Reading: Exodus 28:1-4
The priests perform a very important function in the tabernacle. Sinful people cannot come before holy God, therefore they need a mediator who stands between God and the people to reconcile them. In the Old Testament (OT) the priests perform this task and in this they represent Jesus Christ. The Israelites understand that the priest are sinful like themselves. He cannot enter the tabernacle based in his own innocence, but depended on special rites, that is, by anointing, sacrifices and the shedding of blood. Even then he cannot take away sins; only Jesus Christ can. The people are taught by the priests to direct their eyes to God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Their attention is directed to a better hope than human priests.
To see the greatness of Jesus Christ’s priesthood we compare it to the Old Testament (OT) priests. First, the OT priesthood was temporary; it finished with the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s priesthood is permanent. Today he still intercedes for us. Second, the priests were men who all died; Jesus Christ is superior because He is God who lives forever. Third, the OT priests only appeared before God in the visible tabernacle, but Christ entered into heaven, to present us to His Father as His children. Fourth, the OT priest was a sinner and must seek forgiveness for himself. But Jesus Christ is perfectly righteous; He is free from all guilt, and seeks God’s favour towards us by His own purity. Fifth, the OT priests come to God with the blood of animals to seek forgiveness, but that blood cannot save us. It is only a picture of something much greater, which is Jesus Christ who comes with His own blood and truly takes away sin.
Jesus Christ has a more excellent name and ministry then the OT priests. He is worthy of all praise and glory (Hebrews 1:4 and 8:6).
Key text: Exodus 28:1 “Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.”
Question: Why is Jesus Christ’ priesthood more excellent than that of the OT priests?