Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Call of the Priest (Hebrews 5:1-5)

"No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was" (Hebrews 5:4).

Hebrews 5:1 says that a high priest is selected from among men but appointed by God. In the old covenant, we see that God called Aaron to serve as high priest without consulting the congregation. In the local synagogues, however, the people elected their elders and pastors, as we do today. Still, the congregation does not appoint the man to serve as pastor. That is something God does. Thus, when our pastors challenge us about some sin or duty, we must not act as if they answer to us, as if they are our servants. Rather, they must answer to God, for they are His servants.

Hebrews 5:5 says that Christ (the Messiah) did not take upon Himself the honor and glory of being a high priest, but was called and appointed by God to that position. The author of Hebrews cites Psalm 2:7 as proof. It is interesting that Psalm 2 deals with God’s appointment of a king, but the author of Hebrews applies it to the appointment of a priest. We discussed Psalm 2:7 in April when we dealt with Christ’s sonship and kingship in Hebrews 1:5. [See the lessons for April 8, 9, 12, and 13.] Here we are dealing with His priesthood.

The high priest was a king in this sense: He presided over the house of God, over the church, just as the king presided over the land, over the nation. The High Priest wore glorious robes and a crown, like a king. Indeed, long before there was a king over the land of Israel, there was a high priest over the center of the land, the house of God. Thus, in a real sense, the high priest was the spiritual ruler of Israel. Just as the Davidic kings were the “sons of God” by appointment to rule, so were the Aaronic high priests.

The Aaronic high priest took off his robes of glory and honor when he offered the sin offerings for himself and for the people and put them back on when he was finished (Leviticus 16:23–24). In the same way, the Messiah was destined for glory and honor, but during His earthly life, He set them aside in order to accomplish our salvation. Now that He has finished the work, He has entered into His glory, and from that position on high He extends help to us.

Those who are called by God to serve as pastors have a most terrifying job. God says that such men are to be accorded glory and honor, largely because of the great task they have been called to perform. Consider whether you honor and glorify your spiritual leaders in the way the Bible says to do.