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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.

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