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Explore the Bible

Sunday, October 19

with Shelby Hazzard

Only Jesus Saves

Hebrews 7:23-28

A Permanent Priest (23-24) Numbers 20:27-29, “27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain.

“The Aaronic priests were appointed on a hereditary principle, but none enjoyed the priestly dignity in perpetuity. Aaron, the first of Israel’s high priests, served his people throughout the wilderness wanderings. But on his death, Eleazar his son succeeded him. After the settlement in the land of Canaan Eleazar died (Josh. 24:33) and was succeeded by his son Phinehas. This succession continued until the fall of the second temple in a.d. 70, when temple worship ceased. According to Josephus, eighty-three high priests in all served from Aaron until the end. There is good reason for our author’s assertion: those other priests were ‘appointed in numerous succession’ (NEB) because death prevented them from continuing in office. The mortality of the Levites has been mentioned previously (7:8). (Hebrews, O’Brien, Logos).

Able to Save (7:25) Christ is able to save his people utterly because he always lives to intercede for them. This describes the active, representative ministry which Christ effects for believers during this present age. The adverbial clause, he always lives, is an inference drawn from Psalm 110:4, and ‘asserts emphatically that Jesus’ capacity for effectively acting on behalf of his people is unlimited’. The verb rendered to intercede basically means ‘to meet, or encounter’ and comes to be used of an ‘approach on behalf of someone’. (Hebrews, O’Brien, Logos) He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him…How do those draw near to God to be saved? We find the answer in John 6:43-46, “43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Paul said it a different way in Romans 10:17, “17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Those who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, have been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit and now have access to God through Christ and he lives to make intercession for them…Romans 8:26-27, “26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Because of His Character (26-28) In view of His superior ministry it is only fitting that our High Priest should be a superior Person. “Holy” (Gr. hosios) stresses blamelessness. (Another word translated “holy,” hagios, stresses separateness.) “Innocent” means without guile or malice. “Undefiled/unstained” looks at His absolute purity. “Separated from sinners” probably refers to His being in a different class from sinful people. Jesus was not only inherently pure, but He remains pure in all His contacts with sinners. (Hebrews, Constable, 74)

The contrast between the levitical order and the order of Melchezidek could not be more marked: the former compromising a numerous succession of mortal and sinful priests offering over and over again a multitude of sacrifices, a system by its very nature stamped with imperfection and impermanence; the latter comprising but one priest, one because of the spotless sanctity of his ever continuing life, who offered up but one sacrifice, one because of its all-sufficient fullness, susceptible therefore of neither addition nor repetition, the sacrifice, moreover, not of some uncomprehending beast, but of himself, the beloved Son of God, who by reason of his incarnation was able to offer up himself in our stead. (Hebrews, Hughes, 278)

Jesus Christ is the permanent priest, who is able to save because of his divine character. Place your believe and trust in Him and he will save you today!

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Hazzard is pastor of Woodland Church, Columbus.