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The Superior Priesthood of Christ (Hebrews 7:11-28)

Hebrews 7:11–28 - 11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. 13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” 18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “The Lord has sworn And will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever’ ”); 22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, the writer contrasts the inadequacy of the old Levitical priesthood with the perfection of Jesus' new priesthood (vv. 11-19). The former system was unable to make anyone perfect, necessitating a different priesthood - one modeled after Melchizedek rather than ancestral descent. This new, superior priesthood finds its fulfillment in Christ. The eternal nature of Jesus' priesthood is then extolled (vv. 20-25). While the Levitical priests inevitably faced death, terminating their ministries, Jesus' priesthood continues forever because He lives eternally. His indestructible life ensures our salvation can never be revoked, providing an unshakable anchor for our souls. Finally, the writer highlights how Christ perfectly met the requirement for the high priest to be holy, blameless, and unstained (vv. 26-28). How can I apply Hebrews 7:11-28 to my life? The book of Hebrews shines a brilliant light on Jesus Christ, our perfect High Priest. Unlike the imperfect Levitical system, His priesthood ushers us into an entirely new covenant with God - a covenant providing unhindered access to the Father's presence. As we read about these profound truths, we are confronted with this reality: our relationship with our Heavenly Father hinges upon the magnificent work of our Great High Priest.  We are no longer bound by rituals that could never make us perfect. Because of Jesus' sinless life and complete atonement for our sins, we can approach God's throne room with confidence. Our Mediator lives forever as our eternal High Priest, established by God's unbreakable oath. Even when we are crushed by doubts or fears, we can anchor our souls to this promise - Jesus continually intercedes for us before the Father's throne. Christ's sacrifice, once for all, achieves what no human priest ever could - the full and eternal purification of our sinful beings. This removes all condemnation, enabling us to draw near to God without fear. Such lavish grace beckons a wholehearted response - unwavering faithfulness and passionate pursuit of holiness. As we stumble, we receive mercy and grace to aid our weaknesses. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Embrace the Superior Priesthood of Jesus Christ (vv. 11-19): The writer of Hebrews pulls no punches in exposing the deficiencies of the Levitical priesthood system. This ancestral order, despite its noble lineage, proved woefully inadequate to achieve true perfection. Yet God had an infinitely greater plan - to establish a new priesthood modeled not after human descent, but after the mysterious figure of Melchizedek. And into this sacred role steps Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God Himself. Unlike the flawed human priests before Him, Jesus is the unblemished High Priest, holy and unstained by sin. Through His sacrifice, a new and better covenant with God has been ushered in, granting us unhindered access into the Father's presence. No longer must we rely on external rituals that could never make us perfect. In Christ, our Great High Priest, we can confidently draw near, receiving complete forgiveness and His continual intercession before the Father's throne. As beneficiaries of this new covenant, our lives must be relentlessly centered on Jesus, our perfect Mediator. Approaching God's throne with boldness, we receive the mercy and grace we desperately need amidst our frailties. Clinging to the hope we profess, without wavering, our faithful obedience and perseverance become a blazing testimony. Our transformed lives, overflowing with love and good deeds, model the explosive power of Christ's superior priesthood sacrifice. No ritual could produce such change - only the omnipotent work of our sinless High Priest! (Ephesians 2:18, Hebrews 4:14-16, 10:23-24, 1 John 2:1-2).

Food for thought: How can you tangibly demonstrate your confidence in Jesus as your perfect High Priest? What spiritual disciplines can you implement to help you faithfully persevere and encourage others?

  1. Experience the Eternal Security of Jesus' Unchanging Priesthood (vv. 20-25): Central to the magnificent superiority of Christ's eternal priesthood is its unchanging, endless nature (vv. 20-25). Unlike the temporary, mortal Levitical priests whose ministries inevitably terminated at death, Jesus' priesthood eternally endures because He Himself lives forever! This profound, earth-shattering reality alters everything. We can entrust our very lives, our eternal destinies, to Jesus with reckless abandon. The assurance? Our Great High Priest will never, ever cease interceding for us before the Father's throne. His ability to save is not fleeting, but unwavering and unending through every season we traverse. No matter our circumstances, we can approach Him confidently, knowing this eternal Truth will never abandon nor forsake us, but plead our case continually. When doubts and fears haunt our minds, we can eternally cling to this ironclad promise - Jesus always lives to make intercession for us! This glorious reality obliterates the shackles of anxiety over our eternal security. Christ's indestructible, unending life ensures our salvation can never be broken or revoked. We can face any trial, any hardship, with emboldened faith, because the unchanging Christ inevitably preserves us until that day we see His radiant face. Christ's eternal priesthood is the anchor stabilizing our storm-tossed souls, providing unshakable hope. While shifting circumstances continually threaten our mooring, Jesus' endless intercession secures us through every crashing wave of life's tempests. The same unchanging Savior binds us to unending grace (Romans 8:34-39, Hebrews 6:19-20, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Jude 1:24-25).

Food for thought: What anxieties or fears are you still struggling with, and how does Christ's eternal intercession address them? How can you more intentionally anchor your hope in His unchanging priesthood?

  1. Draw Near to God Through Christ's Perfect Sacrifice (vv. 26-28): In order to effectively atone for sin, the high priest had to be holy, blameless, and unstained. No ordinary human could meet this requirement, hence the endless cycle of imperfect sacrifices. But Jesus, the perfect High Priest, met this standard by being completely sinless and righteous. By sacrificing Himself once for all, He achieved what no other priest could - complete purification for sins. This perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice opens the way for us to confidently draw near to God's presence without fear of condemnation. Christ's work cleanses our consciences, enabling us to approach the Father with bold assurance. Our response should be to diligently pursue holiness, continually coming before God's throne to receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. Through faith in Christ's sacrifice, we can experience true heart-purity, freed from an evil conscience. This newfound intimacy with God compels us to love one another fervently, our lives overflowing with good works that testify to Christ's transformative power within us. When we stumble, we need not despair, but can swiftly repent and receive cleansing, abiding in unblemished union with our loving Father (Hebrews 10:19-22, 1 John 1:7-9, 1 Peter 1:22, James 4:8).

Food for thought:  What impurities or sins are you still clinging to that hinder your intimacy with God? How can you more diligently pursue the heart-holiness that Christ's sacrifice makes possible? The message of these verses is clear: embrace the superior priesthood of Jesus Christ! We have been ushered into a new and glorious covenant, one providing direct access to the Father through our perfect High Priest. As this profound truth is granted to us, we cannot help but be compelled to respond with steadfast faith and a passionate pursuit of holiness. Gone are the days of clinging to rituals that could never make us perfect. Now, we can confidently approach God's throne, emboldened by the truth that Christ is eternally interceding for us. His sacrifice, once for all time, has achieved the unachievable - complete purification of our beings before God. This takes away every fear, empowering us to abide in intimate fellowship with our Heavenly Father. Lives transformed by such grace cannot help but overflow with fervent love and deeds that testify to the power of Christ's sacrifice. When we stumble, we need not wallow in despair but can swiftly repent and receive cleansing through our Advocate. Our unwavering faithfulness becomes a light, spurring others toward perseverance as we model the steadfast hope we profess in our superior High Priest. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I come before Your throne and pray - open my eyes to fully grasp the enormity of Christ's eternal priesthood. Grant me the faith to live in constant assurance of His complete atonement. May I boldly approach You to receive mercy and find grace, diligently pursuing heart holiness. I desperately need the purifying power of Jesus' sacrifice to cleanse me of all unrighteousness, that I might abide in deepest intimacy with You. I long for my life to be an overflowing testament to the new covenant's transformative power. Use me to spur others on through unwavering faithfulness in the face of trials. Where I stumble, draw me to swift repentance and the certainty of Your cleansing embrace through my perfect High Priest. I am overwhelmed by such amazing grace; may my every breath be filled with wholehearted devotion to You. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Hebrews 7:25 – “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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