In order to fully comprehend the ramifications of Jesus being our High Priest, we must look back at the Old Testament duties of the High Priest. What was his role? He was God’s representative to the people. He made atonement for the people’s sins by offering the sacrificial blood in God’s presence behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies.
Hebrews 7 begins to make the argument for the weakness of the Old Covenant. The High Priest of the Old Covenant had to be a descendant of Levi. He was limited by human weakness and mortality. He was temporary.
Jesus is our High Priest, but he could not be a priest in the order of Levi – no, he would be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
If you remember the story from Genesis… Lot was captured by a foreign king and Abraham led a war effort to save Lot and all of the people (Gen. 14:14-16). As Abraham was returning home from battle, he met a mysterious king. He was called priest of God most High (Gen. 14:18). Abraham instantly recognized him as one with authority as he bowed and offered the priestly king a tenth of all the spoils.
This is how the author of Hebrews describes Melchizedek:
He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever (Hebrews 7:2-3).
Jesus is our High Priest – not as a Levite – but in the order of Melchizedek. He is not temporary – but eternal. He doesn’t offer the blood of bulls and goats – which are insufficient to atone for sin – he offers his own blood – once and for all.
He is the mediator of a better covenant – a New Covenant written in his blood. His priesthood predates Abraham and encompasses and fulfills all of the regulations of the Old Covenant – but makes possible what was formerly impossible – the salvation of sinners. His sacrifice. His blood. His promise. His intercession. He is our Great High Priest. Draw near and find mercy for your souls!!!
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple! (Psalm 65:4).