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Lesson 8: Christ, Our Priest *

Introduction: Two weeks, ago we discussed that everything has changed. Instead of having a physical temple on earth where God lives and humans approach God only through a priest, our bodies are now temples ( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and God's Spirit lives in us (Romans 8:9). If everything has changed, then why does Hebrews extensively discuss Jesus' current work as our High Priest? Let's dive into our study of the Bible to find out what we can learn about what God is doing!

  1. The Order of Melchizedek

    1. Read Hebrews 7:1. What do we immediately notice is different about Melchizedek? (He is both a king and a priest. In Israel, the king and priest were separate.)

    2. Read Hebrews 7:2-3. To whom is Melchizedek compared? (Jesus, the Son of God.)

      1. How is Melchizedek like Jesus?

    3. Read Hebrews 7:4-8. We can see that the writer of Hebrews is constructing an argument. What do you think the writer is arguing? (He is asking the Jewish people familiar with the sanctuary system on earth to consider that something greater exists, something that pre-dated the sanctuary on earth.)

    4. Read Hebrews 7:11. Why is the Melchizedek system better than the Levitical system? (Perfection! Perfection could not be attained through the human priesthood.)

      1. Perfection for who? (Us! Praise God.)

      2. Let's contemplate this a bit. Did we change? (No.)

        1. What changed? (The system. That means that perfection does not depend on us.)

    5. Read Hebrews 7:12. What has changed along with the priesthood? (The law.)

    6. Read Hebrews 7:13-17. What aspects of the law changed? (Hebrews says the rules about the priesthood changed. Melchizedek and Jesus are not priests because of regulations about ancestry, but because of "the power of an indestructible life."

    7. Read Hebrews 7:18-19. How does this say the law changed? (Recall that we decided a few minutes ago that the pursuit of perfection is the difference between the new and old priesthood. Hebrews tells us that the law is "weak and useless" for making us perfect.)

      1. These are powerful words. What do they mean as a practical matter for our daily living? (They mean that we will never become prefect by trying to obey the law. Such an effort is useless because it is too weak to accomplish the goal. "Part-perfect" is an obvious problem.)

    8. Read Hebrews 7:23-26. How does Jesus meet our need for perfection? (He is "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners" and "He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him.")

      1. How then, do you become perfect? How do I become perfect?(Through Jesus.)

    9. Let's step back a moment. We started out saying that everything is new. We are temples, and God's Spirit lives in us. Is what Jesus is doing also new? (Yes! This tells us that Jesus' priesthood is new and improved, but it is not without precedent. The precedent is the Melchizedek priesthood.)

      1. If precedent is important, how can you fit precedent into what is happening today? (The precedent is that the forgiveness of sin was never through human effort. It was through the death of an animal. The precedent is that the sin transfer process was handled by the priests. Now, Jesus died on our behalf (we died with Him), and He is the one who now deals with the sin transfer process. The precedent is that God meets with humans in a special place. Now, God meets with us - but He wants our temple to be a special place.)

  2. Intercession

    1. Read Hebrews 8:1-2. Have you every heard someone say, "Now here is the point?" The writer of Hebrews is saying, "Now here is the point!" What do you understand is the point? (We have this fabulous, wonderfully superior priest who is serving right now in heaven on our behalf!)

    2. Read Hebrews 9:24-26. In what way is Jesus our fabulous, wonderfully superior priest? (He is in heaven, not earth, He sacrificed once, not many times. He did away with sin and appears on our behalf before God!)

    3. Read Romans 8:32-34. We noted in our discussion two weeks ago that the Most Holy place in the sanctuary was a "danger zone." People died if they entered the presence of God at the wrong time in the wrong way. What do these verses in Romans suggest about God's attitude toward us? (He loves us so much that He gave us Jesus. God will graciously give us "all things.")

      1. Who brings charges against us? (This suggests that no one is sufficient to bring charges.)

      2. Read Revelation 12:10-11. Who is the accuser? (Satan. He is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of believers.)

      3. Do you feel guilty about past sins? Sins you have confessed?

        1. If the answer is, "yes," what do these texts suggest about this? (That it is the work of the evil one to accuse you. No one is sufficient to accuse you when Jesus is interceding on your behalf.)

    4. Read Romans 8:26-27. Wait! Do we have a second intercessor? (Yes! The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us! This makes perfect sense in light of the doctrine of the Trinity. All three Members of the Godhead are pulling for us!)

      1. What, exactly, is the Holy Spirit doing for us that is different than what Jesus is doing for us? (The Holy Spirit "helps us in our weakness.")

        1. What weakness is this? (Jesus takes away our sins, but the entire sanctuary system shows that sin is the enemy. Thus, we need to determine to live a life in accord with the law. Our attitude and our acts are our weakness, and the Holy Spirt helps us with these. Again, our actions never save us, only Jesus' work on our behalf. But, what saved person wants to be an agent of Satan?)

      2. Romans 8:26 contains some strange language: "the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." What kind of intercession is this? (A close relative of mine may have a serious medical problem. Have you had so desperate a prayer need that you do not know how to put things into words - words that will describe how much you need God's help? That is another kind of human weakness. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us to express the deepest emotions - so deep we really cannot adequately put them into words.)

      3. Romans 8:27 brings to mind another aspect of intercession. Have you ever faced a need and were uncertain about God's will in the matter? How can you know God's will? (The Holy Spirit "intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.")

    5. Re-read Romans 8:34 and read Romans 8:35-37. We have two main problems in life. We are sinners, deserving death, and we live in a sinful world. Jesus cured the death problem and He continues to intercede on our behalf in heaven. How do we deal with the living in a sinful world problem? (This is the intercession of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit helps us, guides us and directs us.)

      1. What do these two intercessions show? (God's great love! You can decide to leave God, but nothing external can take away Jesus' sacrifice for you and the Holy Spirit's daily help to you! Praise God!)

    6. Friend, would you like Jesus and the Holy Spirit to intercede for you? Would you like them to remove the condemnation of the law, and give you comfort and guidance in day to day problems? If so, why not invite Jesus into your life right now? Why not confess your sins and accept His sacrifice and the power of His Spirit?

  3. Next week: The Pre-Advent Judgment.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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