In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Today we’re going to start learning about how Jesus is a priest of God.
One of the primary functions of the priestly office is to offer sacrifices to God for sin.
Thus in the Old Testament there are very specific commands given to priests on how to make sacrifices that would be acceptable to God. For example: ‘The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned–its hide, flesh, blood and offal. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening’ (Numbers 19:1-7).
So the question is, did Jesus offer a sacrifice for sins that was acceptable to God? Yes. And Jesus actually offered a sacrifice better than an animal, he offered his pure self. The author of Hebrews tells us: ‘The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!’ (Hebrews 9:13-14).
Therefore Jesus is both a priest and a sacrifice. And if we trust in him as our priest then his sacrifice atones for our sins.
So do you recognise that Jesus is a priest who has offered himself as a sacrifice for sin? Have you trusted in him so that his sacrifice is for your sin?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.