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Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!
“Jesus: The High Priest Forever”
Hebrews 7:1-3, 19-28
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Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original tounless properly quoted/cited. As always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
The word forever is often found in the lover’s song as one pours out the depth and duration of their love toward another. It’s such a beautiful sentiment yet our understanding is truly limited in that when testing of relationships comes, the word tends to fade from one’s vocabulary. When we speak of the word forever we are talking about something that has no end; eternity, not limited by time or circumstance – ever!
Today’s lesson is a bounce off of last week’s lesson where we learned about Jesus’ supremacy as High Priest. In that lesson the focus was on His position being of greater status than that of the earthly high priest. This week we see that not only His position as being greater, but so is the duration of His ministry which has no end. Jesus Christ will always be King and Priest forever. There is no thing or reason that will ever cause Him to change or stop being. He is always going to be there for you and me.
1) “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2) To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3) Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”
To give a little historical insight on what is taking place here we have to travel back in time to the book of Genesis. There in chapter 14 Abraham was put in the position to fight to recover his nephew from the ravages war that took place in the land from oppressing kings who set their sights on plundering the place and all its goods. Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and all that he had had been taken also.
Abraham set out to recover him. When he heard what had taken place he “armed his trained servants . . . three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he brought back all the good, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people,” (Genesis 14:14, 16).
Coming back with this victory under his belt, Abraham was met by the king of Sodom (Gen. 14:17), and he was also met by “Melchizedek king of Salem” who is also identified as “the priest of the most high God,” (Gen. 14:18).
It is this same “Melchisedec” whom our lesson states “blessed him.” Returning to Genesis we see when Melchizedek met with Abraham he not only “brought forth bread and wine,” (Gen. 14:18) but he spoke these words over him, saying, “Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand,” (Gen. 14:19-20).
Upon hearing those words Abraham saw in it a revelation from God Almighty and his heart was moved and he gave him a “tenth part of all,” (see Gen. 14:20 – “and he gave him tithes of all”). A tithe is the “tenth part” or ten percent (but that’s a whole other lesson J). Witnessing what had transpired the king of Sodom tried to get in on this giving and sought to donate to Abraham’s cause but he refused stating his promise to God and not giving man an opportunity to gloat and say, “I have made Abram rich,” (Gen. 14:21-24). His dependence was on God alone.
Back to Melchisedec, we find out a little more information about him. Here we see he is recognized by two titles: “King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace.” These titles do not dispute one another rather they both support and verify the working of God in his life. “Salem” is identified here with the word “peace” where many are familiar with the word “shalom” also being identified as such. “Salem” has also later to be known to be identified with Jerusalem using only the latter part of the word (see Psalm 76:2).
Melchisedec is also seen as being “without father, without mother, without decent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” Meaning, historically, there is no written account of this king priest genealogically speaking. His parents, brothers or sisters (if there were any) – nothing of his birth or family is on record. All we know of him is what we see in Genesis with this one encounter with Abraham. Although some use this to state that this king priest was the Christ, others teach that his genealogy was left as it is without further definition or explanation to serve as a type and later to be compared to the priesthood of Christ (the latter example rings the truest). Melchisedec was “made like unto the Son of God” (emphasis mine), but the Bible doesn’t state that he was the Son of God.
“Melchisedec” is an example of a priesthood that continues without end because he has no recorded end.
19) “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20) And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21) (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23) And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”
“For the law made nothing perfect” speaks to the writer of Hebrews continuing in his efforts to show the superiority of Christ who is after the order of Melchisedec. He showed how even those who receive tithes while in Abraham’s loins paid tithes to Melchisedec establishing his priesthood over the Aaronic priesthood (Heb. 7:4-10; not in today’s text).
He also gave reason that if the law was perfect given under the Levitical priesthood, then why would there be a need for another who would come “after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11). This is proof that the temporary that was set up and established under the Aaronic priesthood is now done away with bringing in the new order under Christ. Everything and everybody established under the Law was just a shadow of what was to be permanently fulfilled in Jesus Christ (compare Hebrews 10:1-3; see also Galatians 3:23-26).
The former priesthood has been changed (vs. 12 – not in today’s text) and after the “similitude of Melchisdec there ariseth another priest” (vs. 15 – not in today’s text). And, that Priest is our Savior who hung on Calvary’s cross and performed the duties of the priesthood once and for all. He is the one “Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life,” (vs. 16 – not in today’s text) whom even David, speaking of God’s promised Messiah in the Psalms, testified and prophesied of Jesus: “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,” (Psalm 110:4, compare to today’s text in Hebrews 7:21; also see Hebrews 7:17 – not in today’s text).
“The LORD sware and will not repent.” This solidifies God’s promise of an enduring priesthood found only in Jesus Christ. When we go to court we take an oath with our hands on the Bible as a testimony. But, God swears by only Himself, for there is none greater (read Hebrews 6:12-20). In that oath, Jesus is “made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec,” (Hebrews 6:20).
Over and over again the supremacy of Christ over the law has been established that the Jewish Christians whose hearts were being swayed to return to the older order of establishment would think heavily upon these words and stay grounded in their faith in Jesus Christ.
The case for Christ being the High Priest Forever is solidly founded and in case they have any more questions on the subject, the writer of Hebrews continues to pile on the evidence of He that is greater.
“The law made nothing perfect” means the old ways of sacrifices and rituals simply were temporary fixes to the age old problem of sin. The blood of animals and such would cover sin and never could remove sin and restore man back to God like the blood of Jesus Christ could [see Hebrews 10:4; also compare that the old priesthood was just a type or shadow (see Heb. 9:1-10) to the priesthood of Christ in whom the new testament is firmly established (see Heb. 9:11-28)].
In other words, everything about Jesus Christ and His ministry is better than the old law. He was and is “the bringing in of a better hope . . . by the which we draw nigh unto God.” Because Jesus Christ has secured the better way; the better hope for “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” (Hebrews 10:9-10); as our “high priest over the house of God,” (Hebrews 10:21) we are encouraged “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . .” (Hebrews 10:22). Only Jesus Christ can truly draw men unto God.
Jesus came by way of a prophesied promised or “oath” (see above reference for Psalm 110:4) whereas the old order of priesthood “were made without an oath.”
“By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.” What this means is God established better covenant through Jesus Christ as the guarantee. In one of the prophecies of the Old Testament God speaks, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake . . .”(Jeremiah 31:31; compare Hebrews 8:8-13). Therefore, Jesus was the way for the “better” to come on the scene because the law just couldn’t do it. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away,” (Hebrews 8:13).
This new and better covenant would be guaranteed under the blood of Christ Himself. During the day of the Last Supper, Jesus picking up cup and giving it to His disciples, spoke, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,” (Matthew 26:28).
“They were not suffered to continue by reason of death.” In the old order of priesthood they the people were reliant on whatever particular priest held the office at that time; for there were “many.”
Why was there many? Because, there was no such thing as one high priest remaining since the priesthood began. That would require Aaron himself to still be alive to render the duties of the office given to Moses way back when. “Death” comes to all men (except Enoch and Elijah). No matter how good and holy or unholy a life is lived, there will be an end of days for every man, woman, and child on this earth (unless, of course, the Rapture occurs).
But, Jesus . . .
“This man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” Jesus Christ lives forever and His priesthood endures forever! Everything else and everyone else shall fade away and be changed. But of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews quotes from Psalms, “Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail,” (Hebrews 1:10-12; compare Psalm 102:25-27). Jesus is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever,” (Hebrews 13:8). Since He lives forever there is never a need for His priesthood to change hands and be passed on to another. He has and does continually hold the office of the High Priest never to be removed. As the Son of God He is our eternal and everlasting; last and permanent High Priest of God!
25) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” First and foremost – there is no other way to be saved except through Jesus Christ is what the above is stating: “that come unto God by him.” Acts 4:2 clearly states, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Jesus, during His earthly ministry boldly and truthfully declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6). Secondly, “he is able to save them to the uttermost” which simply means completely and perfectly, forever and ever. That’s what our lesson is all about.
For those who turn to Him and trust Him, He will not only save but He “ever liveth to make intercession for them.” How oft have we felt alone and unfought for in this world? Times come when we are at our wits end and there is no one to speak up for you; no voice to be heard that will defend your cause, or no one who can sympathize with your predicament.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were someone close enough to God to be able to speak up for a hurting and confused people; someone, whom when our faith is being challenged and slipping, will step in and be our go-between; our mediator with God (see 1 Timothy 2:5)?
The good news is there is! His name is Jesus and He is still alive, in heaven forever, working and interceding on behalf of His people. We don’t have to do life alone! Jesus is not only our priest, but He is our intercessor and help through all the circumstances of life.
“For such an high priest became us.” In last week’s lesson we discussed thoroughly how Jesus came and identified with our humanity as a high priest that was touched with the feelings of our infirmities (see Hebrews 4:15; “Jesus: The Great High Priest” lesson). In that lesson we were also reminded that although he experienced humanity, He didn’t experience or participate in humanity’s sin. He was “tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, as today’s lesson states, He remained “separate from sinners;” He was “holy, harmless, undefiled.”
Other high priest had to not only atone for the sins of the people, but their own as well (see Leviticus 9:7). But Jesus was He “who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” Carrying His own blood “once,” He entered into the “holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” (Hebrews 9:12). There was no need to revert back to the old law or way of doing things. Jesus Christ paid it all throughout eternity for all who believe and trust in Him.
With that being said we are reminded once again that “the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity.” Through the law men were put in place of the office who were not perfect; men who succumbed to the failings of this world as any other. They had short-comings and missed the mark on more than one occasion, I am sure. Therefore, those ordained in the law would be surpassed by Him who was ordained by the “word of the oath;” by He who was perfect in every way and without stain on His record. He is “the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”
Jesus Christ not only supersedes the Old Testament order of sacrifice by becoming the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, but He also is greater than the officiating office of the former high priest. He is the last and only High Priest we will ever need. Therefore, any issue we may face in life can be taken to Him for He forever sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. And that, my friends, will never change.
Standard Print PDF: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Sunday School Lesson Standard Print
Large Print PDF: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Sunday School Lesson Larger Print
Below you will find activities to support this lesson. Enjoy!
Word Search: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Word Search Answers: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Word Search Answers
Word Scramble: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Word Scramble Answers: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Word Scramble Answers
Coloring Page: Jesus High Priest Forever Coloring Page
Memory Verse: Jesus: The High Priest Forever Memory Verse
Jesus Book Markers: Jesus Book Markers Printable (print onto cardstock and color)
Below you will find Activities/Links/Resources to support this lesson. Enjoy! (same as last week)
“Our Great High Priest” (Coloring and printable activities. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Our High Priest” (Lesson helps and printables geared toward preteens. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Crafts for Kids” (Incorporate any one of these activities to fit with our lesson. I particularly like the “Standing Jesus Pic,” instead of writing Jesus loves me, you can write “Jesus is My High Priest.” Enjoy!)
“How to Draw Jesus: 7 Steps” (Your students can follow these simple step by step instructions to draw a picture of Jesus for themselves to help them to remember the One who is their High Priest. May be more suitable for older students. Enjoy!)
Another “How to Draw Jesus Easy” (More cartoonish and adaptable to varied age groups)
“How to Draw Jesus Christ” (This one is geared to the younger students and I think they will enjoy it greatly. What fun your students will have when they find out they can draw a picture of JESUS themselves. Awesome for this lesson or just about any lesson. Also comes with a “print friendly” version. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Loves Me Craft” (Easy construction paper craft. Enjoy!)
“Name of Jesus Coloring Sheet” (Not a color-by-number, but a color-by-color sheet. Enjoy!)
“How to Bead a Cross Necklace” (An inspiration cross necklace to remind students of their faith in Jesus. Enjoy!)
“Bible Baseball” (A great lesson review game. Enjoy!)
“Bible Verse Balloon Batting” (A great memory verse game. Enjoy!)
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