Monday, April 17, 2017

The Intercession Of Jesus Christ

        "But He, 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)

        Appointed members of the Old Testament Levitical priesthood were finite creations of God. They continually needed to be replaced because of physical death. These men were limited by the confines of age. The High Priests of the Jewish community needed to repeatedly offer the blood of sacrificed lambs and goats to temporarily stay off the wrath of God. The offerings presented by these men were not perfect. The customs of the Law were only a shadow of the greater things to come. They prefigured the arrival of a newer and better Covenant, which is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. In other words, the entire Old Testament sacrificial system pointed to the single perfect atonement sacrifice performed by Jesus Christ at Calvary.

         The Old Testament priests were sinners in need of redemption, just like the rest of us. Jesus is the pure, unblemished High Priest who offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He is the Source of everlasting life (Hebrews 5:9). Because of what He has done for us, we are able to approach God with confidence in His promises (Hebrews 4:14-16). Christ can sympathize with us because He took on human flesh. We have constant access to the grace of God because of His work. We can rest secure in Him, since He is perfectly reliable. He does not have any of the weaknesses that Jewish priests had. His priestly ministry is infinitely superior to that of the Old Testament priesthood.

        Jesus Christ is both the High Priest who offers a sacrifice before God and the Lamb to be slain for our sins. That paradox undoubtedly perplexes the human mind. It is to be received only by the person of faith. The concept of a sacrifice goes hand in hand with one who offers a sacrifice. Only God could do both things at the same time. The justice of God necessitates the punishment of sin (Genesis 18:25; Exodus 20:5). He despises evil (Deuteronomy 13:17; Romans 1:18). He is as a consuming fire to sinners (Deuteronomy 4:24). Christ offered Himself in our place to satisfy the wrath of God. It was foreordained from the foundation of the world that He would make this atonement sacrifice. 

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