Levite, but a priest none-the-less and a king as well.  “If the work of the Levitical priests had been perfect,” the writer of the book of Hebrews says, “we wouldn’t need to speak about another kind of priest.” (Hebrews 7:11)

The priests of the Old Testament had the problem of sin.  Their own sin made their position only temporary.  Another kind of priest was necessary. 

The requirements are laid out for us from Hebrews 7, verses 26 and 27, “We need a chief priest who is holy, innocent, pure, set apart from sinners and who has the highest position in heaven.  We need a priest who doesn’t have to bring daily sacrifices as those priests did…Jesus brought the sacrifice for the sins of the people once for all when he sacrificed himself.” (Hebrews 7:26-27)

And from Hebrews 10, “Every day each priest performed his religious duty.  He offered the same type of sacrifice again and again.  Yet, these sacrifices could never take away sins.  However, this chief priest made one sacrifice for sins. And this sacrifice lasts forever.” (Hebrews 10:11-12)

Jesus is a priest like no other.
·        Unlike the priests of old who had to atone for their own sins first, Jesus had no sin to atone for.
·        Unlike the sacrifices of old where repetition was required, Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all.
·        Unlike the priests of old who used other things for the offering, Jesus was the offering for others. 
Jesus is your high priest like no other, and He is also the sacrifice. 

Sacrifice is messy business as He offered himself on Calvary’s cross; it was His own blood that was poured out.  He was the willing sacrifice so that your sins would be covered.  He gave all He had as an offering so that we might have the riches of heaven. 

His work on the cross, once and for all, satisfied God and your sin has been forgiven.

We find in 1 Peter chapter 2 the following,  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Those who are in Christ are a royal priesthood, but it is not to make sacrifice as before but as the Lutheran Confessions say, “We teach that the sacrifice of Christ dying on the cross has been enough for the sins of the whole world.  There is no need for other sacrifice as though Christ’s sacrifice were not enough for our sins.  So people are justified not because of any other sacrifices, but because of the one sacrifice of Christ…So they are now called priests, not in order to make any sacrifices for the people…rather they are called to teach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments to the people.” (Ap XIII 8-10)

For all of the times you tried to do it on your own, for all the times you walked away, for the times you gave in to doubt or sought the trappings of fame and fortune at the expense of others.  For every sin you have ever done, those you know of, and those you don’t, Jesus served as your priest and by his own blood cleanses you from your sin. 
Jesus is a priest like no other as He also is the sacrifice. 

His blood is once again poured out for us here this morning.  As Jesus, our High Priest gives us his body and his blood in, with, and under the bread and the wine he gives to us his righteousness, he forgives all our sins and opens the very gates of heaven for us all.

He is a priest like no other and the very Lamb of God.

For many of us who grew up in the Lutheran Church there is a portion of the older liturgy called the Agnus Dei or “Lamb of God.”  It was sung as part of the preparation for communion where Jesus once again promises to be present with his people as priest.  Follow this link to hear the music for this part of the liturgy: https://youtu.be/H0XdMRF4eoM

Oh Christ the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.  Oh Christ the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.  Oh Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, grant us you peace. Amen.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter