Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our High Priest

Original post date: Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Current mood:Awed
Category: Religion and Philosophy

Say this with me: "Jesus became my sin.He didn't just die in my stead. He BECAME my sin."

This is the revelation that I received tonight. Not that I didn't already know it with my head, but tonight my heart finally got it.

It all started with Hebrews 4 & 5; specifically chapter 5 verses 8-10 which says, " ... Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him and was designated by God to be High Priest in the order of Melchizedek."

What caught my attention was the phrase " ... once made perfect ..."

What!? You mean there was a time when Jesus wasn't perfect? I have always been taught that he was the perfect sacrifice for my sins. How can this be? ... And so the word-chase begins.

First, let's look at the word "perfect." In the Greek it is "teleioo" (tel-i-o-o). It does not mean without fault, but rather to complete, accomplish or to be of consummate character. If you are of conssumate character, then you are an extremist. I can think of no other term to better describe the mindset of our Father when he sent Jesus as our ransom. And no other word better describes the heart of Christ as he answered the Father with, "Count me in!" What risk God the Father took! Since we are free-will creations, we could not be forced to accept or serve him. Jesus took the greatest gamble of all time when he laid his life down. What kind of love is this? It's mad love! It's the love of the ultimate extremist!

But ... getting back to "perfect" ...

Hebrews 4:14-5:10 refer to Jesus as our High Priest. In the OT days, there was a priestly lineage established by God through Aaron and his sons. But being born into a family of priest did not a high priest make. We know this because God did not hesitate whe he smote Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu. They were called to the office of priest, but were not operating in obedience. See, there were certain requirements of priests. For example: you had to be called by God, you had to wear certain garments, you had to make certain offerings and sacrifices in accordance with God's instructions, you could not come into contact with death or disease, you could not mourn publicly, etc. What the phrase "once made perfect" is describing is not the condition of Jesus, but the process of Christ. See, Jesus, though he was was 100% God he was also 100% man. He was born into sin like you and me. He was Jesus of Nazareth for 33 years, but not until the cross did he become Jesus the Christ. "Once made perfect" is describing the process it took to prepare him for calvary. I mean, haven't you ever wondered why the baby Jesus, or why the 12-year-old Jesus, or even the 30-year-old Jesus was not crucified? It's because he was not yet made perfect; not yet accomplished in God's plan for him. The process was not complete. Yes, Jesus was without sin (Heb.4:15), but until he was tempted and tried he was not a perfect sacrifice; meaning he would not have met the requirements to stand before God as our High Priest. The instant that Jesus litterally became my sin and your sin and cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" was the exact moment he was separated from God the Father. It was in that moment that God said, "Now! Now it is perfect!" then the Spirit of Christ held witness with the Father and he replied, "It is Finished!" Now Jesus is fulfiled in his purpose which from the foundation of the world has always been to stand before God our judge on our behalf. Now he is fully consummated to represent God to the people and the people back to God. He was transformed into every vile thing that separated me from God so that I could be restored to him.

So how was Jesus made perfect? By becoming my sin. How did he become my sin? By living this life in the temptations of the flesh and yet never surrendering to it. You can not repay sin with sin. In the OT, the guilt of the people was laid on a spotless animal. In the NT, Jesus fulfills God's law by having our guilt laid on him. He endured temptation to prepare him for the cross. He endured the cross to establish his worthiness as High Priest. And now, we can praise him for all he's done and intends to do as he intercededs for us. Now, because of his sacrifice we can be perfected as he was perfected. Now, though I may not be sinless, I'm blameless. And that inspires me to become sinless. Amen! Praise be to God our ever loving Father and to Jesus, our great High Priest!

Romans 8:1 " ... Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus ..."