In Hebrews 8:1, the writer there says, “Now this is the main point of the things that we are saying…” This is a strangely convenient sentence when dealing with what the main subject matter of the book of Hebrews is that you do not often get in the books of the New Testament. He then proceeds to tell us what that main point is. He continues, saying, “…we have such a High Priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” We also do not have to guess who this High Priest is. He says again in Hebrews 6:20, “where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Now since the Hebrew writer places so much emphasis on the fact that we have Jesus as being our High Priest, we would do good to do the same and examine what all that fact entails. Join me in very briefly examining Jesus and His role as High Priest
Jesus, our High Priest, was sinless. This is clearly laid out once again in Hebrews 4:15, where it states, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” This fact separates Jesus from any high priest that existed under the Levitical system. Moses had to write about what exactly the priests had to do if they sin, (Lev. 4:3-12) because it was understood that they would sin, because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) Jesus also serves as an example for us in this matter. Because He was able to live a life without sin, though we cannot achieve the same, we too do not have to relegate ourselves to sin.
Jesus, our High Priest, is also superior. Throughout the pages of the New Testament, we see Jesus as being superior to all of the heroes of the Old Testament. We find Him greater than Abraham, (Jn. 8:53-58) Moses, (Heb. 3:3) David, (Matt. 24:45) Solomon, (Matt. 12:42) Jonah, (Matt. 12:41) and more. He is also superior to every high priest of the Levitical system. We already saw that He is superior in the fact that He, unlike them remained sinless. He is also superior in relation to time. He is not a priest from the tribe of Levi, (Heb. 7:14) but a priest “according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psa.110:4; Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:11,15,17,21) Melchizedek is one who is described to be “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God.” (Heb. 7:3) This is not to suggest that Melchizedek is an eternal being, but rather his genealogy is not recorded in Scripture. But Jesus is like Him in the fact that He, though is given a genealogy, (Matt. 1:17; Lk. 3:23-38) He is not bound to that genealogy, as He is an eternal being, (Mic. 5:2; Jn. 8:58) making Him superior to any mortal high priest. (Heb. 7:11)
Finally, Jesus, our High Priest is the Savior. The primary duty of the high priest was “to offer both gifts and sacrifices.” (Heb. 8:3) The priests under the Levitical system could only offer an animal sacrifice on behalf of the people. (Lev. 4:13-35) However, such sacrifices “could not take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4) Contrary to that, we find Jesus being both Priest and sacrifice. (Heb. 9:26) His sacrifice being that which could atone for sins. (1 Jn. 1:7) Let us always be thankful and mindful of Jesus our High Priest who was sinless, is superior, and is our Savior.