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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

He Offered Up Himself (Hebrews 7:27)
Date Posted: June 6, 2023

What do you think about the priesthood? No, not the one that has been unfavorably cast in news headlines of late; rather, I speak of the one about which the Bible speaks, the one in which God ordained that all believers serve as priests (see 1 Peter 2.5-9). This priestly service is not elective; it is mandated for all who would be Christians. This priesthood is particularly special because as priests we all serve at the pleasure of our High Priest, the Risen Christ. It is this relationship that we will explore briefly in today's message. First, please consider the passage that follows.

“But He [Jesus Christ], because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” (Hebrews 7.24-28).

Note that this passage refers to the law and the character of men who were appointed in an earlier priesthood. This, of course, refers to the Law of Moses and the Levitical Priesthood that was part and parcel with it. Those high priests were mere men! As such, they were sinners just the same as all mere men are. Their sacrifices for the sins of the people were preceded by sacrifices for their own sins! This weakness was not it the system; it was the best that could be devised for the time; this weakness was in mankind! Jesus came to take away this weakness and set forth a better system based on better promises and offering a better hope.

Note the subtle but eternity changing difference in the High Priests that are contrasted in the Levitical system and the Christian system. Those priests first offered up sacrifices for their own sins. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, first offered up Himself (sinless and perfect in every way) for our sins! He was the perfect Lamb, the one without spot or blemish. Because of that sacrifice, NO FURTHER SACRIFICE IS NEEDED! For that reason we do not serve around a literal altar busied with bloody sacrifices; there is no further need! Rather, we serve around a living altar on which our lives are laid down in response to our High Priest and His once-for-all sacrifice for us.

It is here that the shadow (the Law of Moses) is eclipsed by the True Light. What those priests could never do due to their own infirmity, Jesus did because of His perfection. In this act, He enabled us to do what we could never do due to our infirmity! By His grace He granted us access to the river of atonement that sprang from the Cross of Calvary. This Crimson Flood as it has been called in some old time hymns, still flows in spite of time and all the changes that it has brought. Although things have changed in two thousand centuries, our basic physical needs have not! That same constancy is also present with our spiritual needs. Just as our physical needs have remained constant, so have our spiritual needs. We need someone to do that which we are totally incapable of doing, and Jesus Christ yet serves in that capacity; He is still our sin-bearer and High Priest!

This He did once for all when He offered up Himself. Don't take that sacrifice lightly; bow in reverence to Him and to the fact that He loved us enough to offer up Himself!

Questions:

1. What was the Levitical priesthood?

2. Name one major difference between it and the priesthood of Jesus as noted in today's text.

3. What benefits accrue to believers because of the Priesthood of Jesus? What did He make us as believers? Who stands as a mediator between us and the Father?

4. Discuss the connection between the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and our ability to enter into the very presence of God with our prayers, concerns, petitions, and thanksgivings.

"God's Words For US" from Cecelia Lester

Intercession

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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