Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Hebrews 4:14-5:10

Our Sympathetic High Priest

Under the old covenant, priests were many.  They were necessary to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.  Moreover, they were all sons of Aaron, Moses’ brother, whom we met in Exodus.  Thus, they were all duly called of God, as Aaron’s was the priestly line, and completely necessary as God’s law ordained them to their task for the people.  But not only did the priest offer sacrifices for the sins of the people, he had to offer sacrifices for himself as well, as he too was a sinful man.  We might say that the priest understood the people, being a sinner himself.  He could “deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.”

We have said now many times that the Old Testament or covenant was preparation for the New; indeed, it foreshadowed the New Testament and covenant with its various regulations (for example, the sacrifices foreshadowed our Lord’s sacrifice).  Here, we see the Old Testament priests foreshadowing our great High Priest, Jesus Christ.  We might say that they were copies of the One who was to come in their functions, those functions being offering sacrifices on behalf of the people.  Thus a priest served as a go-between for the people and God.

And so we see how they foreshadowed and anticipated our Lord’s coming.  Our Lord is the quintessential go-between and the perfect mediator.  Unlike the priests of old, he does not have to offer sacrifices for himself, for he is sinless.  But because he assumed our nature, he is like the old priests in that he knows us and “sympathizes with our weaknesses.”  In our Lord’s human nature, he was tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  He too offered prayers to God “with loud cries and tears” as one who suffered with us and for us.  Scripture even says that “he learned obedience through what he suffered,” not meaning that our Lord was ever disobedient to His heavenly Father, or his parents, but that even he grew in knowledge and wisdom as a human being (Luke 2:51-52).  He grew in his own godly perfection and holiness as he lived our life, endured trial and conquered temptation, and so was made (and ever was) the spotless Lamb of God.

And now he is our great High Priest, the One who intercedes for us through prayer, the One who “re-presents” us to the Father, not as the old Adam through whom we sinned, but as the new Adam, who is himself.  Through him, we are made acceptable, forgiven, and spotless.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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