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5 Characteristics of Jesus, Our High Priest

Does your heart long to know Jesus better? If so, it will fire you up to really take a deep look at Him as your great High Priest!

In the Old Testament, there were many men from the lineage of Aaron who served as High Priest in the tabernacle.

God chose Aaron during the wilderness wandering time of the children of Israel. The High Priest’s most significant task was to enter the Holy of Holies chamber each year on the Day of Atonement. When he did that, he put blood on the “mercy seat”–the lid of the Ark of the Covenant–to attain forgiveness for all of Israel.

Aaron’s descendants through his son Eleazar were the only people allowed to be the High Priests.

There were strict restrictions and regulations for a High Priest to follow (see Leviticus 21). The writer of Hebrews lists some of the qualifications, such as:

  • being of the same nature as men, so that he can have compassion;

  • being a representative of men to God;

  • being chosen to offer sacrifices for sin (his own and the people’s); and

  • being the one to offer intercession and prayers (see chapter 5).

Also, the same author calls Jesus “our great High Priest” in Hebrews 4:14. The whole book of Hebrews is actually a dissertation that proves the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the Old Testament system of laws, sacrifices, and priesthood.

Jesus Christ was from the tribe of Judah, not from the tribe of Levi.

But, God had promised way back in Genesis that He would not let the scepter depart from Judah. As Jacob was dying and pronouncing blessings upon his sons, he proclaimed that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10).

In other words, from the tribe of Judah would come a ruler over Israel and the nations. This Ruler is the Messiah (Shiloh). Jesus not only initially fulfilled that prophecy during His first coming, but also will ultimately fulfill it on His second coming.

Likewise, Jesus fulfilled all the qualifications of a High Priest.

Here are five high-priestly qualifications that are listed in Hebrews 7:24-25:

  • Holy;

  • Harmless;

  • Undefiled;

  • Separate from sinners; and

  • Higher than the heavens.

First of all, Jesus is Holy.

He is God who has come in the flesh to earth. He always does what pleases His Father in heaven. Jesus even says that the prince of the world (Satan) “has nothing in Me” (John 14:30).

In essence, Jesus is saying that there is no relationship, no sin, no nature, and nothing of Satan in Him. Jesus Christ is the sinless Lamb of God. There is no vertical barrier between Jesus and the Father – their relationship is perfect and holy.

In addition, Jesus is harmless.

Not only is the vertical relationship perfect, but also the horizontal relationship is faultless. Jesus loves His neighbor as Himself. He states that “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Matthew (23:37) pens Christ’s passion over the people quoting Jesus saying “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks, but you were not willing!” Jesus loves you and me, His brothers and sisters in the Father.

Also, Jesus is undefiled.

The Greek word is amiantos, which means to be free from contamination or filth, no imperfection, nothing unbecoming, or no base behavior. Just as the Old Testament sacrifice had to be perfect with no blemishes, so also Jesus is the spotless sacrificial Lamb of God.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus could touch and minister to lepers while not becoming unclean. Likewise, He could touch and minister life to dead people, but remain uncontaminated.

In Revelation chapter five, the Apostle John sees One sitting on the throne holding a scroll. Many believe this is the title deed to Earth, which was deceptively stolen from Adam and Eve through the cunning act of Satan. John hears a loud voice asking who is worthy to open the scroll and to unseal it. For a moment it seems as if no one was found worthy to do so.

But then, John hears that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed. He–Jesus–can now open the scroll. John then sees a Lamb which had been slain but is now alive, proving that Jesus has overcome and is worthy to open the scroll and read it. Jesus, the spotless, sinless Lamb, has the ability and the authority to take back the title deed to Earth. Hallelujah!!!

What does it mean to be separate from sinners?

One version says it is to be beyond the influence of sinners. The pious, religious Jewish leaders accused Jesus of being a glutton and a winebibber along with being a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19). Jesus demonstrated His wisdom by pointing out to them that John lived a separated, ascetic life but they still said John had a demon. Jesus pointed out that He Himself socialized with humanity, but they found fault with that too!

In other words, Jesus show how fickle the religious leaders really are. He tells his disciples that they are not of the world (John 15:19), yet His prayer for them being “in the world” is for the Father to “keep” them and to “sanctify them” (John 17:11, 17).

We live in this world, yet we do not live as the world lives.

An example of this is in 1 Corinthians chapter five. Paul had written these words earlier to them:

“not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet, I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).

Paul is saying we are not to withdraw from the world; the world is full of these kinds of people, and we can’t possibly avoid them all. But, Paul is saying we should not have fellowship with a brother or sister who engages in this kind of behavior.

James says it very practically and very tersely: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (emphasis mine).

Jesus did indeed come into this world, but He was not of the world.

Last, but certainly not least, Jesus is higher than the heavens.

He is reinstated to the highest position at the right hand of God. The book of Hebrews emphasizes the supremacy of Christ and how much greater He is. Greater than:

  • The angels;

  • Moses and the Old Covenant;

  • Joshua;

  • Every Levitical High Priest;

  • Melchizedek;

  • The earthly sanctuary; and

  • The law and the sacrificial system.

The Word of the Lord says:

“We have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God … who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Hebrews 4:14; 8:1,2).

Jesus has become a guarantee of a better covenant because He is alive forevermore. Thus, “because He continues forever, (He) has an unchangeable priesthood (Hebrews 7:24). “Christ came as High Priest of the … greater and more perfect tabernacle … not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11, 12). PERIOD!

My friend, Jesus is your Great High Priest.

Let’s join in with Paul, saying:

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17).

Better yet, let’s sing along with hosts of heaven, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will they exist and were created. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 4:8, 11; 5:12, 13)

He is the one who was, and is, and is to come, from everlasting to everlasting, the great God Jehovah and the ruler of all!

Jesus is interceding for YOU, right now!

Rejoice in the fact that He has already paid the price for you and because of it, WE ARE VICTORIOUS! SO WALK IN IT!

What do you need to ask Jesus, your Intercessor, for help with today? Stop and do it right now–then leave a comment below and we will agree with you in prayer!


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