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Great High Priest (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
October 24, 2020 4:00 am

Great High Priest (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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October 24, 2020 4:00 am

The title “Great High Priest” resonated with first-century believers. Today, though, this description of Jesus can leave us scratching our heads. On Truth For Life, Alistair Begg explains how Jesus’ fulfillment of this role gives us privileged access to God.


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The book of Hebrews refers to Jesus as a great high priest that the title that would have resonated with first century believers, but in our culture. This reference can leave us scratching our heads while today on Truth for Life.

Alistair Begg explains why this spiritual role for Jesus is foundational to our faith. Hebrews chapter 10. Find verse one. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming. Not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, with a not have stopped being offered for the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins, but those sacrifices at an annual reminder of sins because it is impossible for the blood of booze and goats to take away sins.

Therefore when Christ came into the world, he said, sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but the body you prepared for me with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said here Diane. It is written about me in the scroll. I have come to do your will of God. First, he said, sacrifices and offerings burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire nor will you pleased with them. Although the law required them to be made. Then he said, here I am, I have come to do your will. He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin, but when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First, he says this is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.

Then he acts their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.

And where these have been forgiven.

There is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Amen. We thank God for his word. What we come this evening to the title of Christ as great high priest. The work of the profit is essentially that of representing God to man. Now as we consider him as priest.

He comes as priest to deal with our alienation from God and the work of the priest is essentially the reverse work. Rather, it is the representative of the people to God and those who are the initial readers of this letter were well familiar with all of the aspects to which the writer eludes. It is perhaps the most Old Testament of all of the New Testament writings, and indeed it helps us better perhaps than any other New Testament book to get a grasp of all that is contained for us in the unfolding story of redemption as it is provided throughout the Old Testament record. Now let us try and think if we can as if we were first century Hebrew believers because were not. But the Bible was written to historic situations to people who lived in specific periods of time and some of Isaiah's ministers. Spend a little while encouraging one another today and we had occasion at least a couple of S to reflect on the ministry of Dick Lucas and he more than anyone else has reminded myself and others with me of the importance of making sure that we understand the context to which the Scriptures where originally written before we make application of those same scriptures to the context in which we are preaching them.

So for example if we are living in Cleveland and we are studying first Corinthians. It is important that we understand where Corinth is and who the Corinthians, where and what they were doing and why it was that the spirit of God prompted Paul to write this epistle to these four century Corinthian believers, and having then done that we might be able to make application of a letter written to the first century, Corinth 224 century Cleveland, but if we don't do that we can use the Bible as a trampoline, allowing us to bounce up and down and make all kinds of applications in all kinds of ways and indeed our series is an endeavor to help us to remember that it is as we Herod in this song all about the Lord Jesus Christ and many a poop it has on it. The little phrase sir, we would see Jesus and to many of us have a fallen foul of the notion of thinking that it is all about us when the Bible is taught so we immediately look for ourselves. I don't know if they have these books over here. Where's Waldo.

But if you've seen those books. Where's Waldo taken keep your weight long into the night trying to find that funny little character with a strange at because he's so difficult to find an old purpose of the book every single page of the book is the same thing all the time.

Where is Waldo and if were not careful congregations come to the preaching of the Bible, asking where is Waldo Waldo being themselves and are never satisfied and content until age, it becomes apparent that this is actually very important and it is about them will know actually what we with a question. Were supposed to be asking when somebody preaches a sermon is where's Jesus where is Jesus.

And so here we find ourselves trying to understand what it was to be a first century Hebrew Christian. I think about it until the point where they came to understand the work of Christ on their behalf.

All of their life's had been wrapped up with the Old Testament sacrificial system all of their lives all of their faith was directly tied to the temple and to its precincts. It was to that place that they would routinely go in the honoring of time held traditions in the exercise of the commandments that they had revered and it was in that community that they enjoyed the encouragement of one another but now in Christ, their life's had been turned upside down. Now they were no longer in the temple precincts. Now they where if you like disenfranchised in some senses disinherited from their history they where if you like excommunicated from the realm that had previously represented security and stability to the and if you think about that for a little moment you will realize how unsettling and how devastating and how challenging it must've been for children to say to their dad that.

Why are we not going to the temple as we used to go. Do you not like those people anymore. Mom why is our life. So revolutionize the father would have to say well we have found in Jesus the one who is the fulfillment of all that we have previously enjoyed in our religious exercises and if that would've seemed a bit of a mouthful to the average 10-year-old.

The father would have been pressed to say I know Levi that you think somehow or another we no longer have a guard or we no longer have a priesthood but I want to assure you Levi we have in the Lord Jesus our great high priest, and in one sentence. The entire book of Hebrews is written to unpack. What that means and to assure these four century Hebrew Christians that while in one sense externally and routinely. Everything is been turned upside down. If they will hold firmly to the faith.

They confess they may come boldly to a throne of grace, and they may rest securely in the once and for all provision that has been made in the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Note if we keep that in mind, then the passages in Hebrews will begin to make far more sense for us. So for example when we read the beginning of chapter 2 you find these words. The writer says to his readers. We must pay more careful attention. He says therefore to what we have parent why so that we do not drift away the temptation for these folks absent all of the externals that had been so important to them would if they were not careful, be to run back to what was familiar and what represented security and so the writer is encouraging them in this way, he says to them you know we are not those who shrink back and are destroyed but we are those who continue and are saved or inverse of 12 of chapter 3 C2 it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God will of course we've had sermons on that plenty heavenly and can we make application of that directly to ourselves. Yes, it is an exhortation that needs to be heated in every generation. But when we understand what the writer was addressing when he wrote in this way, then it actually comes to life, but encourage one another daily, as long as it's called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ. If we hold confidently firmly till the end. The confidence we had at the first today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, tremendous pressure on them to capitulates to all that was going on around them so he writes to assure the we have a great high priest. Now I have no seeds for you this evening. I just have five observations so maybe that's 50's, but here we go concerning the priesthood of Christ, and we could be here for a month of Sundays on this without any difficulty at all and so there is something relatively arbitrary about the way in which I direct our thoughts now, but first of all to notice that this high priest is both merciful and faithful and importing from Hebrews chapter 2. Since the children have flesh and blood.

This is verse 14 he that is Jesus shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death by their fear of death. You know, I think that fear of death is the great fear known to man. I'm not a psychiatrist not a psychologist but I have a sneaking suspicion to a large extent all of human fear is somehow or another, wrapped up in this great fear. The fear of death and there is only one who has an answer to that guy Lem and it is this one that the writer says has come to set people free.

He helps surely not angels, but the descendents of Abraham, and for this reason for this purpose. In order to accomplish this and he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might be coming here you have it on merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted and Christ's expedience of temptation was temptation to the nth degree. No one ever has endured temptation, the way Jesus did for all of the rest of us have finally succumbed. No matter how well we have done, but Christ has been taken. If you like him temptation to the very zenith of what it might mean, and yet without sin and therefore when we find ourselves confronted by sin confronted by temptation chase down and had a buy things. Each of us in our own lives drawing away and enticed by our own evil desires. As James says we have confidence in this but the great high priest, Jesus is both merciful and he is faithful or if you like to change the terminology.

He is both approachable, wonderfully approachable and phenomenally reliable. We can always go to is not like a bad schoolteacher is like the best of our school teachers who said I'm sure she saw me coming all here comes a bag again, but by the time I reached her she said and how can I help you whether she stands out because the rest had no such sympathy for me at all ages chase me for my life, but it is a wonderful thing you see these dear the first century Hebrew Christians no longer going through the same motions no longer going through the same rituals and saying to themselves and being buffeted by all kinds of thoughts, what are we to do now hear this book comes to the many says you know you have in the Lord Jesus Christ.

One who is phenomenally approachable and utterly reliable because he has become like his brothers in every way, in order that he might fulfill this purpose under God. I remember there's an old Johnny Cash song it where it we went along these lines, it was called. I talked to Jesus every day, and I remember a couple of lines from it is that I I talked to Jesus every day, and he's interested in every word I say and no secretary ever tells me he's been called away. I talked to Jesus every day, and even when our best friends are unreliable even when Satan accuses us and even when our own hearts condemn us Christ as our great high priest is both faithful and merciful. Secondly, Christ is our great high priest has done all that is necessary in relation to God.

Theologians talk about both the active and passive obedience of Christ in his active obedience he has fulfilled all righteousness. And in his passive obedience. He then bore the penalty that our lawbreaking deserves. God demanded that the law would be kept Christ kept God demanded that a penalty would be paid for the sins of the lawbreakers. Christ paid that penalty and in doing so, he bore that which was due to us.

Verse 26 of chapter 9. Nor did he.

That is, Jesus entered heaven to offer himself again and again the way the high priest enters the most holy place every year with blood that is not his own reference to the day of atonement. It is as we have it in in Leviticus 16 and out from there the writer since Christ would've had to suffer many times since the creation of the world but now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus has done everything that is necessary in relationship to God. Thirdly, he has done everything that is necessary in relationship to sin but it is important for us to pointed out because the writer pointed out and you will notice that there in the 12 C contrasts what is been going on with the day after day priestly function, performing religious duties again and again he offers the same sacrifices.

If you ever take a taxi from a large airport at least I think it invariably throughout the world.

You will if you ever are only going a short distance to your hotel. Let's say less than 2 miles you will feel absolutely horrible. If you have any sense of empathy and you are tall for the taxi driver. If you don't understand it at first you will understand, as he finally pulls away and as he pulls away, you will realize that he had come to the front of the line of and interminably long line of taxis that have been sitting there since the early hours of the morning hoping and desperately praying that whenever they are number comes up. The person who is getting on board in Heathrow wants to go to Aberdeen only to discover that his fair wants to go a mile and 1/2 up the road to the travel launch and then the poor soul must make his way back to the end of that line, I must confess I always pay substantially more.

Even as a Scotsman, I cannot bear the thought of that poor soul, going back to the end to the end of that thing. And that's the sort of process again and again and round and round. That's the picture here, not of the taxi driver but of the priestly function. They went in to perform the religious duties having come the number has come up there at the front of the line. It's their turn they do it and then immediately they going to take her place at the end of the line. They never sit because their work is never finished again and again. The process continues round and round they go. If I was able to make atonement for sin. All of that would have dealt with it and we would be finished and donethe writer, but since it never could. Since it could picture what Christ was to perform but could not perform what Christ procure, it must be that this great high priest would make sacrifice for sin in the giving of himself and the wonder of what is happened there in that is just unquantifiable and a source of great encouragement to those of us who know ourselves to have sinful hearts and to reflect sometimes on our lives before Christ that were full of all kinds of badness and nonsense and disreputable stuff you're listening to the weekend edition of Truth for Life message from Alistair Begg titled great high priest, recognizing Jesus as our great high priest kindles our respect and gratitude. Once we understand his role in providing access to God the father, we are much more likely to respond with humility and reference the Puritans through their writings and their behavior became a model for how to treat God with respect we've come across a fascinating new documentary that tells their story. It's called Puritan all of life, to the glory of God. To find out how to request your copy of this engaging documentary on the Puritans go online to Truth for or look for the set of DVDs called Puritan all of life, to the glory of God once again the information is found in Truth for or within the Truth for Life mobile app did you ever stop to think that Jesus prays for you by name as our great high priest, Jesus intercedes on our behalf. Next weekend will learn more about this priestly activity when our study called to know Christ continues, I'm Bob Lapine, the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life. Learning is for Living

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