Here, the author explains the qualities that are necessary for our chief priest. The author has already mentioned this subject, in Hebrews 5:2. There, he wrote that the chief priest must be able to deal gently with certain kinds of sinners. All people are sinners because we all do bad and wrong things against God. So clearly, it is important that our chief priest can deal with sinners. But there are certain other qualities that our chief priest must have.
In his relationship with God, our chief priest must be holy. And that means holy by Godís standards, not merely by the standards of other people. His nature must be perfect.
In his relationship with other people, our chief priest must be without fault or blame. His character must be perfect.
In his relationship with himself, our chief priest must examine his most secret thoughts and actions. And he must check that they are right, good, and proper. His conscience must be perfect.
That is the chief priest whom we need. But it is hard to find such a chief priest. The chief priests from Aaronís family learnt to deal with sinners because they themselves were sinners. But because of that fact, they did not have the other qualities that are necessary. They could not say that their nature, character or conscience was perfect. They could only carry on their duties, and wait for God to send another kind of chief priest.
And, at the proper time, God did appoint that perfect chief priest. He is Jesus Christ, Godís Son. And he achieved two things that Israelís priest could not do:
(1) In order to do Godís work, a chief priest had to separate himself from sinners. The ceremony to appoint him lasted for 7 days. During that time, the priest had to remain at Godís house (Leviticus 8:33-35).
So when he served at Godís house, the chief priest was separate from sinners. But of course, he could not be completely separate, because he himself was a sinner.
During his life on earth, Jesus lived among sinners. But he did not join in their wrong deeds. He did not do anything that is against Godís law. So he was not a sinner.
And when Jesus entered heaven to do his work as priest, he really was separate from sinners. No sinner can enter that place unless God has forgiven that person.
(2) The chief priest had to enter the most holy place in Godís house. And there he had to carry out his most sacred duties in front of God (Leviticus chapter 16).
But of course, God does not live in a house on this earth. Even the highest heaven cannot contain him (2 Chronicles 6:18). So, to perform this duty properly, the chief priest had to pass through the heavens (Hebrews 4:14).
Israelís priests could not do that! Only Godís Son, whose proper place is at the right side of God the Father, can serve God there (Hebrews 8:1-2).
We need Jesus to be our chief priest. No other chief priest had those qualities. No other chief priest could do those things.
Next part: The most important events (Hebrews 7:27)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.