Jesus as our High Priest

Pastor Jeff Struecker

Last week, we learned about Jesus— the Prophet. Today, we’re going to learn about Jesus— the Priest. We’re studying Christology, a theological word that means the study of Jesus Christ, and we’re learning about these offices that Jesus holds as God’s representative. And today, we’re learning about the office of Priest. Now, if you don’t come from a church tradition with priests, a priest is here interceding on God’s behalf before people and also interceding on the people’s half before God. A priest is sort of a human mediator, whereas Jesus was God’s divine mediator.

There’s nothing holy or unique about the word “priest”. It doesn’t make somebody a different quality of a person. But the priest has two essential roles to fill in God’s plan. The priest’s vital role is to be in the church or among the people and represent the people before God, which means presiding over a service of worship, and interceding on behalf of the people in God’s presence. That’s what the priest represents here on earth.

But the priest also represents God and God’s side of human existence to the people because we live in a world where we can see, smell, and taste, but we can’t see, touch, smell or taste God. So we need to be reminded, Jesus is not a priest. He is the Priest. He’s not just the high Priest, but the Bible refers to Jesus as the great High Priest. He’s the High Priest above all the high priests that have ever walked on planet earth.

Jesus is God’s ultimate interceder. A mediator and the ultimate representative between God and people. The only one that can fill that little gap created by sin is Jesus, the only sinless human to ever walk on earth. And so Jesus is the only one that can bring the gap from God to man.

Whereas you and I here on earth can find human priests, Jesus is God’s great High Priest, and this is the language that the Bible uses to describe the priestly office of Jesus in Hebrews 5:5.

Memory Verse

Hebrews 5:5 talks about the Tabernacle, the earthly place of worship, and compares it to the ultimate place of worship in heaven — the throne room of God. It talks about the priests that do their job on earth. And then it points to the ultimate place of worship and the ultimate Priest —Jesus. He is the only real mediator who can bring God to man and bring man to God and stand in between the two on God’s behalf and man’s behalf. He’s the only one that can enter into God’s holy Tabernacle in heaven and preside over the ultimate worship of God in his presence in the throne room of God.

Jesus is the only one that can do that because Jesus was God’s sacrifice, and a big part of the role of the priest was to preside over the sacrifice. Well, Jesus is the lamb of God, the sacrificed lamb of God, he is both the sacrifice and the Priest who presides over the sacrifice. He alone can connect sinful man with a holy, pure, perfect God, and now I want you to think about this question.

A Challenge

Let me tell you why this question is worded this way. When Jesus walked on earth, he called farmers, tax collectors, and fishermen and said, “Drop your nets, leave your instruments in the field, leave your tax collecting booth, and come follow me.”

That “Follow me” language is discipleship language, and the word disciple itself is a little bit confusing in the English language. Jesus has called all his people to follow him and be a priest. Well, I’m going to ask if Jesus called you out of your sin and brought you into a relationship with himself. Did he call you to do what a priest does to represent God to somebody else? Is that also part of your role as a follower of Jesus as a disciple of Jesus? And I’m going to leave it wide open for you because I want you to think about this as you think about how you’re practicing your faith right now.