“So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’;” vs. 5
In the years before the destruction of the temple by the Romans the office of the high priest, once occupied only by the holiest of men, often went to the highest bidder. Herod the Great and later, the Roman governor would appoint and depose at will, depending on the size of the bribe or the political situation. The most important duty of the high priest was to go alone into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for sins of the people. Once the temple was destroyed of course, that practice came to an end for the Jews…but not for Christians! The writer of Hebrews was convinced that the Christ had been appointed as the high priest forever in his baptism…he had not sought the position, but had been chosen. As the new eternal high priest, Christ, through his obedience and suffering, had brought about salvation for all humanity. Through him the work of atonement had taken place once for all. Naturally this kind of sacrificial language seems strange to most of us, and at times this letter to the Hebrews can be a challenge. In those moments, rather than dismissing the atonement talk, we can profit by simply celebrating the forgiveness that we have by grace through faith. In Christ we have been made clean!
Thought for the Day: What makes me feel dirty?