Devotionals from Hebrews
A Different kind of Priest
By Henry Jaegers
So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5: 5-10)
As I have thought upon these great words before us, concerning Jesus our high priest, there is something significantly different from any other priest who ever served God in that capacity. It is true, like in the case of Aaron, being called by God to be a high priest among the people was a great responsibility and a great honor as well. But something profoundly different struck my mind as I thought on these words. Jesus was not only called by God to be a priest, but he was also appointed by God to be the “sacrificial lamb.”
It is a solemn thought when we consider what he must pass through in order to meet the divine requirements prescribed by God to be all that God intended him to be and to do. The first part of these verses tells us that he did not glorify himself to become a high priest. He had no choice and yet in another sense he did. Consider the preparation that was necessary for him to fulfill the purposes of God in order that we might enjoy the benefits of salvation.
The first stage of his earthly ministry was the temptation in the wilderness. The temptation of Jesus is another message by itself, but as I tried to project myself into similar situations that I might face, I am aware of the example he set before us as we face any type of temptation. The difference between Jesus and me, as he endured the pressure of temptation to the point that you and I will never know. He faced it perfectly without ever yielding one time to the pressure. It humbles me to think of my own failure when it comes time to face temptation. But we are told elsewhere in Hebrews because of his suffering and overcoming temptation he is able to help us to do the same. He is able to "save to the uttermost those who come to God by him".
But then that solemn day came at Gethsemane. We are not told in the Gospels everything that this verse tells us about him. We are told that he was alone (although his disciples were not far away), along with his thoughts and his knowledge of what lay before him. Even Jesus as the perfect son of God, we are told his sweat was as great drops of blood and we are told he cried out to God with strong crying to him who could save him from death, perhaps in his humanity wishing that there was another way. He knew his father could deliver him from death but willingly surrendered himself to what lay before him being motivated by the great love for us, willingly made this transaction.
Humanly speaking, no man would do as he did. Who would allow himself to be both priest and sacrifice in order to pay for the sins of people who didn't care.
The greatness of Jesus is attached to the great humiliation he suffered and we are told "that God has given him a name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow both in heaven and earth for God has qualified and exalted him to be so.
As we close this portion, may God help us to understand the full who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Now, that’s something to think about!