by Dianne Eckermann
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Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens (Hebrews 7:26).
Read Hebrews 7:18-28
The concept of a high priest is not something familiar in our worship life. In biblical times the high priest held a significant role as the most important religious leader. Part of that role was to make offerings for wrongdoing by members of their community, as well as their own wrongdoing. They were, after all, only human and needed to atone for their own sin as well as that of others. Their offerings temporarily covered the sins of the community and their own sin.
We do not follow the Jewish tradition of high priests. We also do not offer sacrifices to God. The role of our pastors is quite different. The significance of today’s reading is that Jesus made all of these traditions obsolete.
The argument of today’s passage from Hebrews is that Jesus is the ultimate high priest, holy, blameless and pure. He has no need to continually make offerings as he offered himself conclusively as a sacrifice for our salvation. His resurrection after death also means he can serve forever. Jesus is a new priest, one who is perfect and therefore has no need to continually make offerings.
Perfection we see in the world around us is transient. The amazing colours of a sunset are breathless, but darken quickly as night falls. Flowers bloom but their colour will eventually fade. Even a perfect day must come to an end. In Jesus we have a high priest who is not transient. He is always with us. He is unique in that he understands our humanity and his once-and-for-all sacrifice for us draws us nearer to God. His love for us will never cease. He truly meets our need.
Dear Jesus, we thank you for the immense sacrifice you made for us, a sacrifice you made because you truly understand our needs and love us all the same. Amen.
Dianne has served in Lutheran education as a teacher, school leader and system leader at Lutheran Education Australia. Now retired from full-time work, she continues to volunteer on several committees and as a school board member. She lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband, Robert, and is in strong demand as a babysitter for her three grandchildren.