Solus Christus Part 2 – Christ the Priest

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Para sa atin, tinupad Niya ang Kautusan, binayaran ang kasalanan, at pinawi ang galit ng Diyos. Kinuha niya ang suot nating maruming basahan at pinalitan ng balabal ng kanyang katuwiran. Siya ang ating Propeta, Pari, at Hari, itinatayo ang Kanyang iglesiya, namamagitan para sa atin, at namamahala sa lahat ng bagay. Si Jesu-Cristo ang Panginoon; purihin natin ang banal Niyang Pangalan magpakailanman. Amen (Ligonier Statement on Christology).

Prophet, Priest and King, yan ang tatlong “offices” ng Panginoong Jesus na pinag-aaralan natin ngayon sa serye natin sa Solus Christus, Christ Alone. Katatapos lang natin ng Sola Scriptura last month. At bahagi ito ng series natin sa Five Solas of the 16th century Reformation. Tungkol ito sa five foundational doctrines or five pillars na naging rallying cry ng mga Reformers against sa unbiblical doctrines and practices ng Roman Catholic Church. Last week, we talked about Jesus’ role as Prophet, wala nang hihigit sa kanya, wala nang susunod pa sa kanya. He is the Word of God. He represents, he reveals God to us. Ngayon naman ay yung role ni Jesus as Priest ang pag-aaralan natin. Kung ang prophet ay representing God to us, ang priest naman ay representing us to God.

The Problem

Bakit kailangan? Ever since the fall of man, napakalaki ng problema natin. Nagkasala si Adan at si Eba and all humanity with them. Guilty dahil sa kasalanan, deserving of condemnation and judgment. Pagkatapos nilang magkasala, nahiya sila dahil nalaman nilang hubad sila. Para takpan ang kahihiyan, kumuha sila ng fig leaves. But that is not enough to cover their shame. Nagtago sila sa likod ng puno kasi natatakot sila sa Diyos. But hiding is not the solution sa galit ng Diyos sa kasalanan. Pinagtakpan nila ang kasalanan nila, nagsisihan, but still not enough. At simula noon, no matter hard we deny our sins, or work hard to make us better, hindi pa rin enough. Naroon pa rin ang kasalanan, ang kaparusahan, ang kahihiyan, ang kamatayan. We need a true and lasting solution.

Alam naman na nating si Jesus lang ang solusyon, pero dahil sa foolishness natin naghahanap pa tayo ng iba. We are removing Christ and his cross at the center of our vision. Dito nagreact ang mga reformers. Take for example ang teaching ng Roman Catholic Church about Mary. Hanggang ngayon, walang changes sa veneration and devotion kay Mary as advocate, mediatrix, helper, benefactress. Sabi sa Catechism for Filipino Catholics (1997):

St. Paul clearly affirms “there is ONE mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). But just as Jesus calls all to follow him and share in his mission as Prophet, Priest, and King, so he gave Mary, his Mother, the unique mission of being mother to all khis disciples (cf. Jn 19:26). Thus Jesus makes Mary share in his own saving mediatorship, neither adding nor detracting from it in any way.

No matter how hard they deny na ang veneration kay Mary ay hindi pandagdag sa kakulangan ng ginawa ni Jesus o pagbaba ng value ng kanyang sacrifice, Jesus plus Mary devalues the supremacy of Jesus as our only Mediator.

Christ is Enough

And because of that, at iba pang mga teachings at rituals na pandagdag sa ginawa ni Jesus, the Reformers then and us today cry, solus Christus! Sabi ni James Boice:

Justification because of Christ alone (#SolusChristus) means that Jesus has done the necessary work of salvation utterly and completely, so that no merit on the part of man, no merit of the saints, no works of ours performed either here or later in purgatory, can add to his completed work. In fact, any attempt to add to Christ’s work is a perversion of the gospel and indeed is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:6-9).

And we are also guilty of that kung inaakala nating ang pag mas marami at mas mahaba ang quiet time natin this week o mas marami tayong ministries o mas marami tayong nabahaginan ng gospel ay mas magiging acceptable tayo kay Lord.

Sabi pa ni Boice,

To proclaim Christ alone is to proclaim him as the Christian’s one and only sufficient Prophet, Priest, and King. We need no other prophets to reveal God’s word or will. We need no other priests to mediate God’s salvation and blessing. We need no other kings to control the thinking and lives of believers. Jesus is everything to us and for us in the gospel.

A High Priest (Hebrews 5:1-10)

Mas maiintindihan natin ‘yan when we take a close look sa priestly work of Jesus. Although his priestly work of being mediator and intercessor ay sobrang evident sa mga pages ng New Testament, Jesus never claimed the title “priest” for himself. Kahit yung mga disciples niya di siya tinawag na priest. Sa Hebrews lang siya tinawag na “priest.” Mahaba ang discussions ng kanyang priestly sacrifice mula chapter 2 hanggang chapter 10. Pero hindi lang siya isa sa mga priests, but “a high priest.”

Sa mga makakabasa ng Hebrews, tatanungin nila kung paano naging qualified si Jesus na maging high priest. Ang high priest galing sa sa line ni Aaron, the brother of Moses. Di naman diyan galing ang lineage ni Jesus. Ni hindi nga siya qualified to be a priest kasi ang mga priests galing sa mga Levites, pero si Jesus galing sa tribe of Judah. Anu-ano ang qualifications ng high priest and how Jesus was perfectly qualified? Tingnan natin ang Hebrews 5:1-10.

Chosen, called, and appointed by God. Hindi ito voluntary office or by popular vote. Dapat  “appointed to act in behalf of men in relation to God” (5:1); “No one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, as Aaron was” (v. 4). Nagsimula ‘yan kay Aaron, brother of Moses, na inappoint ni God to serve as high priest. Simula noon, mana-mana na, pagkamatay ni Aaron, sumunod ang panganay niyang si Eleazar, sumunod naman ang panganay ni Eleazar na si Phinehas. Hanggang sa destruction na ‘yan ng temple sa Jerusalem noong AD 70. Pero si Jesus, hindi galing kay Aaron. Dahil hindi lineage ang pinakamahalaga but divine appointment. “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’ (citing Psa. 2:7); as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek’ (citing Psa. 110:4)” (Heb. 5:5-6). “…designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (5:10; cf. 6:20). Not after the order of Aaron, but of Melchizedek, the King of Salem, who is also a priest during the time of Abraham (see Gen. 14:18ff). Tama lang, for Jesus was not just a high Priest, but a King.

Human with weaknesses and sufferings just like us. Ito ang role ng high priest, “to act on behalf of men in relation to God” (5:1). “Tao rin siya na katulad natin na may mga kahinaan” (5:2). Kaya nga nakasuot sa high priest ang vest na may breastplate bearing 12 stones representing 12 tribes of Israel. We need someone who can identify with us. Merong isang scholar na nagsabi na isang dahilan kung bakit naghanap ang Roman Catholics ng isa pang mediator pandagdag kay Jesus ay dahil noon panahon noon masyadong naemphasize yung divinity ni Jesus, to the point na di na masyadong nakita ang significance ng kanyang humanity. That was a grave error. We don’t need “Mary the Mother of God”. We need Jesus the Son of God. For the Son of God to fulfill the role of Mediator, he must be a man, kaya ang Diyos ay nagkatawang-tao, the Word who was God was made flesh (John 1:1, 14).

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death (Heb. 2:14 NLT).

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit kinailangang magkatawang-tao ni Jesus, upang maging katulad siya ng mga kapatid niya sa lahat ng bagay. Sa ganoon, siya ay magiging punong pari nila na maawain at tapat, na makapaghahandog sa Dios para sa kapatawaran ng mga kasalanan ng tao. At dahil siya mismo ay nakaranas ng paghihirap nang tinukso siya, matutulungan niya ang mga dumaranas ng tukso (2:17-18).

Ang ating Pinakapunong Paring ito ay nakakaunawa sa ating mga kahinaan sapagkat tulad natin, tinukso siya sa lahat ng paraan, subalit kailanma’y hindi siya nagkasala (4:15 MBB).

Offers sacrifices for sins. “Tungkulin niyang maghandog ng mga kaloob at iba pang mga handog para sa kapatawaran ng mga kasalanan” (5:1). Merong daily sacrifices administered by priests. At ang high priest lang ang pwedeng makapasok sa Most Holy Place sa tabernacle. Only once a year, sa Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. The high priest will make offering for all the people. Nasa Leviticus 16 ang details niyan. Ganoon din ang ginawang paglapit ni Jesus sa Diyos para sa ating mga makasalanan. “Noong namumuhay pa si Jesus sa mundong ito, umiiyak siyang nananalangin (with loud cries and tears, ESV) at nagmamakaawa sa Dios na makapagliligtas sa kanya sa kamatayan” (5:7), probably referring to his prayer in Gethsemane the night he was arrested, a day before he was killed.

The Great High Priest (7:23-27; 9:25-26)

The author of Hebrews explained na perfectly qualified si Jesus as High Priest, whether people recognize it or not. But that is not the main point. Ang point ay he is greater and better and supreme over all who served as high priests. He is the True and Better High Priest. Hindi lang siya “high priest,” but  “a merciful and faithful high priest” (2:17), to set him apart sa ibang mga naging high priests na unmerciful at unfaithful. Dahil diyan siya ay “a great (mega) high priest” (4:14). Siya ang pinakadakila sa lahat. Kaya sinabi mismo ni Jesus, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Kaya sinabi rin ni Pablo, “There is only one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 2:5). Kaya sinabi ni Pedro, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Solus Christus. Salvation is in Christ alone. Dito

Dito sa Hebrews, paano natin makikitang siya ang Great High Priest? Tingnan natin ang chapter 7.

Not temporary, but permanent. “Kailangan noon ang maraming pari dahil namamatay sila at hindi nakakapagpatuloy sa panunungkulan. Ngunit si Jesus ay buháy magpakailanman, kaya’t walang katapusan ang kanyang pagkapari” (7:23-24 MBB). Hindi lang pansamantala ang kanyang pagiging high priest tulad ng mga nauna sa kanya, siya ay “high priest forever” (6:20).

Sinless perfection, not a sinner who needs to offer sacrifices for himself. “Kaya si Jesus ang punong pari na kailangan natin. Banal siya, walang kapintasan, walang kasalanan, hiwalay sa mga makasalanan, at itinaas ng higit pa sa kalangitan. Hindi siya katulad ng ibang punong pari na kailangang maghandog araw-araw para sa kasalanan niya, at pagkatapos, para naman sa mga kasalanan ng mga tao” (7:26-27). He is “without sin” (4:15). Siya lang ang walang kasalanan.

Not animal sacrifices, but himself as sacrifice. Hindi lang siya naghandog ng tupang walang kapintasan, siya mismo ang Tupang walang kasalanan. Hindi lang siya ang priest, siya rin ang sacrifice. “…Si Jesus ay minsan lang naghandog para sa lahat nang ialay niya ang kanyang sarili” (7:27). Kaya sabi ni John the Baptist nang makita niyang lumalapit sa kanya si Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)!

Not daily sacrifices, but once for all sacrifice. Isang beses lang ang ginawa niyang paghahandog sa krus. Minsanan lang. Sapat na yun, di na kailangan pang ulitin o dagdagan. Tulad ng ginagawa ng mga pari sa misa (from Latin masse, meaning “sacrifice”), na parang inuulit-ulit ang ginawa ni Jesus. Tulad ng Kaya nga sinabi niya sa krus, “It is finished!”

Ang punong pari ng mga Judio ay pumapasok sa Pinakabanal na Lugar bawat taon, na may dalang dugo ng hayop. Ngunit si Cristo ay minsan lamang naghandog ng kanyang sarili, at hindi na niya ito inulit-ulit pa. Dahil kung kailangang ulit-ulitin, maraming beses sanang nagdusa si Cristo mula pa nang likhain ang mundo. Pero minsan lamang siya naparito sa mundo para alisin ang mga kasalanan natin sa pamamagitan ng paghahandog ng kanyang sarili. Ginawa niya ito nitong mga huling araw (9:25-26).

Pero paano sasapat ang handog niya para sa lahat ng makasalanan? Kung siya’y tao lang, hindi sasapat yun.

Not just a human being, but Son of God, God himself. “Ang mga tao na naging punong pari ayon sa Kautusan ay may mga kahinaan. Ngunit ayon sa sinumpaan ng Dios matapos maibigay ang Kautusan, itinalaga niya ang kanyang Anak na maging punong pari magpakailanman, dahil natupad nito ang layunin ng Dios” (7:28). Wala naman talagang mga pari at anumang handog na hayop ang makapagliligtas sa atin mula sa ating mga kasalanan. Lahat ng iyon ay anino lang. Si Jesus ang realidad. Lahat ay larawan lang. Jesus is the substance. Lahat ay preparation lang sa pagdating ni Jesus na ating Tagapagligtas.

Our Great High Priest (9:25-28)

Salvation past. Kung si Jesus ang “Great High Priest” he is exactly what we need. He is everything we need. Naparito siya, namuhay na matuwid, namatay sa krus, “to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (2:17), to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (9:26), to bring us back to God, para bayaran ang kasalanan natin, para mapawi ang galit ng Diyos at mapalitan ng awa at habag at pag-ibig para sa ating mga makasalanan, at para bihisan tayo ng katuwiran at kabanalan at tuluyan nang makalapit sa Diyos. Ito yung aspect ng salvation natin na natapos na niya, salvation past. Tinatawag itong substitutionary atonement. He took our place. The righteous one died for the unrighteous that we might become righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

Salvation present. Yung aspect na yun ng kanyang priestly work for us, tapos na. Pero yung kanyang pagiging high priest for us nagpapatuloy hanggang ngayon. Ito yung present aspect and benefits ng salvation natin. Muli siyang nabuhay, he ascended into heaven, nakaupo sa kanang kamay ng Diyos, interceding for us. It is encouraging na malamang lagi siyang nagpepray para sa atin. Kahit na di ka laging nagpepray, kahit di ka naipapagpray ng iba, he is always praying for you. “He is able to help those who are being tempted” (2:18); “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16); to “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (9:14). Ano man ang kailangan natin ngayon, to have victory over temptation, to walk in obedience, to serve God, nasa atin na because of Jesus.

Salvation future. He is our high priest “forever.” Kaya naman “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (7:25). He remains at work to secure our eternity with God. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (9:27-28). Jesus is our high priest then, and now and forever. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (13:8).

My Great High Priest (4:14-16; 10:19-25)

Kung totoo ang lahat ng ito about Jesus, and it is true dahil yan ang testimony sa atin ng Scripture, ano ngayon ang response natin? How is God calling us to respond?

Contemplation. “Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (3:1). Hindi lang bigyan ng pansin o ng konsiderasyon as if kulang siya sa pansin. He demands our attention for he is our all in all. Ang daming distractions ngayon. We live in a digital age, sobrang bombarded tayo ng information. But the more we have access to “knowledge” the most we don’t really know. Kasi di tayo nakafocus kay Jesus. “Consider,” ibig sabihin comtemplate, look at, gaze at, meditate, focus. When you read the Bible, focus on Jesus. When you are tempted, focus on Jesus. When you are suffering, focus on Jesus.

Confidence in his work. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” (10:19-20). Wala na tayong dapat ikatakot. Gaano man karami ang kasalanan mo, gaano man kagrabe ang nagawa mo in the past, do not fear. Jesus already made a way for us to get near to God. He is the Way! Pinatawad ka na, tinanggal na ang kahihiyan mo, pinawi na ang galit ng Diyos, inako na ang parusang para sa iyo. Wala ka nang ibang dapat gawin pa. As in wala na. Place your confidence in what Jesus has done for you. “He opened for us through the curtain,” ipinapaalala sa atin kung paanong noong nalagutan ng hininga si Jesus sa krus, “and behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). From top to bottom, the access is wide open! So anong gagawin mo?

Communion with God. Bukas na ang daan para makalapit sa Diyos, malaya ka nang pumasok. Don’t hesitate to draw near God. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace” (4:16). “…and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…” (10:21-22). Kung feeling mo ang layu-layo ng Diyos sa iyo, that’s not true, dahil naparito si Jesus para ilapit ang Diyos sa atin. Kung nag-aalinlangan kang lumapit sa kanya dahil feeling mo you still need to perform for him, kailangangang ayusin mo muna ang buhay mo para sumamba sa kanya, di mo pinaniniwalaang sapat na ang ginawa ni Jesus para sa iyo. Just come, just come.

Commitment to finish. At paglapit mo sa kanya, yayakapin ka niya, and he won’t ever let you go. Wag kang bibitiw. Keep believing, keep resting on Christ. “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Heb 4:14 ESV). Panghawakan mo ang pananampalataya mo, wag mong bibitawan, kapit ka lang. Uso pa ang payo ngayon na kapag mahirap ang buhay, “Kapit ka lang, bes.” Magandang payo. Pero saan ka kakapit? We have Jesus, siya ang kapitan natin, siya lang ang ating “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (6:19). “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (10:23).

Community. Pag sinabing Jesus is all we need, hindi ito call to a private Christianity. Kailangan natin ang church, ang isa’t isa, to remind us of the gospel na prone tayo na laging makalimutan. Tayo as a church ay “a holy priesthood…a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Si Jesus ang High Priest, and as a corporate priesthood we represent him to one another. We worship God together, we confess our sins to one another, we preach the gospel to one another reminding each other of Jesus’ finished work for us, we pray for one another, we fight for one another until we finish the race, until we see Jesus face to face.

At sikapin nating mahikayat ang isaʼt isa sa pagmamahalan at sa paggawa ng kabutihan. Huwag nating pababayaan ang mga pagtitipon natin gaya ng nakaugalian na ng ilan. Sa halip, palakasin natin ang loob ng bawat isa, lalo na ngayong nalalapit na ang huling araw (10:24-25).


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