Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. More specifically today’s passage is found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament epistle. “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace, without father, without another, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7;1-3).
“Now consider how great his man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the soils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him” (Hebrews 7:4-10).
“Therefore, if perfection were through the Leviticus priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated the altar? (Hebrews 7:11-13).
“For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For he testified: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitable ness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hopes through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:12-19).
“And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but he was with an oath by Him who said to him: The LORD has sworn and will not relent, you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:20-22).
“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because he continues forever, has a nun changeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:23-25).
“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when he offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever” (Hebrews 7:26-28).
When you come to the seventh chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews you will find the author continuing the discussion of Jesus—not only as High Priest but also as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Perhaps one of the greatest revelations concerning Jesus as the High Priest is that when the author sought to convey Him as High Priest they did not compare or contrast Him to Aaron who was ordained and anointed as the first high priest from among men. If you turn and transition to the Old Testament books of the Law you will find a powerful narrative of Moses’ brother Aaron being ordained and anointed as the first high priest taken from among men. Aaron was taken from among the people that he might be ordained and appointed to serve the people as their first high priest. With the instruction and building of the Tabernacle Aaron was taken from among the children of Israel—and not only from among the children of Israel but also from the tribe of Levi to stand before the people and serve them as high priest. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the purpose and ministry of the high priest which would serve in the Tabernacle of Moses which was given unto him while in the presence of the Most High God in the wilderness of Sinai. It was there atop the mountain of God where Moses would not only receive the pattern for the Tabernacle together with all its instruments but where Moses would also receive the requirements for the various sacrifices. Moreover it would be there atop the mountain of God in the wilderness where Moses would receive the order of the priests and the Levites who would serve before the LORD as His faithful ministers. It would be the priests and Levites who would not only carry out the ministry of the Tabernacle together with its instruments and objects but would also be ordained of the Lord to take the Tabernacle down, to set the Tabernacle up and to carry the Tabernacle from place to place in the midst of the wilderness.
There is something incredibly unique and powerful about the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews for the author sets forth to describe Christ as being supreme and greater. From the first chapter of this epistle the author set forth to describe Jesus as being greater and superior to the angels—this despite the fact that He was made a little lower than the angels for the purpose of suffering and death. The author described Jesus using the words written by David concerning man and how man was created a little lower than the angels and yet was given dominion upon the earth over everything that moves upon the face of the earth. It was man who was created a little lower than the angels and yet was crowned with glory and honor in the sight of the living God. In fact I am convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this and how absolutely wonderful it truly is that Jesus is indeed superior and greater than the angels in heaven who were themselves ministers and flames of fire. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the beauty and wonder of the Lord Jesus. It is the Lord Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the purpose of suffering and death that through His suffering and death He might serve in the presence of the Father as a merciful and faithful High Priest. When discussing Jesus as the great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek it is first necessary and important to recognize and understand that He laid aside the glory He had with the Father that He might take upon Himself the form of human flesh and blood. The Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the divine will of the Father in heaven by laying down the glory He had with the Father and humbling Himself unto obedience for the purpose of suffering and death.
Having said and written these words I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words and language found in the Scripture concerning this laying aside of the glory which the Son had with the Father from the beginning. In order to truly set the stage for this we must needs recognize and understand that there is an example of the Lord Jesus deliberately and intentionally laying aside His garments and taking up and taking upon Himself something else that He might show and demonstrate humility in the sight and presence of the disciples. In order to truly get an understanding of what Jesus did when He laid aside the glory He had with the Father from the beginning we must needs examine first and foremost the words found in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John. It is within this chapter we find Jesus laying aside His garments that He might take up the towel and fill a basin with water that he might wash the feet of the disciples. What makes this truly astonishing when you take the time to think about it is Jesus would wash the feet of one who would betray Him, one who would deny Him and of all those who would forsake Him in His hour of trial, suffering and sacrifice. Despite the fact Jesus knew that Simon called Peter would deny Him, despite the fact Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him and even despite the fact Jesus knew that all would forsake Him He would still lay aside His garments, take up the towel, fill up a basin with water and wash the feet of His disciples. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following passages of Scripture—passages which not only describe Jesus’ washing of the feet of the disciples but also Jesus’ words unto his disciples concerning one’s betrayal, another’s denial and how all would forsake Him:
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, Lord, are you washing my feet? Jesus answered and said to him, What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this. Peter said to Him, You shall never wash my feet! Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with me. Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head! Jesus said to him, He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, You are not all clean. So when he had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, he said to them, Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. IF you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me. Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am he. Most assuredly, I say to you, He who receives whomever I send receives me; and he who receives me receives Him who sent me” (John 13:1-20).
There is a great need for us to recognize what is found within this passage of Scripture for not only do we find Jesus providing an example to the disciples of how they ought to wash one another’s feet but we also find a powerful example of Jesus laying aside His garments and taking up the towel. If you want a picture of what it looked like when Jesus laid aside the glory which He had with the Father in the beginning this passage is a wonderful example. Within this passage Jesus laid aside His garments that He might take up the towel which He girded Himself with. Not only did the Lord Jesus lay aside His garments that He might take up the towel and gird Himself with it but He would also proceed to wash the feet of the disciples. The underlying purpose for Jesus’ laying aside his garments and taking upon Himself the towel was that He might provide the disciples with an example of how they ought to show and demonstrate humility one to another. After Jesus had taken up His garments again He would ask the disciples if they knew and understood what He did unto and for them. Jesus would then proceed to declare that just as He washed their feet so also they ought to wash one another’s feet. Jesus would also emphatically declare that a servant is not greater than their master nor those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth concerning the example Jesus set for the disciples there in the upper room after supper.
Before I transition to those passages within Scripture which speak of Jesus’ laying aside the glory He had with the Father from the beginning I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words presented within the four gospels concerning the disciples themselves. When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples He not only washed the feet of those who would forsake Him but He would also wash the feet of those who would betray Him. Even when Jesus was washing the feet of the disciples He would declare that they were clean but not all of them for He knew who it was who would betray Him. What’s more is that when the apostle John set the context for this scene in the upper room he would not only describe supper as being ended but he would also describe how the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. The apostle John described How Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, that He had come from God and that He was going to God. Moreover we find within this passage Jesus going on to declare that He did not speak concerning all of them for He knew whom He had chosen but how the Scriptures needed to be fulfilled. Jesus would declare unto them how the Scripture that describes how “he who eats breast with me has lifted up his heel against me.” Jesus would go on to describe unto the disciples how He examples this unto them so that when it came to pass they might believe that He was who He claimed to be. It is with this being said I invite you to consider the following words and passages within Scripture which describe the Lord Jesus announcing His betrayer, announcing unto Simon Peter that he would deny Him and even announcing that all would forsake Him in His hour of trial according to the Scripture which declared “Smite the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.” Consider now the following words which are found in these passages of Scripture beginning within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray me. And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, Lord, is it I? He answered and said, He who dipped his hand with me in the dish will betray me. The Son of man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, Rabbi, is it I? He said to him, You have said it” (Matthew 26:20-25).
“In the evening He came with the twelve. Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with me will betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and say to Him one by one, Is it I? And another said, Is it I? He answered and said to them, It is one of the twelve, who dips with me in the dish. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born” (Mark 14:17-21).
“When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divided it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me. Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of my betrayer is with me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed” (Luke 24:14-23).
“When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray me. Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaving back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it. And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly. But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, Buy those things we need for the feast, or that he should give something to the poor. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night” (John 13:21-30).
Each of these passages of Scripture present us with the incredible truth surrounding Jesus announcing the truth surrounding that one who would betray Him. There in the upper room while they were celebrating the Passover and partaking of the meal with each other Jesus would announce that one who would betray Him. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about the fact that when Jesus laid aside His garments and took up the towel and washed the feet of the disciples He would wash the feet of that one who would betray Him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the truth that Jesus not only knew that one who would betray Him but allowed Him at the table at the Passover supper, dipped and shared the sop with him and even washed his feet. How incredibly unique it is to think about the example Jesus gave to His disciples that not only ought they wash the feet of others but they would wash the feet of those who would betray them, wash the feet of those who would hurt them, wash the feet of those who would forsake and abandon them and would wash the feet of those who would do them much damage in this life. This is something which warrants strong consideration—particularly and especially when we think about Jesus taking upon Himself the form of human flesh that He might suffer in the flesh and die upon the cross for those who were enemies and those who were without God. What’s more is that when you read the words which are found in the four gospels you will find that not only did Jesus announced that one who would betray him but He would also announce unto Simon called Peter that he would deny Him. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found within these passages of Scripture concerning Jesus’ words concerning Simon Peter denying Him three times before the rooster crowed in the morning:
“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter answered and said to Him, Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble. Jesus aid to him, Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three mites. Peter said to Him, Even if have to die with you, I will not deny you. And so said all the disciples” (Matthew 36:30-35).
“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to eh Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. Peter said to Him, Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be. Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times. But He spoke more vehemently, If I have to die with you, I will not deny you! And they all said likewise” (Mark 14:26-31).
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren. But he said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death. Then He said, I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:31-34).
“Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered Him, Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you shall follow me afterward. Peter said to Him, Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for your sake. Jesus answered him, Will you lay down your life for my sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied me three times” (John 13:36-38).
Each of these passages of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ proclamation unto Simon called Peter that before the rooster crowed in the morning he would deny knowing Him three times. This is incredibly important to recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ knowledge of Simon Peter’s denial of Him and yet He was still willing to wash his feet there in the upper room. Jesus knew that Simon called Peter would indeed deny knowing Him three times before the night was over and yet He would still wash his feet thus signifying that he would indeed have a place with Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ humility when He laid aside His garments and washed the feet of the disciples. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when reading the four gospels you encounter the truth that Jesus knew and understood that Judas the son of Simon would betray Him. Jesus knew that Simon called Peter would deny Him three times before the night was over. Moreover Jesus knew that all would forsake Him in His hour of need. Despite the fact that Jesus knew these things He proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. Jesus would lay aside His garments and take up the towel that he might wash the feet of the dispels that they might indeed have a place and part with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something warrants strong consideration on our part for it calls our attention to the humility of Christ—and not only the humility of Christ but also the love, the mercy, the grace and the affection of Christ. To illustrate this all the more consider if you will the following words which are found in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John when Jesus would speak of their forsaking Him and being scattered unto their own houses and places:
“Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:31-33).
Each of these passages are necessary to help us understand that when Jesus laid aside His garments to take up the towel He did so to wash the feet of the disciples. There in the upper room Jesus would wash the feet of each of His disciples knowing that all would be scattered and forsake Him, knowing that one would betray Him and knowing that one would deny Him. Despite this knowledge Jesus was still willing to lay aside His garments, take up the towel, fill a basin with water and wash the feet of His disciples. This is important for us to pay close attention to—particularly and especially when we think about Jesus as our High Priest as it was mentioned in the epistle written unto the Hebrews. I am absolutely convinced that in order to truly understand Jesus as our faithful and merciful High Priest we must needs understand that He was willing to lay aside His garments, take up the towel and fill a basin with water that He might wash the feet of His disciples. Knowing what the disciples would do that very night Jesus would still wash each of their feet—even the feet of Judas who would betray Him. This is incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about it for Jesus is not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities and was in all ways tempted as we are and yet was without sin. Jesus is able to be our faithful and merciful High Priest who has passed into the heavens because He took upon Himself the form of flesh and blood. Jesus became like His brethren and took upon Himself the form of flesh and blood and the seed of Abraham that He might suffer in the flesh and that He might die and offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is indeed able to serve as our faithful and merciful High Priest who makes intercession for us because He laid aside the glory He had with the Father which He had from the beginning that He might take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood.
Oh this is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for there are specific passages found within Scripture that describe the beauty of Jesus laying aside the glory He had with the Father from the beginning. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that Jesus laid aside the glory He had with the Father from the beginning that He might take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood. Jesus would indeed take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood for it would be in the form of flesh and blood He would not only learn obedience through the things He would suffer but might suffer in that flesh. Jesus would take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood that through that flesh and blood He might be tempted in all ways as we are and yet would indeed be without sin. Jesus would indeed suffer in the flesh—and would not only suffer in the flesh but would also yield His body as a living sacrifice which was holy and acceptable in the sight of the living God. What’s more is when we speak of Jesus taking upon Himself the form of flesh and blood we must recognize that the flesh he took upon Himself was not somehow different than the flesh and blood which we ourselves have. The flesh which Jesus took upon Himself was not somehow supercharged with the divine nature and somehow made immune and exempt from hurt, from pain, from suffering and the like. Jesus would feel every ounce of pain from the torture He experienced at the hands of the religious leaders as well as at the hands of the Roman soldiers. Jesus would feel every lash of the scourge which the Roman soldiers used to flog Him in the Praetorium. Jesus would feel the force and pressure from every punch and slap that would strike His face from the religious leaders. Jesus would feel the pain from the thorns within the crown that was placed upon His brow. Moreover Jesus would feel the full weight, the force, the pressure and the pain of the nails that would be hammered into His hands and His feet. This is something we must acknowledge for when we have the discussion of Jesus as High Priest we must needs understand that it was necessary for Him to take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood for it taking upon Himself the form of flesh and blood that would enable Him to serve as our High Priest. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in Scripture describing Jesus’ taking upon Himself the form of flesh and blood and the work which He accomplished for and on our behalf:
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no Beaty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before it shearers is silent, so he opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment. And who will declare His generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions o my people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge my righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:1-11).
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death resigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the. Likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one mMan, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)_ Therefore as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
Consider the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John beginning with the first verse:
“IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. IN Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through. Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:1-18).
Here are the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle written unto the saints which were at Philippi beginning with the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservants, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11).
Here are the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote in the first and second chapters of this New Testament epistle. Consider if you will the following words which are found in these two chapters beginning with the first verse of the first chapter:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did he ever say: You are my Son, Today I have begotten you? And again: I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to me a Son? But when He again brings the first north into the world, He says: Let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the angels He says: Who makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son he says: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. And: You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak you will fold them up, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not fail. But to which of the angels has he ever said: Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:1-14).
And here consider the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle beginning with the fifth verse:
“For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of your hands. You have 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 do not yet see 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 honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: I will declare your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to you. And again: I will put my trust in him. And again: Here am I and the children whom God has given me. Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).
If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning the days of Jesus’ flesh it’s that those days were and still are intrinsically linked and connected to His role, office and function as our High Priest. I am absolutely convinced that Jesus Christ has indeed become a High Priest of that which is so much better than earthly things. With this being said, however, it is absolutely imperative we recognize and understand that in order for Jesus to serve as our faithful and merciful High Priest He did in fact have to take upon Himself the form of flesh and blood. Notice in the second chapter of this epistle the author declares that in that the children have partaken of flesh and blood so also He shared in the same through through death He might destroy him who had the power of death and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. What’s more is the author of this epistle goes on to describe how Jesus as High Priest does not give aid to angels but gives aid to the seed of Abraham. Not only this but the author goes on to write how in all things He had to be made like His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God. In addition to this the author goes on to describe that in that He Himself suffered being tempted so also he is able to aid those who are tempted.
As I continue in this discourse about Jesus as our faithful and merciful High Priest I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in this chapter you will find it beginning with an emphatic and beautiful declaration—the declaration that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The high priest during the days of the Tabernacle and even the Temple would enter into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifice, offering and propitiation for the sins of the people. What we must needs recognize and understand is that although the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies and make atonement for the people it would and could not deal with matters of the conscience. If there are two things we must needs recognize and understand concerning sin they are that of conscience and that of condemnation. I am absolutely convinced two of the greatest threats to men and women in matters of sin, transgression and rebellion is that of condemnation—whether self condemnation or condemnation of others—and conscience. What we must needs recognize concerning the role and office of Jesus as the High Priest is that Jesus is indeed the minister of a greater ministry which not only handles and touches conscience but also touches the condemnation that comes according to the Law. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome as well as the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John concerning the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and was not only guilty according to the Law, and was not only condemned according to the law but for all intents and purposes should have been put to death according to the Law. Consider if you will the following words which are found in these two chapters beginning with the eighth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:1-11).
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be lo glorified together” (Romans 8:12-17).
“For I consider that the sufferings of this priest time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was a subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom he foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he predestined, these he also called; whom he called, these he also justified; and whom he justified, these he also glorified” (Romans 8:18-30).
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession or us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For your sakes we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all the set things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height. Nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).
Consider now the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke. Within these two passages you can and will clearly see in full force and full measure the ministry of the High Priest at work in the midst of the days of the flesh of the Lord Jesus. Each of these passages calls and draws our attention to the tremendous grace and mercy afforded by the Lord Jesus Christ to two women who were sinners—one who was known in the city as a sinner and another who was caught in the act of adultery and was considered guilty and condemned according to the Law. In each of these passages we find beautiful and wonderful pictures of the great High Priest extending and showing compassion, mercy, grace, tenderness, affection and love toward two individuals who were clearly sinners and who according to the Law stood condemned and guilty. These passages are incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about them for they bring us face to face with the ministry of the faithful and merciful High Priest and what that ministry looks like among us within our generation. When you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I invite you to think about the apostle Paul’s declaration that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and the question he asked concerning who and what can separate us from the love of God:
“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the Temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say? This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has not one condemned you? She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” John 8:1-11).
Within the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find the account of the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. Not only had this woman been caught in the act of adultery but she was dragged into the Temple of the LORD and into the presence of Jesus. There in the Temple and there in the presence of Jesus the scribes and Pharisees not only declared this woman was guilty according to the Law but she was also condemned to die according to the Law. The Law demanded that anyone caught in the act of adultery must be stoned with stones according to that which was spoken unto Moses. I would imagine there would have been those who had stones in their hands ready to cast at this woman—that was until Jesus intervened in the midst of this event. Originally Jesus would stoop down and write in the ground as though he did not hear them—something that is truly unique and powerful. The apostle John writing that Jesus stooped down and wrote in the ground as though he did not hear them suggests that Jesus chose not to hear or listen to their accusation, condemnation and judgment of this woman. Despite the fact this woman was indeed condemned and guilty according to the Law Jesus stooped down and wrote in the ground as though He had not heard their accusation and condemnation. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to how Jesus handles condemnation and judgment brought against His saints and against those who are called by His name. There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus—those who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. When Jesus finally did speak He didn’t even acknowledge this woman’s sin but rather declared that those who were guiltless and those who had no sin could cast the first stone. One by one beginning with the oldest to the youngest the stones would fall and the accusers would depart. Eventually it was just Jesus and this woman who was accused and condemned and yet she was absent her accusers and those who would have condemned her. When Jesus asked if there was anyone to accuse her she responded by saying there was no one. In response to this Jesus declared that He also did not condemn her and then commanded her to go and sin no more.
Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke beginning with the thirty-sixth verse:
“Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And he went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kiss His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:36-39).
“And Jesus answered and said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. So he said, Teacher, say it. There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me. Therefore, which of them will love him more? Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more. And he said to him, You have rightly judged. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to k it’s my feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but this woman has anointed my feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. Then he said to her, Your sins are forgiven. And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, Who is this who even forgives sins? Then He said to the woman, Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:40-50).
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the absolutely wonderful truth within the seventh chapter. The chapter opens with the author describing how this Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him was without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but was made like the Son of God and remains a priest continually. Moreover the author would go on to declare that if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood there would be no need that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek and be called according to the order of Aaron. The author goes on to declare that the priesthood was changed and there of necessity a change of the law. He who officiates these things spoken of belongs to another tribe from which no man officiated the altar. Our Lord arose from Judah of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning the priesthood. Despite this fact, however, it is far more evident that there arose another priest who came—not according to the law of fleshly commandment but according to the power of an endless life. The author goes on to describe that there was an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness. The law made nothing perfection and required and necessitated a better hope through which we dare near to God. In the Old Covenant there were many priests because they were prevented by death from continuing. But this new and faithful High Priest continues forever and has an unchangeable priesthood. This faithful and merciful High Priest is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He always and evermore lives to make intercession for them. This high priest was and is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and has become higher than the heavens who does not need daily to offer up sacrifices—first for His own sins and then for the people’s sins. This High Priest died once for all when He offered up Himself as a sacrifice and offering for our sins. It is precisely because of this High Priest we are able to come boldly before the throne of grace. It is because of this great High Priest there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and not only can the condemnation associated with the Law and sin be dealt with but so also might our consciences be cleansed and purified according to the power of the Holy Spirit.