Today’s Reading: Hebrews 7:18-28
Back in the days when Hulk Hogan was in his prime, there was this one particular wrestler who called himself “Mr. Perfect.” That was his name because, well, I guess he thought he was perfect. He was good looking, muscular, just the right height and weight. He was “perfect,” or so he thought. He was also arrogant and pompous. He was one of the bad guys. Everyone booed him when he came into the ring. Nobody liked him because he thought so much of himself.
The truth is that we all strive for perfection. We don’t want to make mistakes. Whether it’s on the job or raising the kids or whatever, we strive to be Mr. or Miss Perfect. We try so hard to do the absolute best we can. We work hard. We worry about it. We do all we can to be the best we can. We put in extra hours. The problem is that we just can’t seem to reach our ideal perfection. We just can’t measure up.
Why can’t we measure up? Why can’t we be what we want to be? We have limitations. We are limited by time and space. We can’t be everywhere at once. We can’t be at the kids’ sports game and at work at the same time. We also have physical limitations. We get tired. We get sick. Eventually, we’ll die. We won’t be there for the kids forever. We are limited creatures. As much as we like to think that we can do it all, we simply cannot. We just can’t ever live up to our own ideal of who we think we should be.
The passage we read today is a passage of contrasts. It contrasts the “former priests” of the Jewish system with the new High Priest, Jesus Christ. The imperfections of the “former priests” are contrasted with the perfection of Jesus.
Mankind needs a priest in order to come to God. Under the old system, men were appointed as priests. The priests ministered to the people of Israel. They offered the sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. It was their job to represent the people of God before God. There was a problem, as mere men, they could never measure up to God’s standards.
Standing in sharp contrast to this temporary, ineffective human priesthood is Jesus. Verse 24 says, “But he [meaning Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.” Jesus’ priesthood lasts forever because he is alive and well today. The consequence of Jesus’ priesthood is that he can save those who come near to God. When it says that he can “save to the uttermost” it entails both time and quality. He salvation is forever. He is able to save forever because he lives forever. His salvation is also complete. Salvation through Jesus is all we need to make it to heaven. Jesus has none of the limitations that affect us.