Monday, March 12, 2012

A Seemingly Impossible Task

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
In the early centuries there was some serious talk that the Book of Hebrews doesn't belong in the Bible. Even today some dear Christian people don't like the main theme of the Book of Hebrews: perfection of character. They say it's impossible, that God can never have a group or body of people on earth who have "overcome even as [Christ] overcame," who reflect as in a mirror the beauty of Christ's perfect character of self-denial. They say that as long as Christ's body on earth is composed of people who have a fallen or sinful nature, it will be impossible for them to be perfect in character.

But for all such the Book of Hebrews presents a formidable challenge: no less than eleven times we read there that perfection of character in His people is the goal that Jesus is working toward (you can read them: 5:14; 6:1; 7:11, 19, 25, 28; 8:9; 10:1, 14;11:40; 13:21).

How does He accomplish this seemingly impossible task? The answer: through His ministry as Great High Priest (also a theme that makes Hebrews unique in the New Testament, for nowhere else in the New Testament is He so designated).

We modern people have a problem identifying with the word "priest," especially "high priest." It embraces so many "offices" that Jesus fills, for He wears many hats: He is a Counselor, a Teacher, a Leader, an Executive, but best of all, He is a Physician, not only of our bodies (He was called "the Great Physician"), but also of our souls. In other words, Jesus as our Great High Priest is functioning as our Divine Psychiatrist. That's what Hebrews 4:15 is telling us: "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." "Wherefore He is able to save them perfectly that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (7:25).

Our problem is simply this: are we willing to humble our hearts and confess that we need the services of a Psychiatrist? Most people will angrily say "No!" They're okay, they insist, "rich and increased with goods" spiritually and mentally; they don't need healing. But the Book of Revelation is in tandem with the Book of Hebrews, and there we read that we are woefully in need of such a Divine Psychiatrist (3:14-21). The Book ends with the assurance that Jesus will have a people on earth who, as a body, respond to His appeal, accept His ministry of "perfection," repent, and prepare for His second coming (7:1-4; 14:1-5, and 19:7-9).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 20, 2000.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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