Jesus As A Priest In The Old Testament

Ryan Allred (Pastor | Partner Development)

Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”
(Exodus 19:3–6 NLT)

Moses was a special guy. He was a prophet – God spoke to him, and he told the people what God said. Abraham and Noah were special guys too. Abraham was the father of faith. Noah captained a boat full of the only righteous people left on earth. But none of them were priests.

Old Testament priests had an important job. They connected God and people. They prayed for people. They offered sacrifices to God for people. By approaching a holy God on behalf of sinful people, they provided access to the Almighty that would have otherwise been impossible.

God’s people in the Old Testament had priests, but they were all called to be priests. Every single last one of them. God’s heart is for the nations, so he chose one nation to reach the rest of them. All who desire to know God would have access to Him, for a priest would show the way. Millions of priests, all pointing the way to the One True God.

But God’s people failed miserably. At least most of them did. Not even the best among them were good priests, for none could keep God’s covenant. They were selfish, not selfless. They stole from others instead of serving them. They didn’t close the gap between God and people, they expanded it with their arrogance and self-righteousness. In rare moments of candor, the people moaned and pleaded for a good priest to connect them to God. They were so messed up that they gave up on their responsibility to do the same for others.

But in the midst of the people’s unfaithfulness, God was faithful. Psalm 110 promised a coming King who would rule over his enemies, but he would also be a priest forever. In other words, he would be in charge of this planet, but he would do more than rule in justice. He would also connect people to God. And his work in connecting people to God would never end, for he would be God. If people were connected to him, they would be connected to God.

That first Christmas God made good on his promise. His Perfect Priest arrived as Emmanuel, God with us, forever serving as the Great High Priest that connects us to our Heavenly Father. And he empowers us through his Holy Spirit to be the nation of priests God desired all along, pointing the rest of this hurting world to the One True God.

Post Series: Advent 2015

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