Then there’s Jesus Christ, who meets us where we are and deals gently with us. Today, tomorrow, forever. Being a high priest for all and forever is no joking matter. It’s not a role anyone would want. Yet, Jesus said yes. With gentleness and humility, Jesus accepted this role given by God because he was God’s beloved son. What a succinct Christological statement: Jesus Christ is a priest for all and forever!
Many find it easier to view Jesus as prophet, provocateur, and pastor than high priest. The title itself can carry baggage—abuse of power or holding on to traditions that seem nonsensical. Jesus accepted his priestly role and offered prayers and supplications for all—especially for the least, the last, and the lost. Jesus accepted his priestly title and gave new meaning to old traditions. Jesus accepted his priestly role and met people where they were and ministered to them, not from a place of power but from a place of vulnerability.
This passage reminds us that Jesus didn’t challenge his place or his role. He understood his place, as difficult and challenging as it might have been, as listening to God’s will and living out God’s bigger plan. The plan included a world’s salvation, victory over death, and unimaginable and unbounded love. At their best, high priests offer a glimpse of what the reign of God can be: a world of justice, love, and salvific acts done on behalf of others.
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul. (UMH, no. 292)
At this point in Job’s story, God has heard questions from Job and long-winded moralizing by three of Job’s friends, who have pronounced that his misfortunes are divine judgment. Now God has heard enough and declares that God’s perspective is superior to theirs. God has been there from the beginning, as the psalmist reiterates, so no one should claim to know God’s mind or speak on God’s behalf. Even Jesus, the divine Son of God, yields to his heavenly Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus made appeals to God as the ultimate high priest and thereby became the source of salvation for those who obey him. In the Gospel reading, Jesus specifies that his approaching act of submission and service will allow him to become a ransom for us.
• Read Job 38:1-7, 34-41. How do you continue to see the goodness of God when you find yourself in situations of intense suffering?
• Read Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c. Where do you catch glimpses of God? How significant is God’s natural world in your ability to see the holy?
• Read Hebrews 5:1-10. In what ways does the understanding of Jesus’ willing vulnerability while serving as high priest affect your interactions with others?
• Read Mark 10:35-45. When have you made a bold request of God? What was God’s reply?
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