The Pope is very much in the news these days with the papal visit to the US. So since we are talking about the Pope, here's a bit of papal trivia: Did you know that the pope is referred to as Pontifex Maximus...the highest priest? That's what a pope in the Dark Ages decided would be a good title for popes from then on. He was borrowing from the title for the head priest in ancient Rome at that time.
But maybe this isn't trivia at all! As you may or may not know, by definition a priest is a mediator. According to Unger's Bible Dictionary, the term priest is
...used of one who may "draw near" to the divine presence (Exo 19:22; 30:20), while others remain afar off...
And there's nothing trivial about that! In fact, it means life or death...and I'm talking ETERNAL life or ETERNAL death!
Why? Because there is only ONE Mediator between God and man, and it's our Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ! Human popes and priests and ministers only qualify as instruments of the One Mediator to point us toward HIMSELF!
And our Great High Priest is the All-Sufficient Christ...a glorious truth for all of us! Do we really get that? God wants us to get it...that it's all about His Son...He is All It, as I like to say!
But HOW, you ask, HOW is He All It? In the early chapters of Hebrews, God the Father begins to tell us HOW. He says that the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, is our Great High Priest Who Himself is ABLE...dynamically so at all times! In fact, the word "is able" in the Greek is in a continuous tense and is the word from which we get "dynamite" and "dynamic."
Let's look at three ways Jesus Himself, our Great High Priest, is ABLE on our behalf:
- He is able to save forever (Hebrews 7:1-28). The word "save" is "sozo" meaning to deliver, make whole, preserve from destruction, rescue. So our great High Priest saves us forever and completely, wholly and entirely...past, present and future. Why can He do that? Because His Priesthood is superior to that of any other kind of priest, before or since. It is based on His indestructible, indissoluable life (Hebrews 7:16). As Spiro Zodiates says in his Word Studies in the NT:The life of Christ is declared as distinct from the life of someone else, life that was not acquired and that cannot be done away with. It is inherent life (John 1:4 "in Him was life"). His life has no derivation and is interminable. So He always lives to intercede for us...He never stops, because He always lives...He's I AM! So what should we do, dear friend?Come boldly to the Throne of Grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need! Why? Because we HAVE as our ever-present possession our Great High Priest Who... ...communicating even here and maintaining an everlasting, unchangeable life in us, that lifts our inner experience out of the region of effort and change and failure into the rest of God. Andrew Murray, Holiest of AllBEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVESelahBefore the throne of God aboveI have a strong and perfect pleaA great High Priest whose Name is LoveWho ever lives and pleads for meMy name is graven on His handsMy name is written on His heartI know that while in heaven He standsNo tongue can bid me thence departNo tongue can bid me thence departWhen Satan tempts me to despairAnd tells me of the guilt withinUpward I look and see Him thereWho made an end to all my sinBecause the sinless Savior diedMy sinful soul is counted freeFor God the Just is satisfiedTo look on Him and pardon meTo look on Him and pardon meBehold Him there the risen LambMy perfect spotless righteousnessThe great unchangeable I AMThe King of glory and of graceOne with Himself I cannot dieMy soul is purchased by His bloodMy life is hid with Him on highWith Christ my Savior and my God!With Christ my Savior and my God!