Inferior High Priests

Throughout Hebrews, Jesus is referred to as our high priest. I think we’ve kind of lost the concept of “high priest.” Perhaps, if God were inspiring Scripture in today’s world rather than in ancient Israel, He would not have called Jesus my high priest. He would have called Him my lawyer. After all, the lawyer represents the court to me, and me to the court. Exactly what the high priest was meant to do.

Ever since the invention of high priests, the inauguration of Aaron, brother of Moses, for the job, we have been afflicted with inferior high priests. Hebrews describes them as weak—weak because they were mortal, able only to offer temporary sacrifices for the temporary satisfaction for sin, and only for as long as they lived (Hebrews 5:1-3, 7:23-28). They were also men of weakness because they were imperfect, not just offering sacrifices for the people’s sin, but for themselves, too. Imagine how much credibility my defense attorney would have if he, too, were a murderer, and the judge knew it? 

This is not an Old Testament problem. Even with the advent of Jesus, the institution of Him as High Priest, the one who can go behind the veil whenever He wants, unafraid of the burning wrath of God because He is sinless, unable to die, able to save forever, even with Him as our high priest, God’s people, me most of all, are guilty of giving away God’s place to inferior high priests.

You know what they say, that the man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client. I am the greatest of fools. I either attempt to defend myself, before God, man, the devil, and my own soul, or I give away God’s place as advocate to the “if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided to you by the court” guy. Not a good courtroom strategy.

The church is full of public defenders, all with the best of intentions, all wanting to exonerate me, all hoping to represent me to God in prayer and God to me in counseling, to convince me I am saved, to convince me God is pleased, to tell me things are okay for another year. But every high priest is inferior to Christ. There is only one advocate good enough to defend me.

“Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:16), and nobody can snatch me out of those hands (John 10:27).

Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.” Coming fall 2020.