Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#Christ Is A Better Priest

Theme: Remain Confident in Christ

A) Reasons
2) Because He is a better Priest (4:14 - 10:39)

a) He is a heavenly priest (14). Earthly priests minister on earth, but Christ ministers in heaven as the Son of God. Following chapters explain this facet of Christ's priesthood.

b) He is a sympathetic priest (15a). Since Christ was tested in all areas we are (with the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and boastful pride of life (Mt. 4; cf. 1 John 2:16), He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.

c) He is a sinless priest (15b). It has been observed that only a person who endures the complete scope of testing without sin knows the full extent of its power. Since Christ bore the full duration of testing without sinning, He understands more than anyone else, the temptation we face. Being sinless also qualified Christ to offer Himself as our substitute offering for sin--something discussed in more detail later. 

d) He is an appointed priest (5:1-6). Christ was appointed by God Himself, and designated a priest forever "according to the order of Melchizedek). Melchizedek was the king priest of Salem in Genesis 14:17-24). How He typifies the nature of Christ's priesthood is explained in following chapters of Hebrews.

e) He is a perfect priest (7-9). Christ gained experiential knowledge of the sufferings we face when He Himself suffered.  This included death and separation from God, and makes Him complete as the source of our eternal salvation.

f) He is an eternal priest (10).  Earthly priests die, but Christ is an eternal priest, as typified by Melchizedek, whose beginning or ending genealogies are unknown. 

Maturity requires a deeper knowledge of Christ. In this case, the readers needed to understand Christ's superiority as a priest, so they would remain confident in Him. With practice, a mature believer is able to use this wisdom to discern between good and evil.

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