March 05, 2012
“Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,
and made higher than the heavens…”
There are five qualifiers which are listed in this verse in regard to the High Priest who functions on behalf of believers. There are many ways of appreciating these expressions. As a suggestion, it could be said that He was holy intrinsically in His person. Not only the total absence of sin, but the presence of beauty and virtue in all its depth and breadth. Always present, always full, always balanced.
He was harmless in His life. Again, this is not so much the absence of something, but the fact that He went about doing good. A life was lived here for the eye of God that always did the best for others and never intentionally sought to harm anyone. Little children felt safe in His arms. The weak and helpless flocked to be in His presence. The widows never feared being abused or taken advantage of by Him. How unlike Israel’s high priest, Aaron, who led the people into “harm” by idolatry. His failure would echo through the centuries, influencing Jeroboam and his calves, and “harming” many in Israel.
He was undefiled in His death. While bearing sin upon the cross, though being dealt with by God for sin, He was absolutely undefiled by sin. He was as pure and holy on the tree and in the tomb as on the Throne. “He knew no sin” implies far more than merely that He did not commit sin. He was absolutely apart from sin and its defilement.
“Separate from sins” could well refer to His resurrection. God has “singled Him out” from all others. He was singled out from the worst of men at the Jordan at His baptism by the commendation of God. He was singled out from the best of men (Moses and Elijah) on the mount when God announced His pleasure in His Son. But in resurrection, He was singled out from every man. He was raised, we are told in Romans 6, but the “glory of the Father.” There was no contradiction to the character of God in raising His Son and distinguishing Him from every other man who had ever died.
Finally, “made higher than the heavens” would point to His exaltation and honor. A sad day in Israel’s history came when Aaron ascended a mount to die. In contrast, Christ is exalted and enthroned. He has been raised and exalted by God.
1. Consider other ways in which you could apply the five traits above: personally, publicly, privately, practically, and positionally.
2. “Such a High Priest became (was fitting) us.” In what way do all of these five traits meet our needs?