Fr. Santosh Madanu: Jesus the Eternal Priest Who Sympathizes with Us

Sermon delivered on the last Sunday after Trinity B, October 28, 2018 at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Westerville, OH.

We continue our preaching series on the letter to the Hebrews. If you prefer to listen to the audio podcast of today’s sermon, click here.

Lectionary texts: Job 42.1-6, 10-1; Psalm 34.1-8, 19-22; Hebrews 7.23-28; Mark 10.46-52.

Who can intercede for us? Who will sympathize with us?

Let me begin with a dialogue between God and a certain dead man.  When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

God:  Alright Son, it’s time to go.

Man:  So soon? I had lot of plans

God:  I am sorry but it’s time to go.

Man:  What do you have in that suitcase?

God:  Your belongings.

Man:  My belongings?  You mean my things such as clothes, money etc

God:  Those things were never yours.   They belong to the earth.

Man:  It it my memories?

God:  No.  They belong to Time

Man:  Is it my talent?

God:  No.  They belong to circumstances.

Man:  Is it my friends and family?

God:  No son.  They belong to the path you travelled.

Man:  Is it my wife and children?

God:  No.  They belong to your Heart.

Man:  Then it must be my body.

God:  No, No. It belongs to Dust.

Man:  Then surely it must be my soul.

God:   You are sadly mistaken son.  Your soul belongs to me.

Man has tears in his eyes and filled with fear, took the suitcase from God’s hand and opened it. And found empty.  With heart broken and tears rolling down on his cheeks he asked God:

Man:  Do I ever own anything?

God:  Nothing. You never owned anything.

I want you to have dialogue with God now when we are alive to know to whom we belong, and realize we have an advocate and mediator who reaches us in our heart broken situations and who loves to console us and sympathize with us.  He is our perpetual priest offered his life for us that we have life in him forever.

Is there any one whom I can rely on?

How dose I relate to Jesus Christ in my need of direction and salvation?

We know from the author of the Hebrews that this letter he primarily meant for the Jews who were sorely tempted to leave the Christian faith because of persecutions.  Author emphasizing superiority of Christ as a divine son of the Living God and the new covenant to Moses, prophets and the old covenant.

Hebrews 7:23-25 deals with Eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ in comparison with the priests of order of the Aaron who came, lived and died when the need of frequent replacement of priests.

Christ Jesus is eternal, having no beginning and no ending. Therefore His priesthood is unchangeable.

John 1:2-3 “He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.”

How is Jesus the eternal priesthood? 

  He overcame sin and the death being humble, obedient and offered himself as an unblemished lamb for the forgiveness of sins of the world. (Phil 2:8-11).

And made atonement for the sin of the world as high priest.

Jesus no longer is subject to death after the resurrection.  He lives forever.  Jesus is able to save those who approach God through Him.  (John 3:16-18)  God so loved the world…..

• To be saved through Him

• One has to choose to make a decision to approach God through Jesus.

• Believe Jesus as the one sent by God.

Why it is so important that we profess our faith in Christ?

Why do we witness to Christ Jesus as the REDEEMER?

This is the reason:

John 3:18 whoever believes in him will not be condemned but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only son of God.

Therefore dear friends let us choose light of Christ though the world chooses to accept darkness to the light of Christ.

May we reflect on the questions like what was the work of the ancient priests?

How is the priesthood of Christ differ from the Levite priest of the time?

What is the character of priesthood of Christ?

How does the Salvation possible?

What is the solution to our problem of Sin, Guilt, and Spiritual death?

Exodus 29:38-42.  The Law described daily burnt offerings of bulls and lambs to please God.

The most significant work of the high priest takes place on the Day of Atonement, when he makes the atonement for the sins of the nation. Whereas Jesus has no need to offer sacrifices of animals or do burnt offerings.  Because he sacrificed himself on the cross was once for all the time.  He poured out His own blood on the mercy seat. He endured the shame of the sin for us to bring us into the fellowship with God the Father.

One key difference is the priestly order to which they belong whereas Jesus, through God’s calling, serves as a priest in the order of Melchizedek.  The priest hood of Jesus remains forever.  Jesus’ eternal priest hood offers salvation whereas the Levitical priesthood could not achieve. Jesus and Melchizedek, a priest forever without lineage. Melchizedek was king of Salem, king of peace, king of righteousness.  So is our Lord Jesus; he by His righteousness made peace and greeted peace to everyone he met on earth. And he is the priest of most high God.  Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine to refresh Abraham and his servants when they were weary and blessed them.  Then Abraham gave him a tenth part of all. Abraham did this an expression of his gratitude for what Melchisedek had done for him, as a testimony of his homage, as an offering vowed for him and dedicated to God (Genesis14:18). The Levitical priesthood was blessed by Melcheisedek for the tithe offered by Abraham. And thus are we obliged to make all possible returns of love and gratitude to Lord Jesus for all the rich and royal favors we receive from him.  This is the time we need to be reminded of God’s blessings and gratitude to God and His people with the gift of tithes.

It is essential for every Christian to understand the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead is the guarantee our salvation if we believe it. Anyone who ignores such a great salvation for being lured away by sin and unbelief is already condemned.

Hebrews 2:3 “how shall we escape if we ignore such a salvation…?”

Hebrews 4:14-16: Therefore, since we have a high priest who has gone through heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to Sympathizes with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

This is what we see in today’s gospel Mark 10:46-52 we hear Jesus calls Bartimaeus and heals Bartimaeus, the blind beggar.

As Jesus was walking by him in Jericho, Bartimaeus heard who it was that was passing and called out to Him “Jesus, son of David, Have mercy on me” by calling Jesus the son of David, the blind man was affirming his belief that Jesus was Messiah (see 2 Samuel 7: 14 16) The people told Bartimaeus to be quiet, but kept calling out, even more loudly and persistently than before.  This is further proof of his faith.  He believed that Jesus was not like the other religious leaders, who believed that individual’s poverty or blindness or bad circumstances were a result of God’s judgement.  He knows like psalmist that our God who cares for the poor and the brokenhearted (P34:6, 18).

The creator of heaven and earth stood still when he heard the cry of the blind Bartimaeus. Jesus calls him to come to him and asks him what do you want me to do for you?  The beggar could ask for the money or food that he usually do every day from the people.  He didn’t even seek the opinion of the people but he asked for most important need that refers his faith in Jesus. He could witness to Jesus Christ that he is true messiah. He exercised his trust in Jesus as the son of God. He said “Rabbi, I want to see.” He determined to see Jesus. He desired to see Messiah.   He trusted Jesus that the merciful savior will willingly grant sight to him.  Jesus says your faith has healed you,” and the blind Bartimaeus instantly recovered his sight and followed Jesus.

By saying “your faith has made you well,” Jesus emphasizes the necessity of faith.   Jesus showed once again that God “rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6) it is not enough that we have faith in God within our hearts, but we should be able to express it, indicate it and witness to it through our lives.

Hebrews11:1 “now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

The story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus is a spiritual icon that should make us aware of our sins, our blindness and incapacity. We may be blind to injustice and blind to discrimination of any kind and unable to see Jesus in others.

I want you reflect on the question Jesus asked Bartimaeus “what do you want me to do for you?  What is your response?  What is your most important need you have? 

 Do you ask for power, wealth, comfort, houses, health or any material things?

Be reminded of your own request and response for the request by Jesus.  Because Jesus answered the prayer of Bartimaeus but did not answer the prayer of mother of John and James.

John 11:41-42   we know from the mouth of Jesus that he prays to God to raise Lazarus. Jesus did many miracles to glorify God, the almighty.

The prayer and faith of the Canaanite woman was answered.

The prayer and the faith of the centurion of Capernaum was answered (Mathew 8:10).

Psalm 145:19 God will fulfill the desires of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry and will save them.

Luke 7:11-17 Jesus went to a town called Nain and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.  As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.  And a large crowed from the town was with her.  When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and said “DON’T CRY.”…..THEN HE WENT UP AND TOUCHED THE COFFIN, AND THOSE CARRYING IT STOOD STILL.  HE SAID, “YOUNG MAN, I SAY TO YOU, GET UP.  THE DEAD MAN SAT UP AND BEGAN TO TALK AND JESUS GAVE HIM BACK TO HIS MOTHER.

We can maintain perfect confidence in God’s rich promises, regardless of our circumstances, by meditating on the rock solid faithfulness of God’s workings in our lives. Because our God feels pain with us, feels sympathy for us in our emptiness, in our loneliness and in all our troubles of this material world and sickness and death.

May we receive the robe of righteousness through priesthood of Jesus Christ to enter into eternal life.  Amen.