Skip to main content

New Kind of High Priest - Hebrews 4:14-5:10

This week's Narrative Lectionary reading was from Hebrews 4:14 - 5:10.

The passage this week identifies Jesus as the High Priest and points out that He has direct access to God since he sits with Him in Heaven.   The author then points out that Jesus understands our suffering, having suffered himself as a betrayed and crucified human.  He pulls together this tension of fully God and fully man to be the sort of High Priest that really "gets" us, and can still get things done. The previous high priests may have understood our suffering, but they lacked direct access to God, and maybe, more importantly, they had to wrestle with their own sin getting in the way.  The author wants us to know that Jesus has no such trouble, he is sharing the good news that we have a new kind of High Priest and that now is the time to take advantage of Jesus' relationship to reconnect with God.

Anticipating objections from Israelites, the intended audience, he claims that no person can "call" themselves to the ministry of High Priest, it is a ministry of reconciliation to God and it is God's prerogative who may serve such a role.  Jesus received just such a public calling when God called out during his baptism.  The author predicts another objection, explaining that this sort of calling was not unheard of, but Melchizedek, the priest who received offerings from Abraham (Gen. 14) was a priest of the same kind.

Closing out this pericope the author points out that Jesus learned obedience through suffering, just like we do.  Being the Son of God did not give Him an unfair advantage.  He can be trusted as our guide as well as our confident.

The author of Hebrews continues to point out how Jesus, lives into this tension of being both God and man, and how that is really advantageous for us.  He shows how Jesus was greater than previous leaders and guides to the Jewish people and encourages us to obey him for salvation, rest, and freedom.  This message applies to all of us of course, Paul was the apostle to the gentiles after all.  This message is simply tailored to the way Hebrew believers would be thinking at the time.

Check out my YouTube video here


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Refusal to Return

The last cycle of The Hero's Journey begins with what Campbell calls "The Refusal of the Return".  In this stage the hero has finished their quest and won their award, but now they are faced with the idea of returning to their place of origin.  They struggle with the idea of leaving paradise, or sharing their wisdom with their old community.  After being changed so much, do they even still belong in the place they came from? In The Lord of the Rings, after Frodo has tossed the ring into the fire and the battle is won, he is so tired he wants to give up, there is nothing left driving him to return home, so he lays down and prepares to die.  Then, when the party regroups in Gondor, they linger there for a long time before each returns to their homeland.  Finally, when Frodo does return home, he is uncomfortable, he feels out of place, and wants to leave.  He has changed and realizes that he no longer belongs in the Shire.  After Christ's resurrection he met with Mary fi

The Return Threshold

  As we come near the end of our weekly series on the Hero's Journey, today we will cover "The Return Threshold".  In this stage, the Hero has succeeded in their quest and now they are coming back to their old world.  Joseph Campbell calls this the "ordinary world".   The return to the ordinary world usually includes some type of challenge.  Sometimes an enemy must be challenged, but sometimes the enemy is the ordinary world itself.  As we have followed the hero's journey we have seen the hero change, what was once important is no longer important.  While the hero has changed, the ordinary world has not.  The ordinary world holds values that the returning hero has abandoned for something greater.  This can cause tension as the hero tries to return as a changed person. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we see the Hobbits finally return to their home in the Shire.  Unfortunately in their absence Saruman and his orcs have taken over the Shire and must be defeat