Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jesus is our High Priest

When I was younger, I thought that the Old Testament was simply a record of what transpired from the time of Creation to the time before the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I now know that the Old Testament is Christ hidden whereas the New Testament is Christ revealed. The more of the Old Testament that I get to know, the more I see that it is a picture of Jesus. Hebrews 10:1 says that the law (that is, the Ten Commandments) is a shadow of the "good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect". Animal sacrifices in the Old Testament could not take away sins as they provided only a temporary way to deal with sin until Jesus came to deal with sin permanently. Each time the High Priest in the Old Testament offered sacrifices, it was valid only for one year, so the people's sins were only forgiven for one year until the next year that a fresh sacrifice was offered. Also, the fate of the people in the Old Testament were wrapped up in their High Priest. If their High Priest was good, the people were blessed. If their High Priest was evil, the people suffered. The "good things" referred to in Hebrews 10:1 have since come! Our High Priest today (Jesus) is eternally good and the finished work of Jesus has taken place at the Cross. One perfect sacrifice forever!

In the Old Testament, the children of Israel had many practices and customs. When you analyse these practices and customs in detail, you will realise that these are actually a shadow of Jesus and His perfect sacrifice. The High Priest in the Old Testament would enter the Holy of Holies and give sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. Jesus sacrificed His life for the healing of our bodies and the remission of our sins and He is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven, as our High Priest. The Holy of Holies (which was constructed by man) was a copy of the true Holy of Holies - heaven. Our true High Priest has entered the true Holy of Holies and appears in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:24). Jesus has paid the full price for our past, present and future sins. All our sins have been forgiven because when Jesus died at the Cross, He sacrificed Himself once for all. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit as a Helper for our everyday lives. Jesus is now in heaven as our High Priest. He will return one day and when the rapture comes, He will give us new bodies (that will never grow old!) and raise us to eternal life.

Even though God is the most powerful in the universe, He has the kindest of any heart. Father, I am humbled by Your kindness and mercies towards me. Jesus is all glorious and beautiful (Exodus 28:2). We can wear nice clothes or adorn ourselves with jewellery but we should not let these be our only attraction. We should let the love of Christ shine from within us and be revealed to everyone in our behaviour and the love that we show others. God has crowned us with glory and honour. A man who loves the Lord and loves his neighbours as Christ loved him looks gorgeous, even though in the natural, he may not be our ideal of a manhunt winner. God dwells in us.

God will give us the skill to carry out His work (Exodus 28:3). Whatever we are lacking, God will fill us with it. He will give us boldness to embark on ventures that in the natural, others would think that we are crazy to think that we will be able to carry the venture to fruition. We are partakers of Jesus' divine nature.

We need to see that Jesus is all God and at the same time, He is all man. He is the precious Son of God, whose blood runs in His veins. God sent Jesus to earth as a man to live among us. When Jesus hung on the Cross and He was punished by God for our sins, the Godly blue in Him were interwoven with the manly scarlet in Him to become the Royal Priesthood of purple (Exodus 28:5-6). Jesus is our High Priest, seeking God's will. God's will is for us to be saved and to know God. Jesus represents us to God and He is in heaven as our High Priest, making intercessions for us. His presence and nail-pierced hands speak volumes to God that the price for our sins has been paid forever. As Jesus is all God and all man, His blood is eternal and His blood saves. When God sent Him to die for our sins at the Cross, God took all our sicknesses and sins and placed them on the body of Jesus. God's fire of judgement fell upon Jesus. The work of Jesus has been finished and today, we can receive all the blessings of God, including health and freedom from condemnation.

Although Jesus is the Son of God, He came to earth to serve us and to wash our feet (Exodus 28:8). What a great privilege it is to sit at His feet and listen to His teaching and to experience the love that He has for us! Jesus did not come to be served by us. He came to serve us and to give His life to redeem our sins (Mark 10:45). When Jesus walked on earth, He went about doing good and He transformed lives. We, too, should learn from Christ and not keep an "I", "I", "I" mentality because that is nothing more than "I-dolatry". We are blessed to be a blessing to others. A person who professes that he has eternal life but does not possess the eternal life needs to re-examine himself. It is very difficult to know that our sins have been forgiven and still sin on purpose.

We need to develop a child-like mentality when it comes to receiving Christ (Mark 10:13-16). Children are trusting and they do not bear grudges. They let go and forgive easily. They do not rely on their own self-effort and they know that when they fall, safe arms will catch them. The Gospel is Jesus Christ. It is about what God has done and is still doing today. God loves us and He has provided His Son as the eternal healing for our bodies and forgiveness for our sins. The Lord is our Healer and our Salvation. Let us put our trust in God in good times and bad times.

Some people look down on others who have simple faith and trust in the Lord. They think that to enter the Kingdom of God, one needs to be well versed in theology and know and keep all the laws. The truth is that Jesus has done everything at the Cross and there is nothing for us to do except to believe. Be like little children and go to Jesus with trust and faith (Mark 10:14).

Whatever we do in our lives, we need to do it for the glory of the Lord. He is the number one in our lives and we have to learn to let go of baggage in our lives that are not in line with the Word of Christ, and follow Him (Mark 10:17-22). Do not let barriers keep us from giving our life to Christ. We are a child of God and He is pleased with us!

Nothing is impossible for the Lord. Money does not buy us happiness, peace and salvation (Mark 10:23). Money is not intrinsically evil but the love of money is. Many people treat money as their god and their rely on their self effort, resulting in their eyes being blinded to the true God. A person who has everything on earth (including great wealth) may lack what is the most important - eternal life. To enter the Kingdom of God, God only asks of one thing from us - belief in the finished work of Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus are justified by all things which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.

We live among people of various religions and faith. There may be times when we face persecution for our beliefs and we may waver and start to doubt. Stand firm in your faith and keep on hearing the Word of Christ and keep on believing in your eternal salvation (Mark 10:29-30). God will give His children the strength to carry on. The world cannot appreciate Jesus. He gets His praise and worship from the children of God. It is all about who did it. Who forgave us of all our sins? It was Jesus, with all His glories and His very man because He has the power to save us. His blood has washed us clean forever.

Once we have accepted Christ, we have a new spirit in us. The Holy Spirit dwells in us. Greater is He that is in us than he who is in this world. As Jesus is, so am I in this world. I am righteous because Christ is righteous. Jesus is healthy and so am I. Jesus is forever young and so am I. Jesus has the favour of God and so do I.

Do not let the devil rob you of the truth and put words of doubt in your mind. One of the best ways to resist the devil is to ignore him. When natural circumstances seem to contradict what you are believing God for, speak to the Lord and agree with Him about what His Word says about your situation. The more we see Jesus, we can be transformed into the same image by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has taken our infirmities, diseases and sins. We are completely forgiven and forgiven eternally. Knowing this makes us want to love Him more and learn more about Him.

Lord, I seek Your presence. I want to learn more about You and to live a glorious life. As You are, so am I in this world. Amen.

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