"YOUR HIGH PRIEST"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 3/12/89a.m. Hebrews 5:1-10
PROPOSITION: In the rush for "instant" results and achievements in our lives we must look carefully at Jesus, our High Priest, who, through suffering and obedience, patiently demonstrated a lifetime of compassion for others, of submission to God, and effectivity in His mission.
- WE have all been socialized in a culture that is intoxicated with finding achievement, success, stature, respect.........and finding it in an instant.
- NOBODY has patience any more with the process for achievement, success, stature or respect.
- NOW, I am not an expert on physical fitness, but even I am skeptical about the latest craze of toning up the body with "passive exercise".......where you go get strapped into a machine and it exercises for you.
- HOW about those "Dream Away" pills, where you can eat what you wanted and lose pounds while you sleep? Sound like your kind of diet?
- WE are learning today that it is not even the diet that we need....but correct eating habits every day.
- HEARD a profound statement the other day......."We want to eat wrong, every day of the month...and weigh right at the end of the month."
- I GOT hooked by some ads when I was in High School.......where you could learn while you slept. Bought one of those pillow speakers.......read my history notes onto the tape.....set it to play while I slept....and almost flunked history.
- ANYTHING to avoid having to wrestle with the painful process of becoming what we want to be.
- WE heard at the Men's Ministry breakfast yesterday morning, from Ken Hutcherson, that we say we want to serve the Lord, but few are ready to pay the price.
- WELL, that is human nature. We want the result but not the work to get there.
- THAT is why we need a priest, a High Priest, who is not only our example, but the source of our strength, our perseverence, our hope.
- TURN with me to Hebrews 5:1-10, as we are given a High Priest who leads the way in the suffering, the obedience, the pain....in the process of becoming our perfect High Priest. READ.
ii. COMPASSION FOR OTHERS
- THE first standard that we see Jesus lift up in His High Priestly ministry here is His compassion for others.
- VERSES 1-3, the writer tells us that Jesus was;
* Selected from among men. This was not a role played by an angel who could not understand what we go through here on earth.....our priest came from among one of us.
* Represent man before God. He would act on behalf of man before God's throne. He would carry their interests before God.
* Offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. The blood that he would carry to the mercy seat, in the presence of God, would purchase forgiveness for the sins of the people.
- THIS is the ministry of a Priest who is one of us....a man.....who understands what it is like to be human.
- IN fact, verse 2 says that His role is not only towards God on our behalf, but that HE is able to deal gently with us......because He Himself was subject to the weaknesses and frailties of human existence.
- NOW, look, here is the object of verses 1-3......those who are ignorant and those who are going astray.
- THE ignorant are those who do not know the way of Life.
- THOSE going astray are those who know the way of Life, but are drifting away from its Source.
- NOTICE that the outright rebellious and hard hearted are not included in His gentle dealing.
- AND because Jesus is Man.....tempted in every way like we are......He deals gently, and with compassion, with those who are ignorant or going astray.
- AND that is a full time job.
- THE Greek text, for "deals gently" is very important. It carries two levels of meaning;
* First, it means that there is no lack of feeling for what we are going through, and the limitations of our humanity.
* But, the second aspect of this phrase, is that He does not get unduly disturbed when He sees us going astray. That is where His patience steps in.
- HE does not expect perfection out of us all the time. He knows the weaknesses of human flesh. He is patient, gentle, loving, always looking to see Himself fully formed in us....but willing to wait patiently, and work with us while it happens.
- IT is a process He is working in us. He doesn't expect it to be overnight....nor can His work in us be done overnight. But He is committed to deal gently in the process.
- AREN'T you glad He deals gently with you?
- DON'T you think, then, that we also ought to walk in His example, and deal gently with those in our lives who are ignorant or going astray?
iii. SUBMISSIon TO GOD
- SO, the first standard of Jesus' priestly ministry, lifted up, is His compassion for us.
- THE next standard that I see is found in verses 4-6.
- IT is His complete submission to the Father.
"No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.' And he says in another place, 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'" (Hebrews 5:4-6)
- HERE is the Son of God. Equal with God. He has all the power and authority of the Godhead. He was present and active in creation. We are His workmanship.....His creation.
- THERE are no limits at all to what Jesus can do.
- BUT these verses teach us that Jesus did not grasp His priestly role on His own accord.
- THIS is submission!
* He was appointed by God.......He was not trying to promote Himself or His own ministry.
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Phil. 2:6-7)
* He was completely dependant of God....He did nothing during His earthly ministry that He did not hear from or see the Father do.
- IT was the Father who appointed Jesus to His priestly ministry....and He was fully submitted to that......even to the point of His death and seperation from the Father on the cross.
- SO, as we watch our great High Priest, we learn submission to God.
- AND it is not a passive resignation....Just look at how active Jesus was when He was on earth. There was nothing passive about Him.
- HIS submission can be seen as He spends His life teaching the truth of His Father, healing the sick, binding the broken hearted, setting prisoners free......and hanging on a cross.
- NOTHING of His own matters. The only thing that matters is obedience to the Father.
- THAT is the submission we see in our High Priest. And it is the lifestyle that we are called to by His grace and power.
- NO quick fixes. No crash spiritual diets. No instant miracles....just a life of submission to the Father.
iv. EFFECTIVE IN MISSION
- NOW, lastly, in verses 7-10, we see our High Priest completely effective in His mission.
"During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:7-10)
- HERE the writer takes us back to the Garden of Gethsemane, and we hear Jesus wrestling in prayer concerning the cross that loomed before Him.
- AND it was not the physical suffering that weighed so on Him. HE had come to the earth to die. That was His mission.
- IT was not even the rejection of the people...although that was a source of great pain to Him.
- NO, it was that moment that He knew was coming, when He who knew no sin would become sin for us, so that He could absorb the judgment of the Father on our behalf.
- IN all eternity, He had never known seperation from the Father. He had never known the displeasure of the Father.
- BUT now He faced that moment when the judgment and seperation from God that we should have paid........was placed upon Him.
* This was incomparable torment, unknown in the history of time.
* This was indescribable darkness and horror.
- AND in agony He cried out to the Father....who had the power to save Him from death.....not to escape the cross.....but for help and Luke 22:43 says that God sent an angel to minister to Him as He set out on His ultimate mission.
- HE was obedient in all things.
- HE was resolute in suffering....unwavering.
- HIS perfection was made complete in suffering.
- AND because of it all, HE became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.
- MISSION accomplished.
- AND now He is our High Priest to ensure that His mission is completed in you and me.
- HE stands before the throne as your guarantee of eternal salvation.
- AND the mission He has for you to accomplish? He wants to complete it in the daily obedience, through the sufffering.....making Himself perfectly formed in you.
- ARE you willing to obey Him....and have Him complete His work in you?
- A Great High Priest who is compassionate with others, who is submissive to God, who is effective in completing His Mission.
- ARE you willing to let Him complete His work in you through all of life's trials and struggles?
- HE stands as your High Priest who can do it in you.
HERE COMES JESUS