Why Do We Need a True and Better Priest?

In my last post, I discussed why Jesus is the true and better Priest. While I believe it’s fairly obvious that He is better than all the priests who came before, someone may wonder why that should matter to them? In other words, why do we need a true and better priest?

We need a true and better Priest because we are sinners who can’t offer a perfect sacrifice.

We aren’t perfect and we can never be perfect. Picture me holding a collectors edition glass baseball bat. The person who made it did an excellent job. It is perfect. There are no chips, no flaws. It’s an absolutely perfect bat. Now, imagine a friend comes over to my house and we decide to go hit baseballs in the field by my house. Of course, this would never happen, but instead of bringing out a regular baseball bat, I bring the glass bat instead. I line up, they pitch me a ball, I connect, and the bat just shatters.

I’m sure I would be all cut up, but after I got back from the hospital, do you think I could ever put that bat back together again so that it was perfect and flawless like it was before I used it for batting practice? No, there is no way. Even if by some miracle I could find all the pieces, there is no way I could ever put it back together again so that it was perfect and flawless.

In the same way, we can never put ourselves back together again so that we are perfect. There is nothing we can do to erase the flaws and sin in our lives. The impossibility of making ourselves perfect is even more apparent when you realize that we weren’t born perfect. From our birth, we are deeply flawed individuals; sinners whose lives begin like that shattered bat. So we need a true and better Priest who offers the perfect sacrifice for us because we aren’t perfect. Instead, we are sinners who sit under God’s wrath; wrath that will be poured out on us when we die.

There is hope

If we admit that we are deeply flawed individuals who have sinned against God. If we admit that we deserve God’s wrath. If we turn from our self-centered, self-righteous, I can do whatever I want and live however I want, thinking and living, and turn to God to live according to how He would have us to live. And if we believe that Jesus is the true and better High Priest, who has given Himself as a sacrifice on our behalf, we can be saved from God’s wrath and experience eternal blessing, joy, and life with God in His kingdom forever and ever.

There is hope in Jesus. He is our Savior, our Mediator, our High Priest who offered Himself in our place, completely satisfying the wrath of God against us. And He alone can eternally repair our relationship with the Father.

If you turn to Jesus, admitting and professing those things, you can truly experience the greatest gift all — salvation.

So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to admit that Jesus is the true and better Priest who offered a once and for all sacrifice for your sins so that you might experience His salvation.

If you have turned to Jesus, see Him for what He is — the greatest gift that we could ever unwrap. Instead of attempting to find your joy in the things this world has to offer, realize that true joy and true satisfaction can only be found in the True and Better Priest — Jesus Christ.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you see your need for Jesus?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon Jesus as Priest

Why is Jesus the True and Better Priest?

There have been and are still today those who function in the capacity of Priest. But for all those who have had and still claim to hold that role, Jesus is better. He is the true and better priest. But why? Why is Jesus the true and better priest?

 Why is Jesus the True and Better Priest?

(1) Jesus is Perfect

In my last post, when we talked about the High Priests and the Day of Atonement, we learned that they not only had to offer a sacrifice for the people but they also had to offer a sacrifice for themselves. In fact, before they even entered the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, they had to go through a time of purification. But this was not true of Jesus. Look at what Hebrews 4:14-15 says about Him,

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:14–15)

So not only is Jesus our High Priest who is able to sympathize with us, but we also learn that He is without sin. In other words, He is perfect, which is exactly what the writer of Hebrews goes on to say in chapter 7 verses 26 and 27.

“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” (Heb 7:26–27)

So Jesus is the true and better High Priest because He is perfect and doesn’t need a sacrifice offered on His behalf.

But Jesus’ perfection is not the only thing that makes Him the true and better High priest. In Hebrews 6:20, we learn second that Jesus is the true and better High Priest because:

(2) Jesus is an Eternal High Priest

He doesn’t die. Instead, He lives on as our Mediator forever. No earthly high priest is able to live forever. They eventually died and could no longer mediate for the people, but not Jesus. Jesus lives on forever as our Mediator. He doesn’t ever need to be replaced.He is an eternal High Priest.

(3) Jesus Has Unhindered Access to the Father

In Hebrews 8:1 we read:

“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,” (Heb 8:1)

Whereas the High Priest in the Old Testament could only enter the presence of the Lord once a year for a limited time, Jesus is forever seated at the Father’s side, which gives Him unhindered access to mediate on our behalf.

While those are all convincing reasons for why Jesus is the true and better High Priest, we aren’t done yet. Next, we learn that Jesus is the true and better High Priest because:

(4) He Made a Once and for All Sacrifice for Our Sins

I am sure that your family, like mine, put up a Christmas tree this last year. If you put up a real Christmas tree, the tree you put up wasn’t the same one from last year. Despite our best efforts to keep them alive during the Christmas season, they eventually die and have to be thrown out. So every year, if we want a real Christmas tree, we have to buy and bring home a new one. But that tree, no matter how perfect we think it is, will die and have to be replaced next year as well.

You see, real Christmas trees only last so long. That’s exactly why my family puts up a fake Christmas tree. While it doesn’t look or smell as good as a real tree, and it’s something we have to store, haul out, and untangle every year, it is one less thing we have to spend money on at Christmas. You see, unlike their real counterparts, fake trees don’t die, they don’t have to be replaced every year. If you take good care of them, they’ll last forever. The tree we are using now is a hand-me-down. We got it from Jen’s parents. It has been abused a bit over the years, but it still works, for the most part.

Not to be sacrilegious or anything, but like a fake Christmas tree, the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice lasts forever. In Hebrews 9:24-26 he says,

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb 9:24–26)

You see, Jesus offers a once and for all sacrifice that lasts forever. It doesn’t have to be repeated year in and year out like the sacrifice of the Old Testament High Priests’.

The sacrifice Jesus offered wasn’t some special bull or goat that only He could find. No, Jesus lastly is the true and better High Priest because:

(5) Jesus Offers Himself as a Sacrifice on Our Behalf

Jesus goes to the cross and it’s His blood that’s spilled instead of the blood of a bull or goat. Jesus was able to offer Himself as a sacrifice because He is perfect. He never sinned. He never rebelled against God. He was never God’s enemy who deserved God’s wrath. His relationship with the Father was never compromised or severed. He never needed a sacrifice offered on His behalf like the High Priests of old. So He was able to become the sacrifice for our sins.

It’s for all the above reasons, then, that Jesus is considered the true and better Priest.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you believe Jesus is the only Priest, the only Mediator, we need?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon Jesus as Priest