Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Jesus Prayer Part 6 - Christ as The Great High Priest

1sam 2:10 (KJV)
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Acts 17:3
Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Why do we call Jesus "Christ"? What does it mean to be the Christ? The word "Christ" means "anointed". In the Old Testament, there are only a handfull of people that are called "anointed". The first to be found is Aaron and his sons who were anointed to serve as high priest in the Tabernacle and then the Temple. Next, we find kings Saul and then David who were anointed to rule over God's people. Finally, a reference is made to Cyrus, the king of Persia who ended the captivity by allowing the Jews to return home and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, as being the Lord's anointed. Instead of one really long post covering how Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of these three types, I will break it down into sections covering each.

The anointed high priest in the Old Testament was Aaron. He was anointed by first being washed in water and then anointed in oil. His purpose as high priest was to serve in the Tabernacle at the altars (one for offering incense and one for burnt offerings).

Just as the Lord ordered Aaron to be washed and anointed before serving as the high priest, Jesus also began his earthly ministry in the same way. He went John the Baptist to be baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness, and after he had come up out of the water, the Holy Spirit was seen descending on Him from above. This is such an important mark the beginning of His ministry, that the Gospel of Mark begins with this event and moves forward from there, and mentions nothing of what Jesus said or did before then.

After having been washed and anointed, Aaron was then dedicated to serving in the Tabernacle and offering the sacrafices on behalf of the people. The New Testament in general proclaims that Jesus offered Himself as the one offering on behalf of all the people as the Great High Priest, but nowhere is this so firmly stated as it is in the book of Hebrews. If I could, I would just copy and paste the entire book here because I can come nowhere close to getting the point across as Hebrews does, but that would make for too long of a post, so I do suggest reading it. We are taught how it behoved the eternal Word of God to become made like unto the brethren where in His Person He fully joined the human and divine natures. He did this both to be a merciful and faithful high priest and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Being tempted as we are in all ways without sinning, he knows the pain and suffering that we endure on account of our sin and the sins of others. Being without sin Himself, He is holy, undefiled, and doesn't have to offer daily sacrifices for Himself. This makes Him able to offer up Himself once as the Sacrifice without spot or blemish, and this one single offering of Himself is able to be made for all of mankind. The offering that was made was the offering up of Himself on the cross in order to endure our death so that we could be raised up in His resurrection and receive His eternal life.

Seeing then that we have such a Great High Priest, let us hold fast our profession, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross in order to reconcile us to Himself.

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