STUDY Hebrews 7:23-28
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Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Such a high prist meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. (NIV)
A Permanent Priesthood
In the preceding verses, the author of Hebrews has introduced the argument that one proof of the superiority of Jesus' priesthood to the Levitical priesthood is that Jesus is "a priest forever". (v. 21) He deepens this line of reasoning in verses 23-24 by pointing out that there have been many Levitical priests because they continued to die and replace each other. "But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood." (v. 24)
1. How is mortality a mark of imperfection? (see Genesis 3:3, 19, 22-23; Romans 5:12-14; 6:23)
2. The word "completely" in v. 25 might also be translated "forever". How does a person "qualify" for this complete, eternal salvation? (v. 19; Hebrews 4:16; 10:1, 19-22; Ephesians 2:17-18; 3:12; James 4:7-8)
3. What does it mean, practically, that Jesus "always lives to intercede" for us? (see Romans 8:27; 34-35; Job 16:19-21; Isaiah 53:12; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1; John 17:20-26)
A Priest Who Meets Our Needs
The author continues in this chapter with a detailed comparison of Jesus' nature and work with those of the earthly priests. "Such a high priest meets our need," he says. "Such a high priest" is, as he has previously established, eternal, the "guarantee of a better covenant", endowed with "a permanent priesthood", and "able to save completely".
1. Besides being our God, what qualified Jesus to be a high priest who could meet our needs? (see Hebrews 2:14-15, 17; Philippians 2:6-8; John 1:14)
2. What did Jesus' being "set apart from sinners" make it possible for him to do? (see Isaiah 53:4; Gal. 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 2:22,24; 1 John 3:5)
3. What does it mean that Jesus was "exalted above the heavens"? (see Hebrews 4:14; 6:20; 8:1)
4. Contrast Jesus' work in being "set apart from sinners" with his being exalted above the heavens. What do these two extremes tell you about Him?
Once For All
1. How did Jesus' "once for all" sacrifice affect humanity, and how was this effect different from the effect of the Israelites' sacrifices? (see Romans 6:10; Hebrews 9:12-14, 25-26, 28; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18-20; Eph. 5:1-2; )
2. What made Jesus the perfect substitute?
Priests by Law, Priest by Oath
1. What made the Levitical priests weak? (see v. 23; 5:2)
2. Why did the law appoint weak priests? (see Romans 3:20; Gal. 3:19, 23-25; Col. 2:13-15)
3. The oath which appointed Jesus as the new priest came after the law, declares verse 28. When did God appoint the Son and declare the new priesthood with an oath? (Psalm 110:4-7; Psalm 2:7)
4. The oath foretold the priesthood of the Son, thereby superceding the law. How was Jesus "made perfect forever"? (see Luke 24:26; Hebrews 2:10, 18; 4:15; 5:8-10)
5. Why does the priesthood in the order of Melchizedek take precedence over the law?
1. In what ways have you experienced Jesus interceding for you?
2. How does understanding Jesus' Melchizedek priesthood make a difference in your life?
3. How is your understanding of Jesus' work as your high priest different from when you were in Adventism?
4. Have you experienced Jesus' saving you completely?
1. For what in your life do you need to experience Jesus' intercession?
2. What shame or sin in your life do you fear admitting before your "holy, blameless, [and] pure" high priest?
3. For what sin in your life, past or present, do you feel continuing guilt and a need for forgiveness?
4. Risk trusting Jesus with your sin and memories of guilt. Be willing to completely own your sinfulness and ask him to cover your shame with his blood and forgiveness. Trust his love, knowing that he carried your personal sin to the cross and paid the price of your death. Praise him for saving you and for redeeming your past and your memories.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised February 15, 2001.