International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday January 18, 2015
Purpose: To better understand how Jesus fulfilled the role of High Priest for our salvation
Bible Lesson: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Hebrews 4:14 (CEB)
(14) Also, let’s hold on to the confession since we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, who is Jesus, God’s Son; (15) because we don’t have a high priest who can’t sympathize with our weaknesses but instead one who was tempted in every way that we are, except without sin.
(16) Finally, let’s draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help.
Hebrews 5:10 (CEB)
(1) Every high priest is taken from the people and put in charge of things that relate to God for their sake, in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (2) The high priest is able to deal gently with the ignorant and those who are misled since he himself is prone to weakness. (3)Because of his weakness, he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for the people. (4) No one takes this honor for themselves but takes it only when they are called by God, just like Aaron.
(5) In the same way Christ also didn’t promote himself to become high priest. Instead, it was the one who said to him, You are my Son. Today I have become your Father, (6) as he also says in another place, You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.
(7) During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. (8) Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. (9) After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. (10) He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
The Book of Hebrews is one of the most interesting books in the New Testament. No one is sure who wrote it, or to whom it was written. We do know that the writer was probably the most educated of all the NT writers. There are 169 Greek words used in this book that are not used anywhere else in the New Testament. The letter may have been written to the believers that had formed a congregation in Rome. The letter was probably written in the 50-60 A.D. period. Because it mentions “no one had yet lost their life” it was before the reign of Nero in Rome. That phrase also rules out some other churches, like Jerusalem and others that had suffered loss of life for the cause of Christ.
Our text deals with the Priesthood of Christ. The writer of Hebrews wants us to know that Christ was superior to all other priests. He was also not from the line of Aaron, which is where all other earthly priest had come. The Messiah, (Christ) was appointed by God as a priest just as the Old Testament priest named Melchizedek.
It is hard to find much information about this mysterious Melchizedek. He is first mentioned in the Book of Genesis after Abraham had defeated four famous Babylonian kings in battle (Genesis 14:18-24). Most modern bible scholars do not recognize this, but Jewish tradition has this mysterious Melchizedek as Noah’s Son, Shem. At the time of Abraham, Shem was the oldest living human on the face of the earth. Shem and Abraham were on the earth together for 150 years, according to the genealogy of Genesis.
Melchizedek, was the King of Salem, we know it as Jerusalem today. I don’t find it impossible to believe that God’s first appointed priest and his last appointed priest both claimed Jerusalem. Or that God had selected Jerusalem to be the place for Human Redemption shortly after the flood that destroyed all of humankind except the six that survived the flood. All Jews consider themselves descendants of Shem, which is where we get the term used for Jews worldwide, Semites.
That Jesus became our High Priest is important theology. As a priest, Jesus had experienced many of the same cares and concerns as us. He had lost some very close friends and relatives to death. Jesus had faced temptations and had withstood the wicked one while doing it. Jesus had faced hunger, and injustice, as well as beatings and mocking. There is nothing we can face that Jesus did not face, he is aware of our needs and concerns as well as our hurts. Jesus is a compassionate priest. Only Jesus, as our High Priest, can come before God with an adequate offering to have our sins and transgressions removed. Not just removed for a year, but for all of eternity.
There is a great old hymn where the chorus says, “Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity. How about you, who do you belong to? “Now I belong to Jesus.”