October 7, 2020·Mike Gentry
“Jesus is the kind of high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and He is raised above the heavens. He is not like the other priests who had to offer sacrifices every day, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Christ offered His sacrifice only once and for all time when He offered Himself. The law chooses high priests who are people with weaknesses, but the word of God’s oath came later than the law. It made God’s Son to be the high priest, and that Son has been made perfect forever.”
— Hebrews 7:26-28
When I read this passage of Scripture in Hebrews, I am immediately encouraged as a follower of Christ. I think of the millions, even billions of sins committed since the beginning of the human story. I think of all the sacrifices that had to happen over the course of history, that were no longer necessary at the exact moment of Christ’s death on the cross. Before Jesus, mankind had to offer sacrifices over and over and over again, because people sinned over and over and over again. I mean, imagine it with me — in one instant, mankind went from having to provide one of the sacrificial animals to be killed and sacrificed as payment for their sins, in order to have relationship with God — and, in that same instant, they were now able to repent of all their sins and believe in Jesus as the only way to salvation. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” This means that in that same instant, animal sacrifice for sins actually became null and void. It was no longer necessary or valid as a form of payment for sin. You know what I say? Thank God for that! If I had to sacrifice a lamb, goat, dove or whatever, I don’t know what I would do. I have to repent daily for my shortcomings and faults. I’m reminded every day of how much I NEED JESUS. I can’t do this life without HIM.
Another thing that encourages me about these scriptures in Hebrews is: Jesus is the perfect high priest. He didn’t have to sacrifice for His own sin and then our sins, but He was able to die once for all of us, because He never sinned! As we learn in Matthew 4, it’s not because He was never tempted. The devil himself tempted Jesus. And he wasn’t a gentleman about it, he didn’t wait until Jesus was rested up, healthy, with a good meal in His belly. Actually, that makes me think about the movie, The Princess Bride (which is my FAVORITE comedy movie of all time). In the scene in which Inigo Montoya is waiting for the man in black to finish climbing to the top of the cliffs of insanity to finish him off with the sword. He gave the man in black his word, on the soul of his father, that he would let him get to the top without harm. Even after the man in black made it to the top, Inigo let him rest for a few minutes and catch his breath before their sword fight would begin. A true gentleman. Naw… the devil didn’t do that. He attacked when Jesus was actually at His physically weakest. Jesus had been fasting 40 days and nights, without food, and He was hungry, yet that is the exact moment the devil tempted Jesus. But Jesus didn’t falter, He didn’t give in to the temptation of food or ultimate power that was dangled before Him. He stood fast, with the Word of God on His lips.
That is the Savior of the world that we worship and adore. He was tempted, just as we are; He lived on this earth, just as we do, yet He didn’t sin; He died a gruesome death, yet he defeated the power of death when He rose up from the grave three days later. He is our perfect High Priest, who stood before God and man declaring, “It is finished!” The veil of the temple, that separated the presence of God from everyone except the high priest, was torn in two as Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, guilty sinners. Because of our perfect High Priest, we will get to see God face-to-face someday.
Thank you, Jesus, for making the ultimate sacrifice for us. Thank you for not giving in to sin. Thank you for loving each and every one of us so much that You willingly, knowingly gave Your life for us, so we could live with You forever in Heaven. Amen.
Pastor Mike Gentry