The most superior High Priest (Hebrews 7:20–28)
To live by faith requires that we see only with the mind’s eye the Person who is there for us as the believer’s representative before God and God’s representative to us. This is Jesus whose superior priesthood was enumerated in chapter 5 and is now described again in climax. Having been called to draw near to God through Him (4:16), the readers are now assured that He is able to save them to the uttermost. The author helps us see who we have at God’s right hand.
I. Jesus is the Guarantor of a better covenant (7:20–22).
1. The guarantor (7:22) is the person who guarantees the fulfilment of obligations between two parties, even assuming the payment of debts.
Though Jesus is the one Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), He is more than Mediator, He is a Guarantor. He is more because He “gave Himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:6).
The terms for acceptability with God is righteousness, which we cannot bring. But Jesus guarantees our acceptance with God, because He has paid our debt and His righteousness is reckoned to those who believe.
2. The oath which God made is the reason Jesus is a guarantor of the covenant (7:20–21). The oath, by which God would not change His mind, emphasized the permanence of Jesus’ role as priest, man’s representative to God. The oath introduced a new priesthood which required a change in law, and a new covenant, the obligations of which were guaranteed by the Christ.
II. Jesus is an utmost Savior of those who draw near to God (7:23–25).
1. Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him”.
There is an assured, complete and eternal rescue from certain judgment (2:1–4; 9:27–28; 10:26–31), but only for those who draw near to God through Jesus, that is, they have placed their trust in Him as their Savior and Lord.
The saving work of Jesus includes His continued intercession as Priest for those who have drawn near. Having made total and final purification for sin (vs. 27; cf. 1:3), and being exalted to the right hand of the throne of God who graciously gives believers all things (Romans 8:32), He intercedes for us when Satan accuses or would want to harm us (cf. Luke 22:32; John 17).
2. The eternal life of Christ allows a permanent priesthood and uninterrupted intercession. Unlike Aaronic priests who died and required successors, Jesus lives and therefore has a permanent priesthood. There is therefore no interruption of His intercession.
The believer is assured of constant and immediate access to God through Jesus. Nothing can or may be added. Jesus saves to the “uttermost”, nothing interrupts His intercession for the believer.
III. A holy, perfectly fitting High Priest (7:26–28).
1. He is holy (7:26).
He is separated from all sinfulness and exalted upon all creation. Cf. Isaiah 57:15; Romans 1:3; Hebrews 1:3; 5:5. Only a sinless Savior can save others who are condemned because of their sin. Only an exalted Savior is in the position to affect that salvation.
2. He offered a once-for-all sacrifice, Himself! (7:27)
Since He is holy, He needs no sacrifice for Himself. He has permanent access to the Father without any need of sacrifice for Himself. For us He offered Himself as an eternally & thoroughly effective sacrifice.
3. He is eternal, divine Son (7:28).
This is the fact which makes His sacrifice eternally and thoroughly effective. As Son (cf. 1:1–3) He represents those who draw near to God through Him. His infinite holy Person is a more than adequate sacrifice in the place of all who come.
Believers love Jesus and believe in Him without having seen Him (1 Peter 1:8–9). You do not need the tangible, when you are assured of the perfect representative in the very presence of God. Rejoice in all that you have in Jesus and take advantage of the access which He has provided.
Questions for further reflection and discussion:
• When and where can you (should you) find comfort in the fact that Jesus is the Guarantor of God’s new covenant?
• Do people ever wonder if there is some sin that God would not forgive? Do you? Is there some battle with sin which you wonder if God might not help? Why is Jesus’ intercession and saving to the uttermost helpful?
• How would you describe the value of our salvation to God in light of His appointment of His Son to accomplish that task?
Basel Christian Fellowship © 2019 David Manduka