Will the Real Jesus Christ Please Sit Down
“To Tell the Truth” is an American television game show that has appeared in various formats over the years. The show features a panel of four celebrities whose object is to correctly identify a described contestant who has an unusual occupation or has undergone an unusual experience. This person is among two other people who acts as imposters. The celebrities will ask questions of the group, and at the end of the show will try to surmise which of the three people is telling the truth. The show climaxes after the celebrity votes are in, with the host saying, “Will the real (person’s name) please stand up.”
Let’s talk about a truth involving Jesus Christ that causes him to stand out among not just a small group, but among many who would appear to provide a similar form of ministry. The book of Hebrews explains that, under the previous covenant God made with Israel, every high priest ministered with gifts and sacrifices according to the law given through Moses. They stood and ministered daily, offering the same sacrifices that could never take away sins. There wasn’t a labor union representing priests on this “assembly” line, therefore no lounge or coffee breaks were permitted in the temple, because the priests would not be allowed to sit, but had to keep standing. Why? It’s simple—the job was never finished:
“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for his feet” (Hebrews 10:11-13 NASB).
Before the cross, as long as people kept sinning, priests would have to keep sacrificing for the atonement of those sins. The atonement was a covering, but it did not remove the sin. By the way, the priests also offered up sacrifices for their own sins as well as those of the people. All of this brought a constant reminder of sins and burdened the people with a sin consciousness of guilt from which they couldn’t escape.
In order to be delivered from this dilemma, a change of priesthood would need to occur, and all of the old law had to be entirely replaced with something new, as confirmed in Hebrews 7:12: “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.” This is huge! The word change in this instance means “change, transformation, removal, desert, transfer.” In other words, the change of law that occurred wasn’t a revision of the existing law; it was withdrawn, removed and abandoned. There would be an immediate transfer from one covenant to another, as something brand new was established. If this is not the case, then Jesus could not claim the title of high priest. Why? Because Jesus descended from the tribe of Judah, which is not the required tribe the priests came from under the law (the Levites).
The former priests, many in number, kept standing. They were prevented from continuing because they would die and be replaced by others. Jesus holds the priesthood permanently because he continues to live forever, eternally making intercession for us. Our High Priest didn’t just take a bow, He sat down. There will be no encore and no second act, so don’t expect a curtain call, because the temple’s curtain was torn in two after the final sacrifice for sin. The Old Covenant with the law and commandments, were weak and useless, and were replaced with the guarantee of a better covenant…our one High Priest, Jesus Christ.
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