David Jeremiah - Someone Like Me
Hello, I'm David Jeremiah, and welcome to "Turning Point". On today's important telecast, I'll be highlighting what makes Christianity unique among all the world's religions. We're in a series on the New Testament book of Hebrews called "Jesus Is Enough". And today's message is entitled "Someone Like Me". That title is a perfect introduction to the very thing that makes Christianity different than any other religion. In order for the sins of mankind to be removed between man and God, someone like us, a human being, but one who had not sinned would have to pay for those sins in order that the rest of us might be forgiven and set free. And that is exactly what Jesus did as the God man. So, join me to discover why our Savior had to be someone like you and me on today's edition of "Turning Point".
If you read the New Testament, you will soon discover, especially if you're looking for it, that the New Testament describes our Savior in great detail. During his life on this earth, we discover as we read about him in the gospels that the Lord Jesus Christ was an emotional creature. His emotions are recorded for us. And if we study it, we will begin to pick out certain things about the emotion of the Lord. In short, he's just like me, he's just like you, he's just like us. He became like unto his brethren, the Scripture says. And we have someone that we can relate to who is like us.
When you study the book of Hebrews and you begin to realize that there's a lot of material in here about our great High Priest, the Lord Jesus, it may not strike you as to why this is happening until you remember that the book of Hebrews is a book that challenges us to go on in our Christian life and not to quit. The Word in the book is, "Let us go on. Let us keep going. Let's not stop when we get out of Egypt. Let's stay strong through the wilderness until we get to the Promised Land".
And so, in the midst of that instruction to persevere in our faith, we are introduced to this person who the Bible speaks of as our great High Priest, even the Lord Jesus Christ himself. As we turn our attention to the fifth chapter of Hebrews, we are reminded that our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, is eminently qualified to serve in the role which has been assigned to him. The fifth chapter is divided into two sections. The first three verses of chapter 5 tell us about the qualities of a high priest that were required of a high priest who served in the Old Testament. And then the rest of the chapter tells us how Jesus Christ fulfills all of those requirements and is therefore legitimately a High Priest for us.
And some of this is Old Testament history, which is very intriguing and interesting because for many of us, we don't know very much about that, so it helps us to get the background and then we understand it better. In the Old Testament, if a man were chosen to be a high priest for the people of Israel, there were two qualities that he had to possess. The first one was he had to be able to intercede for man. It says in verse 1, "For every high priest", speaking of the Old Testament high priests, "every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins".
Now, here it is important for us to understand the difference between the prophet and a priest. It was the role of a prophet to represent God to man. So, when you're reading the Old Testament, you'll often see that somebody is in trouble and God sends his prophet to straighten them out. Remember when David was numbering the people and he shouldn't have been numbering the people. And when finally Joab came back and gave him the number, the Bible says that David realized he had sinned, and God sent his prophet Gad to see David and tell David what God wanted him to know about what he had done.
That's what a prophet does. A prophet comes from God with the message of God to the people. A priest, on the other hand, represents men to God. And it's very important to understand that because in the Old Testament, there is not one single verse that would tell you that a priest ever forgave or absolved anyone from their sin. That wasn't their role. Only God can forgive sin. Now, notice secondly it says here in verses 2 and 3 that an Old Testament priest not only had to intercede for man, but he had to identify with man.
Notice he can have compassion on those who are ignorant, verse 2, and going astray since he himself is also subject to weakness. Because of this, he is required, as of the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. Now, the Old Testament priest had to be not only a person who could intercede for man, but in order to do that, he had to be able to identify with man. That's why he was chosen from among men, because then he would feel what other men felt.
The Bible says he ministered out of his own inequities, his own problems. He understood what it was like to be a sinner, you know why? Because he was a sinner. He understood what it was like to feel like he had been unfaithful because sometimes he was unfaithful. And the Bible says that the Old Testament priests had to have this perfect quality that would not over-respond to what somebody had done, nor under-respond to it either. He would not just say, "Well, that doesn't matter", and sin would be unnoticed or undealt with. Nor on the other hand would he throw the book at a person when they made a mistake. He had to have this gentle quality about him.
And the Bible says in verses 2 and 3 he had to have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray. In other words, he's dealing with people who are sinning unintentionally, that's what he means here, ignorant and going astray, unintentional sin. How many of you believe that you have committed some unintentional sin? If you didn't raise your hand, that means all of your sin is premeditated. Do you want me to ask that question again? I will ask that question again.
Now, let me throw a New Testament verse in here that brings this all into our experience. All of us, as we are told in the New Testament, in a spiritual sense are priests unto God. So, we're always dealing with others, and we're always going to be involved with people who go through stuff, and sometimes we are asked to get involved with people who are going through stuff. Let me tell you how we're supposed to do it and see if this doesn't seem like what we just read.
Galatians chapter 6, verses 1 to 3, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass", what does that sound like? An unintentional sin, doesn't it? "If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit", and what's the word, class? Gentleness. "Considering yourself, lest you also be tempted, bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself".
What a good word for all of us today. Like the Old Testament high priests, when unintentional sin comes across our path and we're asked to deal with it, let us do so with a spirit of gentleness, not under-responding by say, "It doesn't matter", or over-responding by nailing the person to the wall. The next part of this chapter is really interesting because the writer of Hebrews knows he's dealing with Hebrew readers, and he wants them to understand that he comprehends the Old Testament requirements for a high priest.
Now he's going to prove without any controversy that Jesus Christ qualifies in every special way as our High Priest. First of all, he is appointed as a High Priest. He's an appointed High Priest. Hebrews 5:4 and 6 says, "And no man takes this honor of the priesthood to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify himself to become High Priest, but it was he who said to him, 'You are my Son. Today, I have begotten you'". He also says in another place, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek".
Now, the Bible says that an Old Testament priest could not appoint himself to that role. You couldn't just get up one morning if you were in the Jewish family and tell your parents, "I've decided that I'm going to become a priest". It didn't work that way. You had to be appointed as a priest, and you had to come from a special family to qualify. You had to be from Aaron's family. Exodus chapter 28 tells us that God appointed Aaron and his sons to be the priests unto God for Israel. So, a priest had to be a person who was appointed by God.
Now, look at the text we just read. Was Jesus Christ appointed by God? It says that he was called by God just as Aaron was. And the Bible says that he did not glorify himself. In other words, he didn't take to himself this priestly ministry, but God gave it to him, for it was God who said to him, "You are my Son and I have begotten you". So, Jesus qualifies, first of all, because he was appointed by God to be High Priest. That was his heavenly qualification. But he has an earthly qualification that's really intriguing to me because in the next little part of this chapter, we run into this guy who we meet several other times in the book of Hebrews, and his name is Melchizedek. Say that with me, Melchizedek.
Who in the world is Melchizedek? Where'd he come from? The Bible says that Jesus is qualified to be High Priest because God appointed him, and because he comes from a different order of priesthood, not Aaron's order, but the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek? Well, if you know the Bible and you've read the Old Testament, you realize that back in the 14th chapter in the book of Genesis, you meet this guy, Melchizedek. You meet him in a very interesting situation. Abraham has come back from rescuing his nephew, and he's destroyed the armies that have taken Lot away. And he's coming back home and the Bible says he's got all the spoils of victory. And on his way home, he meets this person called Melchizedek, and the Bible tells us he is a king priest. He's the king of Salem.
Salem is the early term that was used for Jerusalem. In other words, this king priest was the king of Jerusalem, and he meets Abraham on his way back from the war, and we're told that he was a priest of the Most High God. And the Bible tells us that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, and then that story is just sort of left there. You come to Hebrews and you read that Jesus Christ is a Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
First, you need to understand how important that is because Melchizedek had been around a lot longer than Aaron. You remember that the Jewish people were trying to make a case for the Old Testament way of doing things, and so they would be very, very careful to make sure that whoever claimed to be a high priest came from the right order. We're told by the writer of Hebrews that Jesus came from a different order, he came from the order of Melchizedek, which predates Aaron by thousands of years.
When you come to the seventh chapter of the book of Hebrews, Melchizedek is described in one verse, and here's the verse, verse 3, "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, and remaining a priest continually". What does that sound like? That sounds like Melchizedek is a picture in the Old Testament of the eternal Christ, without beginning and without end. And he is a priest for how long, class? Forever.
The Aaronic priest ended at the end of the life of every priest and had to be passed on to the next one, but the priesthood of Melchizedek was eternal, it never ended. And where did Jesus get his earthly qualification to be a Priest? He's a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. So, we're going to leave Melchizedek alone for a while. We may meet him again later, but I only want you to understand that the first way that Jesus qualifies to be a legitimate High Priest for us is he was appointed by Almighty God and he is in the order of Melchizedek. And is he qualified? Eminently so.
Notice secondly, not only is he appointed High Priest, he's approved as High Priest. Verses 7 and 8 says, "Who in the days of his flesh", the Lord Jesus, in the days of his flesh, "when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and was heard because of his godly fear, for though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience in the things which he suffered". The Bible says Jesus was God in the flesh. His human life is mentioned in the phrase "in the days of his flesh" in the Scripture. His human needs are indicated in the mention of his prayers. He offered up prayers.
Throughout his entire lifetime, if you study it in the gospels, Jesus's life was dominated by his praying. Any time there was an issue that Jesus had to face; when he was selecting those who would be his disciples, we're told that he spent hours in prayer. When he sent his disciples out on the sea to teach them faith, where was Jesus? He was in the mountains praying for them. All throughout the Scripture, you see Jesus praying. And by the way, every time you think maybe it's not important for you to pray, just remember if the Son of God, who was perfect, still had to pray and felt the need to pray, maybe I should try to find some time to do it so I can make it through life as well. The prayer that's mentioned here, however, is not just a prayer, it's the prayer, the prayer that was prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
Do you remember that prayer? He said, "Lord, let this cup pass from me". And when you first read that, you're just confused because we understand, do we not, that Jesus came to this earth so that he might die. That was his whole purpose, he was born to die. So, why would he, at this important point in his life, decide that he didn't want to die? That's not what's going on at all. In fact, in John 12:27, we read Jesus's words, he says, "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for the purpose of this hour I came".
So, the question is, when do you think Jesus finally understood that when he died on the cross, he would bear all of the sin of the whole world in his body on a tree? I'm going to answer the question. I believe that happened to him in the garden of Gethsemane. I believe that when he prayed there in that garden, all of a sudden the burden of the sin of the world began to fall upon his body. And the Bible tells us that his grief was so great in that moment that he sweat great drops of blood. The anguish of bearing the sin for the whole world. Was Jesus asking to get out of the assignment? No, he was asking for God to help him through it, to minister to him, to get him through death. He was asking that death would not be the end, which is, course, his prayer was answered in the resurrection. But in this moment in the garden, the Bible tells us he felt every emotion you can imagine.
I don't know what kind of anguish you may have known in your life, but the Bible tells us in Mark chapter 14 that he was troubled and deeply distressed, he was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death, and he fell on the ground and prayed. In fact, his anguish was so intense, the Bible says that God the Father sent an angel down to comfort him. Luke 22:43, "And an angel appeared to him from heaven to strengthen him". I've told you this story because this is how Jesus was approved to be our High Priest. He was made to go through the anguish and suffering of humanity at its lowest point so there could never be anything that you and I would ever experience that would be greater than what he experienced. He suffered it all.
The Bible says he did it that he might be obedient in his suffering. That doesn't mean he was ever disobedient. Jesus never had a disobedient moment in his life. But obedience to suffering means that he allowed the full core of suffering to take its course. He never opted out during the process. He was obedient to the call of suffering all the way to the end. Had he ever been disobedient in his life? No. When he was a child, we are told of him, "I must be about my Father's business".
As he grew, we are told in John 4, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and finish his work". In John 5, "I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father". In John 6, "I have come down not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me". Jesus always did the will of his Father. But he was obedient unto suffering so that he never let any of the suffering get aborted in the process. He felt it all.
The next time you're going through a tough time, the next time you think nobody understands, "I don't know how I can even talk about this, there's nobody for me to go to", let me tell you something, your High Priest in heaven has been there and done that 100 times more than you will ever, ever dream of experiencing. Hebrews later on says, "Have you suffered restraining against blood"? No, but he did. He suffered in a moment of time the entire weight of the sin of the whole world. And then thirdly, he's an accredited High Priest.
Notice verses 9 and 10, "Having been perfected, he became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him, called by God as High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek". What does this mean, class? This means that Jesus Christ has accomplished everything that needs to be accomplished for him to qualify as your Priest. The Bible says, "He is the author of eternal salvation". He's the author of it. And he is eminently qualified to do all that is needed from a high priest, for you and for me. Because you see, as great as he is, he's just like us. And when we go to him, he understands every weakness that we will ever feel, and he ever lives to make intercession for us at the right hand of the Father.