Sermon for 03.17.24 “What a priest!”

LENT 5, MARCH 17, 2024
Text: Hebrews 5:1–10
Theme: What a priest!
Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31–34
Psalm 119:9–16;
Gospel: Mark 10:(32–34) 35–45

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Epistle lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Gracious and Everlasting God, as we gather on this fifth Sunday of Lent,
our hearts are turned towards the promise of a new covenant, one that You
have written not on tablets of stone, but on the very fabric of our hearts.
In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, we hear Your pledge to be our God and
to welcome us as Your people, knowing You intimately and fully, from the
least to the greatest among us.
Lord, we marvel at Your mercy, at Your willingness to forgive our iniquity
and remember our sin no more.
In this time of reflection and anticipation, we confess that too often we
have strayed from Your ways, forgetting Your laws and ignoring Your voice
that whispers in the depths of our souls.
Yet, Your love remains steadfast, calling us back to You with cords of
kindness and bands of love.
As we move closer to the mystery of the cross and the victory of the
resurrection, renew in us the covenant You have promised.
Write Your law within us, engrave it on our hearts that we might truly be
Your people, reflecting Your justice, love, and mercy in a world so
desperate for signs of hope.
Help us, O God, to understand the depth of Your love and the breadth of
Your forgiveness.
Teach us to forgive as we have been forgiven, to love as we have been
loved, and to extend the grace we have so freely received.
May the knowledge of Your covenant inspire us to live lives marked by
faithfulness, to seek justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with You.

(A) We all have our favorite ways of referring to Jesus.
(1) We often describe the Son of Man by using titles that are both
comfortable and comforting:
(A) Jesus is our:
1) Savior
2) Redeemer
3) Lord
4) God
5) Brother
6) Friend
7) Great Physician
8) Good Shepherd.
(B) Each of these titles highlights a different dimension of our Savior’s
service and sacrifice for sinners.
(B) But it’s far less frequent for us to describe Jesus as our “Priest,”
and that’s unfortunate.
(1) In today’s Epistle, the author of Hebrews sets us straight concerning
the priestly service of our Savior.
(2) He highlights how Jesus is our perfect High Priest.
(3) In fact, he mines the idea of priest for all it’s worth and, in the
process, delivers all the comfort and confidence that comes to us from the
(4) Today we ponder the priesthood of Jesus beneath this theme:
(A) What a Priest We Have in Jesus!
(I) Our Priest, Jesus, was appointed to serve us.
(A) The author of Hebrews helpfully provides some history concerning the
high priesthood.
(1) Priestly service was part and parcel of the Lord’s design for the life
of his Old Testament people.
(2) He specifically selected the sons of Aaron to provide this priestly
service for His people.
A) They served on behalf of their fellow Israelites, regularly offering
gifts and sacrifices to God
1) both for the sins of the people and for their own sin.
B) God himself appointed them for priestly service.
(B) Because the priesthood was reserved for those who were chosen by God,
the author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus, too, was appointed to priestly
(1) Jesus’ priestly appointment was made public in a big way at His
(2) There Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and set apart to serve as
our great High Priest.
(3) There God declared:
Matthew 3:17 (NASB95)
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in
whom I am well-pleased.”
(II) Our Priest, Jesus, sympathizes with us.
(A) God appointed Jesus as our great High Priest so that He can serve us
and help us.
(1) Jesus is immensely qualified to do this because he is truly one of us:
A) bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
B) a human man among men.
(2) As one of us, Jesus knows.
A) He knows our weaknesses and frailties.
B) In the passage immediately preceding today’s text, the author of Hebrews
spells out the comfort we have in Jesus as our High Priest:
Hebrews 4:15 (NASB95)
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
C) Jesus willingly accepted our human weaknesses to suffer:
1) temptation,
2) hunger,
3) fatigue,
4) sadness,
5) loneliness,
6) rejection,
7) Persecution
8) and yes, even death, death on a cross!
(B) Because Jesus knows our every weakness, He deals gently with those
under His care who are ignorant, arrogant, and wayward.
(1) That’s all of us, by the way:
A) ignorant and wayward.
(2) Unlike Jesus, we are not without sin.
A) Temptations tangle us up.
B) Sin clings closely to us along every step of the way.
C) We have a terrible habit of straying from our Lord’s plans and purposes.
D) We deviate from His desires, always seeking to serve ourselves rather
than those around us.
(C) We can see both our sin and the amazing gentleness of Jesus in today’s
Holy Gospel.
(1) Imagine it:
A) Nearing Jerusalem, Jesus had just predicted His death and resurrection.
B) This makes three times that Jesus told the disciples He would suffer and
C) But rather than pray and prepare for the Lord’s Passion as they should
have, James and John hatched their own plan.
D) They were looking for ways to get ahead, for that is the human thing to
E) They came to Jesus:
1) seeking to sit in glory,
2) longing to get a leg up on the competition,
3) and climbing all over their fellow disciples in a mad dash to the top of
the heap, no matter who they had to step on in the process.
F) When the ten heard about this power play, they were indignant, indeed
very angry and very ready to retaliate against the brazen audacity of James
and John.
G) As Jesus made his way to Calvary, a civil war was about to erupt among
His disciples.
H) It was more than enough reason to ignite the anger and the wrath of the
Rabbi from Nazareth.
(D) But the Rabbi’s wrath was not kindled.
(1) As a priest, Jesus dealt gently with His wayward disciples.
(2) He neither condemned nor condoned their sin.
(3) He did not excuse their conduct, but He set them straight with
measured, priestly sympathy.
(4) He corrected them lovingly and patiently:
Mark 10:43 (NASB95)
“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among
you shall be your servant;
(5) He also reminded them of his priestly purpose:
Mark 10:45 (NASB95)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to
give His life a ransom for many.”
(E) Because Jesus is our great High Priest, we have this comfort for
(1) He deals gently with us.
(2) He knows:
A) our sins.
B) our ignorance.
C) our arrogance.
D) our weaknesses.
E) our struggles
F) our sufferings.
(3) And Jesus knows these things about us not merely as facts, knowledge,
or data;
A) He knows it all as if it was happening to Him.
B) He feels for us and suffers with us precisely because He is a human
being—like us in every way yet without sin.
C) Not only does our great High Priest know and feel our weakness, but He
alone can do something about it.
D) He alone will offer his life as a ransom for us all.
E) Jesus loves and takes us as we are.
F) He also loves us too much to let us stay that way!
G) What a priest we have in Jesus!
(III) Our Priest, Jesus, learned obedience through suffering.
(A) One of the biggest surprises concerning our Savior’s priestly service
is that it was a learning process for Him.
(1) In fact, we could say that Jesus learned to be a priest the hard way:
A) through the school of suffering.
(2) Verse 8 of our text says it this way:
Hebrews 5:8 (NASB95)
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
(B) As our priest, Jesus was a learner like us.
(1) Our Savior was a student in the school of suffering:
A) a divine disciple who learned obedience alongside His human brothers and
B) Although he’s God and could always know everything, Jesus never used His
omniscience when it would just serve himself.
C) He didn’t cut corners.
D) He didn’t cheat.
E) He didn’t jump to the front of the line.
F) Rather, Jesus reverently and prayerfully learned obedience through what
He suffered.
(C) When was the last time you tried to learn something new and difficult?
(1) Perhaps you downloaded an app to help you learn a new language.
(2) Perhaps you watched hours of YouTube videos to learn for yourself how
to do a major home improvement project.
(3) Perhaps you downloaded a complicated recipe that you might sauté your
way to success with a new culinary creation in the kitchen.
(4) Whatever you’ve attempted to learn, how did it go for you?
(5) Were you ultimately successful?
(6) Or did you bite off more than you could chew?
(7) Perhaps what you actually learned was that difficult work is sometimes
best left to the experts.
(D) Jesus learned to be your priest in the most difficult way imaginable.
(1) He learned through what He suffered.
A) Tears would be His teacher.
B) Pain would be His tutor.
C) Neither nails nor thorns would deter Him from learning to be our perfect
D) No pain, no gain.
E) Where others would falter and fail, Jesus pressed on.
F) Verse 7 of today’s text alludes to the Garden of Gethsemane.
G) There Jesus prayed as our perfect priest.
H) There he:
Hebrews 5:7 (NASB95)
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with
loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was
heard because of His piety.
(2) Those perfect, priestly prayers continued even as Jesus suffered for
our salvation on the cross:
Luke 23:34 (NASB95)
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they
are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
Matthew 27:46 (NASB95)
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI,
Luke 23:46 (NASB95)
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I
COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
(E) Those perfect prayers were an expression of our Lord’s perfect
obedience to his Father.
(1) Through the school of suffering, Jesus:
Hebrews 5:9 (NASB95)
And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the
source of eternal salvation,
(2) Only this reverent priest, Jesus, has secured our salvation.
A) What He suffered was on account of our sin.
B) The pain He endured was a penalty meant for us.
C) The death He died was the necessary ransom to redeem a world of sinful,
wayward rebels.
D) Because of His reverence:
1) His perfect, prayerful obedience
2) His Father raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in
glory, where Jesus continues to intercede for us as our great High Priest.
3) Our salvation is found in no one else.
4) What a priest we have in Jesus!
(IV) Our Priest, Jesus, equips us for priestly service.
(A) There’s one final surprise concerning the priestly work of Jesus.
(1) He invites us to share in His priestly work.
(2) We are also priests:
A) priests of the perfect priest, called to present our bodies:
Romans 12:1 (NASB95)
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual service of worship.
(3) As God’s baptized and holy people, we have priestly prayers to offer:
A) priestly service to render to those around us.
(4) As priests of the perfect Priest, we are constant students in the
school of suffering, following in the footsteps of our great High Priest.
A) When we seek to be served rather than serve, we sin.
B) When our prayers for others falter because we are thinking about our own
needs rather than theirs, we sin.
(5) But our Lord’s perfect, priestly service counts for us.
A) His obedience counts for us.
B) He invites us to learn obedience as we follow Him.
C) He promises to perfect our lives through His perfect forgiveness and
D) He is, indeed, the source of eternal salvation.


(A) I asked you earlier about something new and/or difficult you learned,
whether by choice or not.
(1) For me, it was learning how to swim during PE class while in 10th
(2) It took all semester for me to learn how to swim and after that I was
not comfortable with it.
(3) There were many times where I was tempted to give up, rather have a
failing grade on my record instead of learning how to swim.
(4) As we go through life, we have spent years learning physical skills or
in intellectual pursuits.
(5) Practice, discipline, and, yes, failure are all a part of the learning
(6) Among the most difficult things for Christians to learn is the ability
A) forgive those who sin against us,
B) to love our enemies,
C) and to obey those in authority over us.
(B) As verse 8 of our text for today says:
Hebrews 5:8 (NASB95)
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
(1) There is no human being who doesn’t need to be schooled in the art of
(2) None of us is born obedient.
(3) Little children don’t need to be taught disobedience; that,
unfortunately, comes naturally.
(4) Jesus didn’t have that problem, of course, but even He willingly
submitted to learning obedience.
(5) We spend our whole lifetime learning obedience, as Jesus did.
(6) So what Jesus learned He now teaches us from His own experience.
(7) As Jesus listened to His heavenly Father, so He helps us listen to and
trust our Father in heaven.
(8) As we listen to His Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus
carries us along in a lifetime of learning to become obedient sons and
daughters of God. Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
As we worship You, O Lord this morning:
open our ears to hear Your word,
open our eyes to see Your presence among us,
and open our hearts to receive the new thing You are doing.
Transform us by the renewing of our minds, that we may discern Your
will—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
who has sealed the new covenant in His blood,
offering us the promise of life eternal.
What a priest we have in Jesus! Amen.
(D) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.