What is there that could be written about Jesus that has not been written about Him? As we sing, “He is my everything!” When it comes to our atonement, He is our High Priest, our Sacrificial Lamb, and, even the Altar on which sacrifices are made.
Jesus, my High Priest, makes intercession to God for me (Hebrews 7:25).
A priest is on who is duly authorized to minister in sacred things, particularly to offer sacrifices at the altar, and who acts as mediator between men and God (Exodus 28:29) (ISB). More specifically, a priest’s job consisted in offering gifts and sacrifices (Hebrews 5:1), making atonement (Leviticus 16:1-34), inquiring of God (1 Samuel 23:9-12), leading in the selection and ordaining of religious and civil leaders (Numbers 8:11-21; 1 Kings 1:34), blessing the people (Numbers 6:22-27), and teaching the law (Nehemiah 8:1-8).
Jesus offered a sacrifice to God, made atonement for sinners, revealed God to men (John 14:7), selected the apostles who still serve as leaders in His church (Ephesians 2:20), blessed mankind with an opportunity of salvation (Matthew. 11:28-30), and taught men the Law of God (John 6:44-45).
There were two priesthoods in the Old Testament: Melchisedec’s and Aaron’s. Jesus is a Priest after the order of Melchisedec because He will never be replaced (Hebrews 6:20).
Jesus is a compassionate High Priest. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Because He is “on our side” we can come boldly to God’s throne to find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Just as a priest could marry only a virgin in Israel (Leviticus 2:14), Jesus took a pure virgin unto Himself (the church) (Ephesians 5:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2). A priest could have no physical defects (Leviticus 21:16-23), and Jesus had no spiritual defects (Hebrews 4:15). He is the perfect High Priest.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as my sacrifice.
Jesus was predicted to be a “lamb dumb (silent) before His shearers” (Isaiah 53:7), presented to Israel as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), preached to the world as the sacrificed Lamb (Acts 8:32-35), and will be praised throughout all eternity as the Lamb that was slain and lives again (Revelation 5:6, 13).
Words cannot express the agony that this Lamb suffered during the process of offering Himself to God. A Levitical lamb suffered, but only briefly and only physically. Jesus suffered for twenty-four or more hours. His worst suffering may have been the emotional anguish. He was separated from His Father for the first time (Mark 15:34). He reached the point where He prayed so earnestly that His sweat was a great drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). He was mocked, beaten, slapped, humiliated, nailed, and suffocated (the normal cause for death by crucifixion). His body was pierced with a spear. He took my place as the Lamb to pay the price for my sins (Ephesians 1:7). May we never tire of praising His name for the sacrifice He made for us.
Jesus, the Altar, is where mercy is received (Hebrews 9:5).
The Old Testament ark of the covenant was covered with a mercy seat on which blood was sprinkled by the high priest on the great Day of Atonement. This effected reconciliation between God and His people.
The Old Testament term for “mercy seat” literally means “covering.” Its New Testament counter part is “propitiation” (hilasterion, “to cover guilt,” “to make atonement”). Jesus is said to be set forth as our “propitiation, through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25), that is, He is the covering for man’s sins. The verb form is used twice in the New Testament; in Luke 18:13 where the publican says, “God be merciful to me a sinner” and in Hebrews 2:17 where Jesus is said “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
Just as the high priest once a year took the blood of the sin offering and sprinkled it on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, so Christ as our great High Priest took His own blood to cover our sins.
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!
~ Allen Webster ~