Your Enthroned High Priest

A08saintocWhen do you sit and when do you stand? Does standing still indicate respect? We seem to be past the time when sitting down means your work for the day has ended. But Hebrews 10:5-18 shows you how important it is that Jesus Christ has sat down at the right hand of the Father.

Trust Christ’s sacrifice offered for you. God is not pleased with burnt offerings. David speaks for Christ, v.5. David is the author of the Psalm, yet its content goes far beyond David. The speaker is ultimately Christ as he enters his earthly work. The psalmist is functioning as a priest-king, pouring out his heart to God, not only for himself, but for the people of God as well. God is not pleased with animal sacrifices, v.8 God had ordered that these be offered, but they were ineffectual, vv.1-4. Like the prophets, David points out that God is not satisfied with mere sacrifice.

Christ came to do God’s will. God prepared a body for him. Hebrews quotes from the Septuagint translation of the Psalm. Christ did enter the world. God sent him. God prepared the body for him. God equipped him for his work. Redemption was accomplished through the offering of the body, v.10. Hebrew’s perspective is significantly different from the Greek depreciation of the body. Christ offered whole-hearted obedience. He obeyed God’s prescriptive will. He kept the law. Christ also fulfilled God’s will in the salvation of sinners. He obeyed in the place of sinners and bore their guilt. He removed the old and established the new, v.9. That means Christ’s sacrifice is effective. This is the reality of which the old is a shadow. This is the reality foretold in Scripture, v. 7b. This offering is once-for-all. If you are trusting in his work in your place, your sins are truly forgiven. Hebrews draws your attention to your need for forgiveness and the wonderfully comforting assurance that God does pardon you. He brings you assurance that the “noners,” worshiping nature in the Northwest, miss.

Because his work is complete, Christ sat down at God’s right hand. The priests of the old covenant stood. There were no seats in the tabernacle, see Hebrews 9:2-5. The only chair was the throne of the Mercy Seat. Priests always stood as they performed their work. But the standing was not only because of the absence of chairs. The priests offered the same sacrifices repeatedly. Hebrews stresses the repetitive character of the offerings of the old covenant. They were offered daily, v.11, and yearly, v.1. The work of the priests was never done. The reformation of the mass was crucially important, for the mis-understanding there compromised the completed character of Christ’s work. “Christ’s heavenly enthronement bears witness to the eternal validity of that one historic sacrifice by which He made reconciliation for iniquity and brought in everlasting righteousness.” (Geoffrey B. Wilson, Hebrews: A Digest of Reformed Comment, p. 122).

Christ sat down! Christ’s work is completed. He offered one sacrifice for ever, once-for-all. There is and there can be no repetition of his sacrifice. The seated Priest is your guarantee of his completed work, of the accepted offering. This is the heart of Psalm 110:1. The messianic kingship and priesthood of Christ are intertwined. Christ is seated at the right hand of God. The shame of the cross has been replaced with the throne of glory. Christ is not merely in the presence of God, but is seated at his right hand, in the position of honor and authority. Thus you can come with the confidence that your sin is not remembered. He sits until his enemies are subdued. His position is a warning not to be an enemy of God, see vv. 26ff. Christ is sovereign, able to deliver. All is subdued under him. The enemies he conquers are his and your enemies. The new has been established. In Hebrews 8 the quote from Jeremiah shows that. Here, Hebrews 10:15-18, it shows the permanence of the new.

Jesus Christ has sat down at the right hand of the Father. That means that the Father sees you in him. John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, para. 258, “Sinner, thou thinkest that because of thy sins and infirmities I cannot save thy soul; but, behold, my Son is by me, and upon him I look, and not on thee, and deal with thee according as I am pleased with him.”

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.

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