Afraid of the bait-and-switch
I hate the bait-and-switch.
Whether it’s due to someone’s greed, circumstances beyond our control, or our own misunderstanding, we can end up getting less than what we expect. As a result, we’re constantly on guard against situations that appear too good to be true. We always have this lingering fear that we won’t fully get what has been advertised…and it makes us suspicious of good things that happen in our lives.
We carry this suspicion into our relationships, even with God. Life’s changing circumstances and people letting us down can leave us wondering about the basic truths that we hold dear: Does God really forgive me? Can I sin “too much”? Is there a line that I could cross and then God will reject me? Is believing Jesus enough to have eternal life?
Questions like these show that we’re nervous about our relationship foundation with God. Is ok to ask questions, but also know that we can find answers. We don’t have to sit in the dark wondering if God is going to change the rules or change His mind.
Progressing through his letter to the Hebrew believers, we find that as the author resumes his discussion of Christ’s superiority as our high priest, he shows us an important, bedrock truth:
[The Levites] became priests without an oath, but [Jesus] became a priest with an oath made by the One who said to Him:
The Lord has sworn
and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever.” (Psalm 110:4)
Because of this oath, Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant. Now many have become Levitical priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently.
Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.
There is no concern of Jesus being a temporary representative for us before the Father; instead, Jesus is our permanent guarantee of access to God. Besides, if Jesus did not live forever…how could I trust His claim that He can keep me alive forever?
For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do – first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all time when He offered himself.
For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever.
Jesus, the perfectly-suited high priest, gave the ultimately perfect sacrifice – and because the sacrifice was so great, it fulfilled our sin-debt in one fell swoop. The Greater Messenger has done something that no one else has ever accomplished.
Now the main point of what is being said is this: We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that was set up by the Lord and not man.
Since Jesus does not need to offer any further sacrifices, His ministry can develop beyond what the Israelites would have witnessed in their high priests’ ministry. Jesus is therefore worthy of greater honor and is able to go on to greater things.
Oh, and He’s our brother in the Holy family. And He’s offered to help us with our struggles, if we would only ask.
The most superior person in the universe desires this kind of relationship with us. No bait-and-switch.