The High Priest Who Learned Obedience Through Suffering

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. More specifically today’s passage is found in the eighth chapter of this New Testament epistle. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses  was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (Hebrews 8:1-6).

 

            “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and ever man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:7-13).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find additional language from the author concerning the Lord Jesus as our merciful and faithful high priest. In all reality the role and office of Jesus as the high priest of our profession and confession is one of the most dominant themes found within this epistle as the author seeks to call and draw our attention to the truth surrounding it. If you take the time to read the words which are found in this epistle you will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as not only being the only begotten Son of the Father but as the eternal Son being the merciful and faithful high priest. Upon beginning the epistle written unto the Hebrews you will encounter the means and method whereby the eternal God spoke unto us in these last days—namely, through His eternal and only begotten Son. You cannot read the first chapter of this epistle without encounter the awesome truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as being the eternal, divine and only begotten Son of the Father. It is in the first chapter where you begin to understand that the Lord Jesus was the means and medium whereby the living God spoke unto us in these Last Days—and not only this but also that the Lord Jesus was made far superior to the angels which were in heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredible truth for it brings us face to face with the reality of the Lord Jesus being far greater and far superior to the angels which were in heaven.

 

            As I continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be captivated with the fact that although Jesus is the eternal and only begotten Son who is clothed in glory and the express image of the Father He made Himself—not only of no reputation but also of the seed of Abraham. It was the apostle John who emphatically declared that the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. It was in the first chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John we also encounter the truth that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. What makes this truly powerful when you take the time to think about it is that although the Lord Jesus is indeed the eternal Word and only begotten Son of the Father He allowed Himself to take on flesh and blood. There was indeed a physical and natural body that was prepared for the Lord Jesus who was the only begotten Son of the Father and it was this body which He dwelt in and inhabited for thirty-three and a half years. Of course we know that it was only during the final three and a half years where men truly began to recognize and understand that He was the embodiment of the divine nature and eternal image of the invisible God. While the Lord Jesus dwelt in the form of human flesh He would walk among us as one of us engaging in life with us as we knew it. This is something that is important for us to know for when we think about and consider the Lord Jesus as the great high priest of our profession we must needs recognize that both His divinity and His humanity are at work in this role and function. If and when we speak of the Lord Jesus as our merciful and faithful high priest we must needs recognize that it is in this role and office where both His divinity and glory meet His humanity. Although the Lord Jesus is no longer in an earthly tabernacle made of flesh and blood His humanity has and still continues have a profound impact on His role as the high priest of our profession and faith.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the reality of the Lord Jesus as the high priest of our profession and faith and I can’t help but find myself absolutely captivated with the truth surrounding His humanity and divinity. We know that after Jesus had suffered in the flesh, after He had died upon the cross, after he was raised from death to life on the third day and after He ascended unto the right hand of the Father He once more took up the glory he had with the Father before the world began. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that the Lord Jesus—despite the fact that He is and has been clothed with the glory He had with the Father from the beginning—was in fact fully human and one hundred percent man. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews seeks to convey this particular truth for not only did Jesus’ humanity help Him accomplish that which was needed through suffering and death but it also helps Him accomplish and fulfill that which He is presently accomplishing and fulfilling as the great high priest. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it was and still is the humanity of the Lord Jesus and His choosing to take upon Himself flesh and blood that not only allowed Him to purchase our redemption and atonement but also ever live to make intercession for us. There is a great need for us to pay close attention to this for it helps us to truly understand the role, the function and the office of the Lord Jesus as our merciful and faithful high priest. Having said this I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a great need for us to consider the words which are found in the first chapter of this epistle written unto the Hebrews as well as the second chapter. It is within the first chapter we encounter the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ while in the second chapter we encounter the humanity of the Lord Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels having taken upon Himself flesh and blood. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found within each of these chapters:

 

            “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:1-14).

 

            It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words which are found in this opening chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews for they bring us face to face with the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the first chapter we learn that God has spoken unto us in these Last Days by and through His Son whom He appointed heir of all things and by whom He also made the worlds. In the first chapter of this epistle we encounter the truth surrounding the Son being the brightness of the glory of the eternal God and the express image of his person—something which is not only expressed in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John but also the words which are found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Colossians. We must needs recognize and understand that while it is indeed true that Adam was created in the image and after the likeness of the living God outside the garden and became a living soul when the breath of life was breathed into him the Lord Jesus Christ was the express image of the invisible God. The Lord Jesus was not created nor was He made into the image of God but was in all reality the image and the personification of the eternal Godhead. This was precisely why the Lord Jesus could emphatically declare unto the disciples if they had seen Him they have seen the Father. When we think about and consider the Lord Jesus Christ we must needs recognize and understand that when He came to the earth and took upon Himself the form of man and a physical body of flesh and blood He did so as the image and likeness of the invisible God. That which Adam was created and formed from the dust of the earth to bear within the earth Jesus came bearing being one with the triune Godhead. This is something we must needs understand for when we come to the second chapter of this epistle we are brought face to face with the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth:

 

            “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the owrks of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).

 

            THE CAPTAIN OF THEIR SALVATION! PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERINGS! HE IS NOT ASHAMED TO CALL THEM BRETHREN! THROUGH DEATH HE MIGHT DESTROY HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH! DELIVER THEM WHO THROUGH FEAR OF DEATH WERE ALL THEIR LIFETIME SUBJECT TO BONDAGE! HE TOOK ON HIM THE SEED OF ABRAHAM! IT BEHOVED TO BE MADE LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN! THAT HE MIGHT BE A MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST! Oh please don’t miss the incredible importance of what is found in these verses within the second chapter for this is the first time the Lord Jesus is mentioned as the high priest in Scripture. Up until this point we have known the Lord Jesus as Lord, as the Christ, as the Son and various other titles but this is the first time we encounter the Lord Jesus as the high priest. What’s more is that when we think about the Lord Jesus as being a high priest we must needs recognize that at the very heart of it was the humanity He took upon Himself. In all reality I would dare say that had the Lord Jesus not taken on Himself flesh and blood and suffered in the flesh and tasted death He might not have been able to sit down at the right hand of the Father as the high priest of our profession and faith. We know that after Jesus had made reconciliation and atonement for our sins He sat down at the right hand of Majesty on high and yet what we must needs recognize concerning that is that being seated at the right hand of Majesty on High He is able to sit and serve as our high priest. What’s more is that when you read the words found in this passage you will come face to face with the incredible truth that because the Lord Jesus took upon Himself humanity it was as a direct result of that humanity He is able to serve as high priest in divinity.

 

            The more I think about the words found in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews the more I am brought face to face with the wonderful and beautiful truth that the Lord Jesus deliberately and intentionally laid aside His divinity and the glory He had with the Father from the beginning of time that he might take upon Himself—not only the form of a servant but flesh and blood. The Lord Jesus took upon Himself flesh and blood that He might be a partaker of human nature and the seed of Abraham that He might accomplish what was necessary for salvation, for atonement and reconciliation, however, we must needs recognize that in addition to his taking upon Himself humanity He did so that He might taste and experience suffering in the flesh for us who the author of this epistle refers to as his brethren. Pause for a moment and consider just how incredibly powerful this reality truly is and how not only did the author of this epistle speak of and refer to us as brethren to the Lord Jesus Christ but also that He was made like unto us. It is in the second chapter of this epistle we discover that the Lord Jesus was made like unto His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God and to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. What’s more is that as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that this being made like unto His brethren the Lord Jesus could be a merciful and faithful high priest since He himself has suffered and was tempted. Oh we must needs recognize just how incredibly important this truly is when you take the time to consider it for not only did the Lord Jesus suffer in the flesh but he was also tempted. Not only this but in Scripture we find that He was tempted in all ways as we are and yet was without sin. If you truly want to understand this tremendous truth I would invite you to consider the narrative of the temptation of the Lord Jesus as recorded by the gospel written by Luke as well as the narrative of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane also written by Luke:

 

            “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned form Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answering him, saying,  it is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: For that is delivered unto me; ant to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:1-13).

 

            This previous passage of Scripture described in detail the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness, however, I now invite you to consider the narrative of the Lord Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and the tremendous travail, anguish and suffering He experienced in the flesh before the Father in prayer and supplications:

 

            “And he came out, and went as he wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:39-46).

 

            The words we find in both of these passage of Scripture not only bring us face to face with the tremendous reality concerning the temptation of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness but also the struggle, the anguish and agony He faced in the garden of Gethsemane. It’s interesting when reading the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle the author describes how it behoved the Lord Jesus to be made like unto his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. The reason it behoved the Lord Jesus to be made like unto His brethren was that he might make reconcilation for the sins of the people as a faithful and merciful high priest. At the very heart and center of Jesus’ ministry as the high priest of our profession is not only His ability to succour us who are tempted but also make intercession for us. You cannot read the epistle written unto the Hebrews without coming face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as the high priest and it is in the second chapter we are first introduced to the concept of his being a high priest. With this being said it’s important to recognize that in order for Him to be a merciful and faithful high priest He not only needed to be made like unto His brethren but He also needed to suffer and be tempted in the flesh. Please pay close attention to this particular truth for when we think about and consider the Lord Jesus as our high priest we must recognize that it was necessary for Him to both suffer and be tempted. Not only this but the only way for Him to suffer and be tempted was to take upon Himself the form of human flesh. It is this reality of suffering and being tempted we will see in just a couple chapters within this epistle when the author goes on to further expound the truth regarding the Lord Jesus being our high priest.

 

            If you continue reading the words which are found in this epistle you will come to the third chapter and discover we who are “holy brethren” and those who are partakers of the heavenly calling to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession who is Christ Jesus. What’s more is that immediately after this we are once again confronted with the truth surrounding the faithfulness of Jesus in the role of being high priest in the heavens. It is in the opening verse of the third chapter we discover the Lord Jesus Christ as the Apostle and High Priest of our profession while in the second verse we discover that He was faithful to Him that appointed Him. It is in the opening verses of the third chapter we encounter and come face to face with the reality that Jesus is both the High Priest and Apostle of our Profession and that He was [and still is] faithful in that role. Ever since the Lord Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father in glory He has been faithful and merciful in that role fulfilling that which was ordained and appointed of Him. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth that while it is in fact true the Lord Jesus is our high priest He is and has been faithful in that role—and not only faithful but faithful as a Son who was sent by the Father who was in heaven.

 

            Coming to the fourth chapter of this epistle we find the author further explaining the concept of the Lord Jesus as they go on to describe how we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens. With this being said it’s important to recognize and understand that more often than not when the author of this epistle wrote of the great high priest of our profession they were sure to emphatically declare that this high priest was indeed and was in fact the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in the fourth chapter of this epistle we encounter the fact that this great high priest has passed into the heavens and as a result we are invited and must hold fast to our profession. Additionally it is imperative we recognize that we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are and yet without sin. It was in the second chapter of this epistle we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth that the Lord Jesus did in fact take upon Himself flesh and blood and was made like unto His brethren that He might suffer and be tempted. Now in this passage of Scripture we find that Jesus—as our faithful and merciful high priest—is not such who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. The author of this epistle was quite emphatic in their statement and declaration that the Lord Jesus is such who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities thus suggesting and signifying something which has great value and worth to us. It’s important to recognize that Jesus did indeed suffer in the flesh and did in fact experience hurt, pain, sorrow, anguish and travail. Jesus did in fact suffer in the flesh and experience affliction, persecution and suffering and experienced the pain and pressure of the nails in His hands and feet as well as the crown of thorns upon His brow and the lashes with which they beat Him.

 

            The words we see here in this passage of Scripture are entirely and altogether remarkable and astounding when you take the time to consider them for they bring us to the place where we recognize and understand that we have a faithful and merciful high priest who can indeed be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. I have previously written that the Lord Jesus cannot be touched with the infirmities themselves nor can He be touched with the pain of those infirmities, however, He can in fact be touched with the feeling of those infirmities. Moreover I would dare say that more often than not it is the feeling directly linked and associated with the infirmities that is more real than the infirmities themselves. It was the apostle Paul who declared that he would glory in his infirmities and that if he must needs boast he would boast in those infirmities which he suffered in the flesh. What we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is that there were more often than not feelings which were attached to those infirmities. Despite the fact the apostle Paul would boast and glory in His infirmities I would dare say that there were in fact times when the feelings connected to those infirmities would cause tremendous sorrow, anguish, travail, grief, sadness and the like within his heart and soul. We know the apostle Paul boasted in his infirmities, however, we must not think and/or believe for a single moment that there weren’t times when he wasn’t personally touched with and by the feeling(s) associated with those infirmities.

 

            The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews made it perfectly clear that we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are and yet was without sin. Oh please don’t miss the incredible importance of the words the author wrote here for they didn’t merely declare that the Lord Jesus was tempted like as we are but they went on to use the word “all.” When describing the Lord Jesus being tempted the author of this epistle was sure to use the word “all” to help us understand that Jesus wasn’t merely tempted in “some” of the temptations we are and have been tempted with but was tempted with all the temptations we face within our hearts and lives. With this being said we must recognize and understand that that it is because the Lord Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are and was without sin He is able to succour and uphold us in our own struggles. Oh with this being said I would dare say there is a tremendous significance in the fact the Lord Jesus was not only tempted in all points as we are but also was without sin for it is this concept of being without sin that stands at the very heart and foundation of His being able to uphold, strengthen and support us. We know that there is a throne of grace which we can indeed come boldly unto that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, however, we must needs recognize that seated at the right hand of the One who is seated upon the throne is One who suffered and was tempted—and not only suffered and was tempted but was tempted in all points as we are and yet was without sin. There is a great need for us to recognize and understand that the Lord Jesus was indeed tempted in every way and point we are and yet was without sin. It is because He was without sin He is able to truly be our faithful and merciful high priest and strengthen and support us.

 

            If you continue reading the words which are found in this epistle you will come to the fifth chapter and discover additional language concerning the role and office of the high priest. Beginning with the first verse of the fifth chapter we find the author describing how every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. What’s more is that this high priest is not only able to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins but is also able to have compassion on the ignorant and those who are out of the way. Additionally the high priest is also compassed about with infirmities like as unto their brethren are. Oh once more within this passage we find the high priest as being ordained and appointed by the living God in things pertaining to God such as reconciliation, atonement, forgiveness, salvation, sanctification, justification and the like. The author is absolutely clear within this particular chapter to describe the role and office of the high priest as being those who offer gifts and sacrifices for sins, able to have compassion on the ignorant and to those who are out of the way. What also helps the high priest in this role is the fact that they themselves are compassed with infirmity in the flesh in this life. This is something we must needs understand concerning the Lord Jesus for when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we must needs acknowledge and understand that the Lord Jesus was in fact one who was compassed about with infirmity in the flesh within and upon the earth.

 

            Within the fifth chapter we go on to discover that Christ did not glorify Himself to be made a high priest but the same One who said unto Him “Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee” was also the same One who declared unto Him “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Moreover the author of this epistle describes concerning the Lord Jesus how during 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—He was heard in that He feared. What’s more is that within this passage we find that although the Lord Jesus was indeed a Son he yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Because the Lord Jesus was made perfect he became and would become the author of eternal salvation unto all those that obey Him being called of God a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Oh please don’t miss the words and language which is found in this passage of Scripture for within it we discover that although the Lord Jesus was indeed a Son—and not just a Son but the only begotten Son of the Father—He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. This is something we must needs recognize within our own hearts and lives for when we consider our own lives we must understand that we too learn obedience through the things we suffer. There would be those who would like to think they can learn everything they need to during times of rest, comfort, ease and convenience and yet the truth of the matter is that there are times when the lessons we need to learn can only be taught and experienced through suffering. There are times within our lives when the only way we can learn what we need to is through periods of suffering—including obedience and faithfulness.

 

            The Lord Jesus came to the earth in the form of flesh and blood and was made like unto His brethren for the purpose of suffering in the flesh and although He was a Son He learned obedience through the things he suffered. This is important to understand for when you consider the Old Testament book of Psalms you will find the author of the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter emphatically declaring that before they were afflicted they went astray. After they were afflicted, however, they learned obedience and faithfulness in the sight of the living God. In fact I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the one-hundred and nineteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms beginning to read with and from the sixty-fifth verse:

 

            “Thou hast deal well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: For I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I have kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: But I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psalms 119:65-72).

 

            Please don’t miss the significance and importance of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we encounter some incredibly important truths regarding suffering and affliction. It is in this passage of Scripture the psalmist declares that before they were afflicted they went astray but now they have kept the word of the living God. The psalmist was very candid and forthright in the words found here in this passage of Scripture for the psalmist reveals how they used to go astray—perhaps unto their own way and yet how they were afflicted. The psalmist doesn’t describe what the affliction was—only that they were afflicted. This affliction was indeed and was in fact necessary within their heart and soul for it was through the affliction they learned obedience and faithfulness. The psalmist used to go astray prior to being afflicted within their heart and soul and yet now that they have been afflicted they have kept the word of the living God. Moreover the author would go on to declare that it was good for them that they were afflicted that they might learn the statutes of the living God. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that more often than not there are certain truths we can only learn as a direct result of affliction and suffering. There are certain things which can only be learned by and through suffering and affliction. For the psalmist they went astray within their life and yet the Lord saw fit to introduce affliction in their life that they might keep the word of God and might learn His statutes. Oh how incredibly interesting it is to think about the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote for they would declare how the Lord Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Philippian saints:

 

            “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mine let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:1-18).

 

            There is something about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find within it is a powerful declaration made by the apostle Paul that when Jesus took upon Himself the form of a servant and was found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews declared of the Lord Jesus that He learned obedience through suffering, however, I do not for one minute feel that Jesus needed to taught how to obey the Father. If you read the study the four gospel narratives you will find Jesus always prioritized the will of the Father above everything else in this earth. Jesus’ top priority was the divine will of the Father and He even declared that His meat was to do the will of the Father. Not only this but when He taught His disciples and followers to pray He taught them to ask for the kingdom of God to come and for His will to be done. How does one who prioritized the will of the Father as much and as often as the Lord Jesus did need to be taught obedience? Not only this but how does one like Jesus need to even be taught a lesson concerning obedience to the divine will of the Father? In all reality I would dare say that what the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews was declaring was that Jesus learned obedience through and as a result of suffering. In other words Jesus exercised obedience through His willingness to suffer. It’s not that Jesus learned how to obey through suffering but rather that He exercised and showed obedience through suffering.

 

            With all of this being said we must needs recognize and understand that the obedience of Jesus was indeed centered upon His suffering and death. We must needs acknowledge and understand that Jesus’ obedience in the flesh was indeed centered upon His willingness to suffer—and not only suffer but also experience death and death upon the cross. There is not a doubt in my mind that the obedience Jesus learned while in the flesh was indeed suffering and death upon the cross. While clothed with the glory He had with the Father in heaven there was and wouldn’t have been any display of obedience to the Father. It would be when Jesus came in the flesh, however, that He would learn what obedience was like for obedience is manifested and demonstrated in the flesh. In all reality I would dare say that Jesus could not learn nor even exercise obedience until He took upon Himself the form of human flesh. It would only be in the form of human flesh the Lord Jesus Christ could suffer and die and it would be in that suffering and death He would learn what it was truly like to obey the Father. What’s more is I would dare say it would be through suffering and through death he would learn what obedience as a man was truly like. Up until that point the Lord Jesus would witness the obedience of the fathers and the prophets and now He was in the form of human flesh Himself and learning what it was like to walk in obedience to the will of the Father. Throughout the days of the Old Covenant the eternal Word would watch and observe the obedience of the fathers, of the judges, of the kings, of the prophets and the like and now it was the Lord Jesus Himself who was learning obedience through the things He suffered.

 

            When we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we encounter a truly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how while in the form of human flesh He learned obedience as a man. In fact I would dare say that the only way Jesus could learn obedience was in the form of human flesh versus coming in all His glory. Jesus would take upon Himself the form of human flesh and would clothe Himself with flesh and blood that He might truly understand what obedience was like as a man. With that being said we must also understand and acknowledge that since the Lord Jesus learned obedience—and not only learned obedience but learned how to obey as a man in the flesh—he is able to teach us how to walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful truth surrounding the obedience of the Lord Jesus and how He learned what it was like to walk in obedience to the will of the Father in the form of flesh—even obedience in suffering and in death. It is precisely because He learned obedience as a man in the form of human flesh that He is indeed able to teach us how to obey the divine will of the Father. It was the obedience the Lord Jesus learned in the flesh—learning what it was like to walk in obedience to the divine will of the Father—that he is indeed able to help us in our own flesh walk in obedience to the divine will of the Father. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider how Jesus learned what it was like to obey the Father as a man and learn how to obey the Father as a man for it is that truth that enables us to be those who are able to call upon Him in our own need to walk in obedience to the divine will of the Father.

 

            The more you continue to read the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews the more you will be brought face to face with the tremendous truth regarding the Lord Jesus as the high priest of our profession. In all reality this is something we must needs recognize and understand when considering the person of the Lord Jesus for we know from and through the gospels that He is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away—and not only takes away but took away the sins of the world. It was John the Baptist who emphatically declared unto those who walked with and followed him that this Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Lamb of God—and not only the Lamb of God but the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What makes the person of the Lord Jesus so incredibly unique is when you consider the fact that He was not only the Lamb of God which was offered as a sacrifice for the propitiation of our sins to make atonement and reconciliation but He is also the high priest as well. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous truth that not only was Jesus the Lamb and the sacrifice that was offered but He was also the high priest who would enter into the Holy of Holies in the heavens bringing His own blood—the blood of His sacrifice. Jesus was indeed the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world and yet He was the only Lamb in recorded history that ever rose from the grave. During the days of the Old Testament and even during the days in which John the Baptist and Jesus Himself walked any lamb that was offered as a sacrifice was killed prior to being presented upon the altar as a sacrifice. Not only this but there was never a recorded instance when a lamb which was sacrificed upon the altar was raised from death to life after being presented as a sacrifice.

 

            When we consider the Lord Jesus and the sacrifice He made upon the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago we must needs recognize and understand that He was indeed the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world but He was also the high priest who entered into the holy of holies beyond the veil. In fact if you transition yourself to the seventh chapter you will find additional language concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and how He was made a surety of a better testament. In the days of the Old Testament there were many priests which ministered before the altar, however, because of death these priests were unable to continue in their service and office. When, however, we speak of the Lord Jesus we must needs recognize that He continues forever and has an unchangeable priesthood. It is because He has an unchanging and continual priesthood He is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him seeing that He ever lives to make intercession for them. Stop and consider just how incredibly powerful these words truly are for not only do we learn and discover this high priest is able to save to the uttermost those that come unto God but by Him but we also learn that He ever lives to make intercession for them. We know that because He suffered and because He was tempted in all points and yet was without sin He is able to succor those who need to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, however we also learn and discover that Jesus ever lives to make intercession for the saints being able to save them to the uttermost who come to God by Him.

 

            SALVATION AND INTERCESSION! We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they bring us face to face with a truly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Jesus who as a faithful and merciful high priest who has passed into the heavens is not only able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him but He also ever lives to make intercession for them. What a truly awesome and powerful truth this is when you take the time to consider it for when we think about the Lord Jesus we must needs recognize that as a faithful and merciful high priest seated at the right hand of Majesty on high He is able to make intercession for us continually making mention of us before the Father. We know from the epistles and writings of the apostle Paul that he continually made mention of the saints and churches in his prayers and gave himself to prayers and supplications on their behalf and it is this reality we must needs recognize and understand when we consider the role and office of the Lord Jesus as high priest. What’s more is that in the eighth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome we find him writing and speaking of the Holy Spirit who also makes intercession for us before and unto the Father. Pause for a moment and consider the awesome reality that there are two members of the triune Godhead and Trinity who are continually and ever living to make intercession for us. The person of the Holy Spirit is ever living to make intercession for us while within and upon the earth with us and the Lord Jesus Christ as a faithful and merciful high priest ever lives to make intercession for us. Not only this but when we don’t know what we ought to pray the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us and even prays through us.

 

            How absolutely incredible and beautiful it is to consider the reality that Jesus is indeed Lord and is indeed Christ, however, He is also our faithful High Priest. In the third chapter of this epistle the author writes and speaks of the Lord Jesus being the Apostle and High Priest of our profession and while we might be able to look at the role and office of high priest as bringing God to man as the apostles did during the days of the early church I would also suggest the role and office of Apostle of our profession in terms of the writings of the apostle Paul—specifically in his frequent declaration unto the churches and saints of his continual offering of prayers, supplications, intercessions and thanksgiving for them. When we think about the Lord Jesus as the Apostle of our profession I would also dare say that we must needs think about Him as the apostle did for and on behalf of the churches which he ministered unto. The apostle Paul continually made mention of the saints and the churches in his prayers and without ceasing thanked God for them and for their labor of love, their work of faith and their patience in hope. You cannot read the words which are found in his epistles without encountering his continual intercession, supplication and prayers for the churches. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for we know from this epistle that while in the flesh the Lord Jesus offered up strong supplications and tears before the Father on behalf of Himself, however, we now know that He offers strong supplications and tears before the Father on behalf of the saints which are His spiritual body upon the earth.

 

            What’s more is if you continue reading the words which are found in the seventh chapter of this epistle you will find the author going on to write concerning this great High Priest and how He became us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens. This High Priest who not only ascended unto the heavens but was made higher than the heavens needs not daily offer sacrifices for sins more than once but in that He died once as the sacrifice and Lamb of God He offered a sacrifice once and for all. The eternal and only begotten of the Son of God does not need to make continual sacrifices and offerings for the sins of humanity and the sins of the people for He needed only die and offer Himself as a sacrifice once. There was a continual need for sacrifices and offerings to be made during the days of the Old Testament as men and women would and could come bringing their sacrifices—not only for a burnt offering but also for a sin or trespass offering. There was no limit to how many times a man or woman could come unto the Tabernacle and Temple presenting their sacrifice and offering and they could come as often as they wanted. With this being said the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies beyond the veil once a year bringing the blood of the sacrifice which he would sprinkle before the Ark of the Covenant and upon the Mercy Seat. When, however, we speak of Jesus we must needs recognize that he does not need to offer multiple sacrifices and offerings for in that He died He died once and for all and there is no need for Him to die again to make atonement and offering for our sins.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is necessary to consider the words which are found in the eighth chapter of this epistle for they continue to draw and call our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as our faithful and merciful high priest. Beginning with the first verse we find that we have such a high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens who is indeed a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the LORD pitched and not man. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for the tabernacle which the Lord pitched in the heavens was one that was not made with human hands nor is it one that can be touched with and by human hands. Oh there was an earthly tabernacle which was indeed made with human hands according to the command given unto Moses and there was indeed an earthly Temple which was made with human hands according to the pattern that was given unto David by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is there was indeed a second Temple which would stand upon the Temple Mount in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—one which was made with human hands when the children of Israel returned from their captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans. Within the land of Israel there would stand one tabernacle made with human hands as well as two temples which were both made with human hands. When, however, we think about the tabernacle which was in the heavens we must needs recognize that it is not and was not a tabernacle that was made with human hands but one that was made without human hands. This tabernacle was one which the Lord himself pitched and not man and thus is one that could only be entered by the great High Priest who entered into the heavens with His own blood having made sacrifice for our sins.

 

            In light of and in response to all of this it is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand our response to this truth. We know that the Lord Jesus is indeed our faithful and merciful high priest, however we must also recognize and understand that in light of that we have our own responsibility and relationship to that. In the latter portion of the eighth chapter we find the words which the LORD spoke concerning His making a new and better covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This new and better covenant was not according to the covenant which was made with their fathers in the day when they were taken by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. Those who came out of Egypt did not continue in the covenant and as a direct result the living God regarded them not. This new covenant which the LORD God would make with the house of Israel would be one where He would put His laws into their mind and write them in their hearts and would be unto them a God and they would be His people. Moreover these people would not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother saying “Know the Lord” for they shall and would all know the Lord from the least to the greatest. Not only this but the living God would also be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and would remember their iniquities no more. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider it for the invitation and responsibility that we have in response to this particular truth can best be expressed and explained with and through the words of the apostle Paul in the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints. It is in this particular passage the apostle Paul once more speaks of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus as being the temple of the Holy Spirit and the temple of the living God. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which were written by the apostle Paul which highlight and underscore the tremendous responsibility we have as the saints of God:

 

O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:11-18).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s