Readers Question / Comment - Thoughts on the resurrection and Jesus as our High Priest

Hello, Iain,
My name is Quello and I´ve written you a couple of times before. I am always blessed when I read your website and I share its contents with as many people as I can and I tell them to visit the site themselves.
This mail is to share with you an insight into God's Word regarding Jesus' resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins. Many years ago, whenever I read I Corinthians 15:17 that says that if Jesus did not rise from the dead we are still in our sins I always had a hard time understanding it (not believing it. I believed it by faith, but did not understand). So, many years passed until one day upon reading various Bible studies, by the Lord's grace I came to the understanding of that verse. You see, I used to think that our salvation was only linked to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, which is correct of course. But I stumbled to see the direct correlation between our salvation and the resurrection of the Lord. Well, the answer lies in the epistle to the Hebrews. Hebrews is the Leviticus of the New Testament, so to speak. It is the fulfilment of it. In the gospels we see Jesus' sacrifice in light of the Passover feast (speaking of the feasts of the Messiah which you have written about). But in Hebrews, that same sacrifice of Jesus is presented in light of another feast. Can you guess which one? (oh, no! I am beginning to write like you, after reading your site for so many years! lol). Ok, so it's Yom Kippur, which harkens back to Leviticus 16 and the rituals therein performed. Then it became clear to me that just as the high priest had to come out of the holy of holies alive after presenting the blood of the sacrifice before (and on) the ark of the covenant in order for the sins of the nation to be considered forgiven, so the resurrection of Jesus guarantees that God was pleased with His Son's sacrifice and deemed it sufficient to have our sins forgiven. It meant that our high priest Jesus had come out alive after presenting the offering of Himself to the Father. Jesus is both our high priest and the sacrifice. But had Jesus remained dead, since He was our high priest, our sins (and their penalty!) would still be upon us for it would have meant that His sacrifice was unacceptable before the Father. Whew! Pretty amazing, ha? God's Word is perfect and harmonic. No loose ends. Everything has a reason for being there! Even if it took thousands of years to find the fulfilment in Jesus. Well, I would like your feedback as time permits to hear your thoughts on what I just shared. Thank you again for being such a powerful instrument of blessing to all of us who read your Bible studies.

Your sister in Christ, Quello.

JPN Reply:

Hi Quello,

first things first... I'm glad you have noticed that you have picked up a very worrying habit of writing like me. Fight it Quello... Resist it! I feel for you... It will do you no good! : )

Right, now onto serious matters! Thanks for writing in again. And that's a great point you have raised which I hadn't thought about. But it makes sense. I remembered how the people waiting patiently when Zacharias went in to perform his priestly duties in Luke 1:21. They were all waiting to see what happened to him and it was the same, but more so, when the High Priest went in on the Day of Atonement. Seeing the High Priest emerge would have given the people great heart. Actually the verse that came to mind was:

Acts 17:30-31 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (31) because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."

Jesus being raised was the proof, the assurance, the Jesus is the One ordained by the Father.

But anyway, thank you for putting the two thoughts together cos I hadn't thought about it. It is amazing when you see how the New fulfills the Old (and the Old pictures the New).

Here is one for you... I didn't think of this one either but a person at my church was talking about Jesus' trial and standing before the High Priest, and especially how the High Priest tore his clothes. I hadn't given that any thought... but do you see any significance in it. Why tear his robes/clothes? We actually discussed it in our church at the end of the sermon and the reason being is as follows (and this goes back to Leviticus as well - which is why I mentioned it)... I've recently written a little on it:

Read Matt 26:57-67 for a dramatic courtroom prosecution Jewish style. Jesus quotes a combination of Psalm 110:1 and Dan 7:13 concerning Himself before the High Priest… And for speaking the truth, they announce the death sentence! There is also a very interesting picture in this act from the High Priest. In recoil and disgust at what Jesus said (which was the truth) we read that the High Priest ‘tore his robes’. You might think, ‘ok, he tore his robes... so what?’ You need to remember that this was the High Priest whose robes were specifically designed and instructed from God Himself. Each part of the robe spoke of Him who was coming who would be the true High Priest – Jesus Christ. That is why God gave the instruction in His word that the High Priest could NOT tear his robes (Lev 21:10). There is something very symbolic happening here. The High Priest (probably without knowing it) was invalidating himself from being High Priest. He was disqualifying himself from the role of High Priest by breaking God's law. And why? Because there could only be one High Priest from God’s perspective and that was Jesus! - the One who stood condemned before this false trial was the One who would now take over as the true High Priest!

All the best and hope you and your family have a great day in Mexico!

Iain