Advent_165

Jesus As A Priest In The New Testament

Zach Farrar (Community Groups Coordinator)

Our world is flush with advocacy. From animal cruelty prevention groups to disaster relief aid to feeding families in famine-ravaged countries, we are constantly reminded of the needs of others through social media, news, and even friendly interactions with friends. Particularly at Christmastime.

Fighting for someone is an interesting thing. If we are fighting to end human trafficking, a unique relationship is made. If we succeed in our campaign to change legislation or raise funds to rescue victims or donate to help comfort and counsel those affected by this horrible trade, we are in a way, becoming their practical representative. Their freedom is linked to our efforts. If we succeed, they find hope and may in fact be rescued. If we slack off or give it a half-hearted effort, they may benefit some, but may not find total freedom from slavery. In short, when we stand in the gap for someone in need, we are their advocate. Their hope, life, and freedom in many ways hinge on how we perform. Success can lead to life. Laziness and half-hearted efforts can lead to continued slavery and despair.

This is an extreme example. I realize that. But it points out the truth that much of our lives hinge upon others advocating for us. That raise you got at work this week? That came in part because your boss advocated on your behalf. Your family’s travel plans this holiday? All based on your decision as a parent about what was best for your family this Christmas – be it celebrating at Grandma’s or your own place. We can’t get away from the reality that our decisions in a lot of ways each day, are decisions made for others and that deeply affect them.

But none of us can effectively argue and advocate for our deepest need – peace with God. We each have rebelled and sinned against Him. As sinners enslaved in our sin, no human can stand before God and argue his own case, let alone the innocence of another. It’s a hopeless situation if we are left on our own to plead our cause.

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth. But why? What is so special about this little baby born in obscurity in a relatively inconsequential corner of the world?

We celebrate at Christmas because in Christ, God provided us with an Advocate. With a Great High Priest who was like us in many ways – weak, capable of making innocent mistakes, full of emotions, and more – but who was unique from us in one particular way – He was God in the flesh and would never rebel against the Father. He was the Perfect Advocate. He didn’t need anyone to argue His worth or innocence before God. The Father knew Him from eternity past and knew His life on earth was blameless.

1 John is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Its picture of Jesus is phenomenal, calling us to view Him highly. But it is also so incredibly practical. In 1 John 2:1 we see this perspective when John wrote:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

In that one simple verse we see so much. John was writing to his fellow believers to instruct them on how to live an honorable, upright, pleasing life before the Lord. And yet He also understood that none of us can do that perfectly. We all still sin. And so He reminded us of our great representative, of the Great High Priest – the Advocate – who argues on our behalf before God. It’s not another man who has is own brokenness, pride, selfishness, addiction, and sin to overcome. It is God Himself in the flesh. It is Jesus. But it’s not just simply Jesus, John reminds us of His title – Jesus Christ the Righteous. Our Advocate, our Representative, our Great High Priest who goes to God on behalf of us, is totally perfect. He is righteous. And since He is our representative-priest-advocate, His righteousness is our righteousness.

At the cross, Jesus offered Himself on our behalf as the perfect sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 2:17). As our Advocate, He took our sin and punishment for us, and gave us His righteousness. Martin Luther called this the Great Exchange, where we give Jesus every broken, warped, perverted piece of who we are and He gives us His perfect, obedient life before God. And now, even now, when we struggle to obey, when we sin in our pride, Jesus stands before God as our Advocate, as our High Priest, and constantly pleads before God, “Remember them Father! They have my righteousness. Yes they still sin and make mistakes, but don’t forget that I am their Advocate. My victory, My death, My righteousness, is also their own because they have trusted me.”

That is why we celebrate on Christmas. We remember when the Prince of Peace, Immanuel, came to our world, not for glory, but so that He could be our Great High Priest, our Advocate. At Christmas, we remember with gratitude and joy our Advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Post Series: Advent 2015

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  1. Pingback: Jesus Our Great High Priest: Applying It To Life – Part 2 | RADIUS Church

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