Jesus Christ meets the qualifications to be mediator and high priest to His people. Someone may be qualified for a position without actually having the authority to hold it. Qualification is a prerequisite, but there must be an appointment to the office if the work is to be acceptable and binding. Hebrews 5:4-6 teaches that Jesus is not only qualified to be high priest but that God has also appointed Him to this office.

This matter of appointment is important for two reasons: the first is that it determines the way the office is carried out. Verses 4 and 5 make this point, “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” A true priest is not one who has acted to elevate himself in the eyes of men or God. A true priest is motivated solely by a desire to honor God and serve men, without concern for personal advancement.

Jesus did not come to earth seeking glory for himself but to do the will of his Father in heaven. “If I glorify myself,” he said, “my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me” (John 8:54). Philip Hughes observes. “In assuming the office of savior and high priest, so far was the Son from exalting and glorifying himself that he accepted it knowing full well that it meant for him the experience of the darkest depth of humiliation, rejection, agony and death.”[1]

The writer of Hebrews has long been discussing the matter of believers’ perseverance. He compares his reader’s situation to Israel’s in the desert, when many fell away through disobedience, unbelief and rebellion. This ought to cause God’s people to ask, “How will I fare in the years ahead? Will I persevere through my own struggles and temptations?”

The answer to these questions, and to need of assurance for Christians, is the appointment of Jesus Christ as high priest. He has already completed the work of dying for sin. He has gone into heaven to offer his sacrificial blood for His people’s sake. There He now sits enthroned as priest who ministers on behalf of His people, praying for them, interceding with the Father, and sending the heavenly manna needed to feed and tend to the faith of God’s people. What good news this is! James Boice sums up the point for us: “The reason the saints will persevere is that Jesus has done everything necessary for their salvation. Since he has made a perfect atonement for their sin and since God has sworn to accept Jesus’ work, the believer can be as certain that he or she will be in heaven as that Jesus himself is there.”[2]

 


[1] Philip E. Hughes, A Commentary On The Epistle of Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 180.

[2] James Montgomery Boice, Psalms, v.3 vol. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 3:902.