Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Lesson XXXII.

THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

FOR

R we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need. For our high priest is one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring, for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation.

HEBREWS, chapters four and five.

THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

A Great Man.

Who was greater than king or warrior among the Jews? The high priest. He was often of more power, because he was looked up to as having from God certain privileges. In the name of Yahweh he warned or advised kings and people. He stood between Yahweh and men. So people feared or trusted him, as it might be.

The First One.

Aaron was the first high priest, and the Jews took great care to preserve the names of those who came after Aaron in the same office.

The dress of the high priest was very strange. He wore several things; and after his death they were used by his successor,- a kind of uniform. Among the articles was the breastplate covered with precious stones, a broidered coat, bonnet or turban, girdle, ephod. As you see, all this made the high priest appear different from other men.

In most of our churches the preachers wear black clothes very much the same as other persons. But the Roman Catholic priests are more like the old Jewish ministers in their dress.

The high priest had many ordinary priests to help him. They kept the fire burning on the altar, offered sacrifices, heard the confessions of worshippers, read prayers, taught the children, and cared for the temple. But the high priest was greatest of all.

Prophet or Priest.

As we read the history of the Jews, we find that the priests were not always true and faithful. They became selfish, and obeyed the wishes of wicked kings and rulers. Not all were so bad as this. Sometimes a prophet arose, and rebuked the priests, the wicked kings, and the erring people. Isaiah, JereEvidently, the priests

miah, Hosea, were prophets, not priests. often grew timid or became mere servants; and the fire of soul died out.

Our Passage.

But in the passage from Hebrews our selection for this

lesson, we have a noble picture of a real high priest. It refers to Jesus.

He is called a high priest because the writer was reasoning with the Hebrews, and trying to show how much better the new gospel was. He used many of the old words and phrases to prove that Jesus put a new meaning into old things. Jesus never called himself a high priest, but we can see how the name might have force with the Jews.

Some of the high priests were cold, haughty, and stern. The people knew it, but did not dare to say much.

This writer to the Hebrews says: In Jesus we have a high priest who is tender and loving. He has suffered. He knows our troubles. He will have sympathy. So let us draw near with boldness; for he will listen, and understand our needs. Old and New.

In this picture of the better high priest we see what is meant by the Old and the New. The old religion was made hard and strict; the new was loving and forgiving. The old had many forms; the new did not care for them. The old high priest lived by himself, was rarely seen, was fond of attention, and demanded obedience. The new high priest, Jesus, went about among the people, served others, blest little children, and ruled by love.

Because of this great difference Jesus was not accepted by the people, only by a few. They expected that a "man of God' would show power like a great general or worship at the temple, like Aaron of old. They did not like the priests and their harsh, selfish ways; yet they were afraid to follow Jesus because he seemed too much like themselves.

Truth or Form.

We must learn, what was not understood then, that truth is the only real thing, and form is but the garment. A high priest is not made by his clothes, however striking. The old way was to make religion seem strong and true by forms; the new way, the Jesus way, is to prove our religion by character.

The great thing to learn from our Passage is that Jesus helps us by his example. He lived on the earth, suffered, and conquered. We have a guide in him. He is not one who speaks from the dim, mysterious corner of a temple, bidding people go and do their duty to God and man. These are the words of Scripture:

No.

Our high priest is one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring, for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. He learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and, having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation. Come with Me.

Jesus does not say, Go! He gives the invitation, Come! He does not stand aloof and watch our struggles. His spirit attends those who are seeking light and life. "Come with me,” he says, "and we will live the good life. Come with me, and let us walk toward the light." Not in one temple made of wood and stone, but in each temple of a human heart, the Master is heard with his loving message.

HINTS FOR TEACHERS.

1. Facts about the high priest and the Jewish priesthood will prove interesting to the pupils.

2. Describe clearly the differences between prophets and priests in the Hebrew national life.

3. Distinguish for the pupils the fitness and the unfitness of the term "high priest " as applied to Jesus.

4. Bring out the contrasts between the Old and the New,between the "law" of Moses and the " gospel" of Jesus.

QUESTIONS FOR PUPILS.

Who was a great man among the Jews? Can you tell what a high priest did? What was the duty of other priests? Did they dress differently from other men? Was the high priest always kind and good? How does this name apply to Jesus? Why is he a better high priest than the old ones? What is a religion of form? What is a religion of spirit? Who was the first Jewish high priest?

Lesson XXXIII.

PRACTICAL RELIGION.

BUT

UT be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if any one is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and in lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will shew thee my faith. Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and shudder. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren.

JAMES, chapters one and two.

« VorigeDoorgaan »