Contrasting the New High Priest and the Old

Prophets, priests, and kings were the most important people in Israel. Our Savior Jesus combined all of those roles in one divine/human person.

Today, we compare Jesus with the high priest.

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins (Hebrews 5.1).

The role of a priest is to stand between God and humans. The priest reaches out to God for forgiveness and mercy on humans. At the same time, the priest calls humanity to live in a relationship with God.

The Gentle Priest

Gentleness, humility, empathy, and words like these should describe priests.

Hebrews points out this characteristic.

He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness (Hebrew 5.2).

The high priest can understand sinful behavior, because he is sinful, too. He can relate, but he can’t deliver from the power of sin.

Jesus is different from every other high priest. Yes, he is gentle, empathic, and gracious.

Unlike all other humans, he never committed a sin.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4.15).

Opens the Door to God

Sin separates humans from God. Forgiveness of sins opens the door to a renewed relationship with him.

The high priest made two sacrifices, one for himself and another for the sins of the people.

Because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people (Hebrews 5.3).

Like all high priests, Jesus made purification for sins. Unlike all high priests, Jesus was our sacrifice for sin.

When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1.3).

High Priestly Honor

To be the high priest was one of the highest honors a human could receive. No one chose to be a high priest but was chosen for the position.

And one does not presume to take this honor but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was (Hebrews 5.4).

Jesus was not only the ultimate high priest, but he was also the Son of God.

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.” (Hebrews 5.5)

Jesus was not glorified by the crowd on the day he made purification for our sins. He was abused, reviled, and rejected by the people whom he came to save.

The Son’s devotion to the Father all the way to death was his priestly sacrifice.


The study of Jesus’ high priestly role will be the subject of tomorrow’s article and YouTube video. In tomorrow’s video, Rudy will explain how Jesus is a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

May I encourage you to review this passage in Hebrews and spend time worshiping Jesus, who has given so much to provide salvation for us all.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

I am indebted to Gareth Lee Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews for the information contained in this blog.

Please email your prayer request to The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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