Christ Our Savior

February 18, 2024 ()

Bible Text: Hebrews 5:1-10 |


Christ Our Savior | Hebrews 5:1-10
Brian Hedges | February 18, 2024

This morning, we’re going to be back in the letter to the Hebrews, if you want to turn there, Hebrews 5. If you remember, those of you who’ve been here for a while, we began looking at this letter to the Hebrews back in the fall, and we worked through the first four chapters together.

This is a letter that comes with an urgent exhortation to cling to Christ, and it’s a letter that continually lifts up Jesus as better than all that went before. That’s really the theme of this letter: Jesus is better. It’s a letter that shows us the superior worth and majesty of Jesus Christ and the supremacy of Christ as God’s Son over the prophets and over the angels and over Moses and the law and over even Joshua. In Jesus the Son we have God’s final word, the revelation of the gospel that leads us into the promised rest of the new covenant, it leads us into the salvation that God had planned before the ages.

In this wonderful letter, we especially get a glimpse and a focus on the priestly work of Jesus Christ. He is the supreme high priest, our great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, as we just read. In Hebrews 5, the author continues this focus on the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

We’re going to be spending about five weeks together in this next section of Hebrews; we’re going to be in Hebrews 5-7 between now and Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday. Today we’re looking at Hebrews 5:1-10. Let’s read this, Hebrews 5, beginning in verse 1.

“For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

“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’;

as he says also in another place,

‘You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.’

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

This is God’s word.

Before we dive into the passage, let me just show you the structure of this passage so you can kind of understand how the passage works together.

Really, what you have here is a comparison and a contrast between the priesthood in the old covenant and Christ’s better priesthood, which, as we will see, brings about the new covenant. In the first three—you might even say the first four—verses you have the old covenant priesthood described in various features. The focus is on the appointment of priests in Hebrews 5:1, then the weakness of these priests, and then the continual sacrifices that the priest had to make.

In both the comparison and the contrast you have the priesthood of Christ—his appointment, described in Hebrews 5:5-6, then his weakness in his incarnation in Hebrews 5:7-8, and then the eternal salvation that Christ has brought described for us in Hebrews 5:9-10.

I’m not so much going to work through that diagram, but that shows you the structure of the passage, and I want to do is present three aspects of Jesus as our Savior and as our priest that I think explain what’s going on in this passage.

Here are the three things. I want you to see:

1. The Savior’s Vocation
2. The Savior’s Compassion
3. The Savior’s Perfection

His vocation, his compassion, and his perfection.

1. The Savior’s Vocation

Most of the time, when we think of that word “vocation,” we’re thinking about our job. We’re thinking about what we do for a living. Maybe you are a teacher, or maybe you’re an administrator, a businessperson, or a doctor, an attorney, or a nurse, or whatever it may be. You have a certain vocation; you have a certain job. This is what you do for your professional life.

But this word literally means “a calling,” and that’s kind of the older understanding of that word “vocation.” It’s that which we were called to do.

In this passage you have two key words. You have the word “appointed” and you have the word “calling.” You see it in the general description of priests in the old covenant, in verse 1: “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” The priests could not appoint themselves; they were appointed. They were appointed by God, and they were appointed with this specific calling or vocation. They were to represent men and women before God. They acted on behalf of men in relationship to God. They were the ones who would offer the gifts and offer the sacrifices for sins.

But then, in Hebrews 5:4-6, we read that “no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.” There’s the key word “called.”

Then it’s applied to Christ in verse 5. “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.’”

This is a quotation from Psalm 2:7, about the sonship of Christ, which you may recall was already quoted in Hebrews 1:5. Then, in addition to that, in Hebrews 5:6 we read, “As he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek,’” quoting from Psalm 110:4.

The author here is showing that, just as in the old covenant the priests had to be appointed or called to the specific task or vocation of offering gifts and sacrifices for human beings in relationship to God, in the same way Christ has been appointed as a priest. The proof of this are these two Old Testament passages from Psalm 2 and Psalm 110.

Of course, here we have raised this figure of Melchizedek. Some of you may be scratching your head; you’re trying to recall, “Who is Melchizedek? I know he shows up somewhere in the Old Testament, but what does Melchizedek have to do with Jesus Christ?”

The short answer to that question today is you have to wait until Hebrews 7 to find out, because the whole of Hebrews 7 is really an exposition of Psalm 110 and how it applies to the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The point that the author’s making at this point in the passage is that Jesus has been appointed as a priest. This is his vocation. You might think of it this way: Jesus’ job description in relationship to human beings and to God is to represent us to God by offering gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Now, it’s possible that you hear about the priesthood of Jesus Christ and that sounds somewhat remote and foreign to you. It may even seem kind of theological and technical. You have a personal relationship with Jesus, you’ve trusted in Jesus as your Savior, you know that Jesus is the only one who can forgive your sins; but when it comes to the priesthood of Christ, that’s hard for you to really grab hold of and really understand any kind of practical relevance in your life. But I want you to see that, when you really understand the priesthood of Christ, this is actually something that is a great source of encouragement and comfort for us in our lives.

The old authors I think help us especially, and I want to quote from an old author named William Bridge. He was one of these Puritan congregationalist ministers in the 17th century, and he preached a series of sermons on the priesthood of Christ. These have been republished now as Comfort and Holiness from Christ’s Priestly Work, and I want to read to you a statement from William Bridge. He said,

“Christ’s office as priest is the great storehouse and supply of all the grace and comfort that we have on this side of heaven. Through Christ’s priesthood we are reconciled to God the Father and are relieved against all temptations. This is the great truth held forth in these words. That’s why the apostle, finding the Hebrews laboring under great temptations, doubts, fears, and unbelief, expounds the priestly office of Christ throughout this letter.”

Now, don’t miss what Bridge is saying. Bridge is saying that all of the grace and all of the comfort that you can ever get, you get out of this. You get it out of the priesthood of Christ. This is the storehouse; this is the supply. He’s saying that if you’re struggling with temptations and doubts and fears and unbelief—which I think if all of us were honest we would say, “Yes, that describes my Monday through Saturday pretty well. Struggling with doubts? Yes. Struggling with temptations? Yes. Fears, unbelief? I know all of those things.” Bridge is saying if you want help for any of these life situations, you get the help through the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ.

It helps when we understand that this is Jesus’ vocation, and he views us through the lens of this vocation.

Bridge makes this illustration; I’ll paraphrase him here. He says, essentially, that people see life through the lens of their vocation, through their calling, through what they do. He imagines that three different men see this brilliant young person, a person who has all kinds of gifting, has many options in front of him of a possible career; but each person who meets this young person views him through their own lens.

Let’s say a doctor meets this young person and immediately thingsk, “Here’s someone who’s really bright, really smart, really intelligent. I think this person could be a wonderful doctor.”

But an attorney also meets this young person and immediately begins to think, “Wow, this person has a wonderful mind! This could be a legal mind. This is someone who would make a wonderful attorney.”

Then maybe someone else, a teacher or professor, meets this person and thinks, “Wow, this person has such a brilliant grasp of information; this person would make a wonderful professor!”

Each one is seeing this child or this young person through the lens of his own vocation. Bridge applies the illustration in this way—he says that when Moses sees a sinner, Moses, the lawgiver, says, “Condemn the sinner.” When Satan sees the sinner, Satan, the accuser, says, “Let’s accuse the sinner.” But when Jesus, the priest, sees a sinner, he sees the sinner through the lens of his priesthood and says, “Let’s forgive the sinner.”

All the comfort, all the grace that we ever receive comes to us through this office of Jesus Christ. He is the priest! He’s also a king, he’s also a prophet. But listen, his kingship doesn’t benefit you unless he’s also your priest. His prophetic word will only condemn you unless he’s also your priest. But if he’s your priest, everything else that Jesus has done he does for you as the one who has made the perfect sacrifice for your sins, as the one who represents you before God. We need the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The application for us is simply this: we must learn to draw grace and comfort from Christ’s priestly work. This can be so encouraging for us if we’ll learn how to do it.

We just read a few minutes ago this passage from Hebrews 4:14-16. Justin read this as our assurance of pardon. It’s a reminder to us that Jesus Christ, as our great high priest, is full of sympathy for us, that he’s been tested in every respect, just as we are, yet without sin; and that we, then, can come to the throne of grace with great boldness and confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We get grace, we get comfort.

You might think of grace as what God has given to us objectively in Jesus Christ, the undeserved favor of God. All the pardon, all the help, all the blessings, every aspect of our salvation; all of it is through grace and through grace alone. If you are a Christian, if you are standing in Christ, if you believe in Christ, if you are united to Christ, you have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies. All of God’s grace is for you. But it’s one thing to know that objectively; it’s another thing to actually experience the comfort of that reality in your life. We have to learn to draw the grace and the comfort from Christ’s priestly work.

Think about how this might work out. You feel guilty for your sins. Maybe you feel guilty for your sins this morning. You reflect on sins that you’ve committed in the last week, and you know that you’ve sinned against God, maybe you’ve sinned against others. Your conscience is tarnished. You feel that there’s this block in your relationship with God. When you pray, it seems that the heavens are brass. You don’t know what it is experientially to be in fellowship with God right now, because you feel far from him because of the guilt of your sins.

The grace that comes to us through the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ guarantees that your sins are forgiven. They are forgiven through what Jesus Christ has done. But the comfort is the actual assurance that my sins, even mine, are forgiven. You get that as, by faith, you draw near to the throne of grace through the priestly work of Christ and you lay hold of that comfort, of that assurance, the pardon of your sins.

Think about it in relationship to temptation. Grace assures us objectively that Christ is a priest who has sympathy for us in our weaknesses. He’s been tested as well. He understands. You can know that in your head, but it’s another thing to experience the comfort of that in your hearts, to know deep down in your bones that Jesus understands and he’s not pushing you aside but rather is leaning in to strengthen you and to help you through.

Or think about sorrow. We can know objectively that Christ has tenderness for those who are going through sorrows. He, himself, was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But we need that tangible sense of comfort of knowing that just as Jesus wept with Mary and Martha at Lazarus’s tomb, just as he cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane facing his own anguish and sorrow, in the same way he weeps with you. He draws near to you. He understands what you are going through right now this morning, with your sicknesses, with your aches and pains, with your aging body, with your grief over the recent loss of a loved one—whatever it is you are facing today, you can know deep in your heart, you can know that Christ as your merciful and faithful high priest has sympathy for you. He’s understanding. He is a compassionate Savior, which leads us to point two.

2. The Savior’s Compassion

His vocation is a vocation of a priest, and as a priest he is full of tenderness and of compassion for us. Look at Hebrews 5:2-3. Again, this is a description of a priest in the old covenant. It says,

“He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward since he, himself, is beset with weakness. Because of this, he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people.”

And immediately we are reminded here that Jesus is both like and unlike the priests in the old covenant. He’s like them in certain ways, but he is unlike them in certain ways.

And he’s unlike them in this: that Jesus, himself did not need to offer sacrifice for his own sins, because he had no sins. We’ve already read it. Hebrews 4:14, “He was tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin.” He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, Hebrews 7 tells us. He is the sinless Son of God. He didn’t need to offer sacrifice for his own sins.

But he is like us in this, that he has also experienced a kind of weakness in his incarnation and in his suffering. And you see this in Hebrews 5:7-8. Let’s read verse 7. It says,

“In the days of his flesh [that’s a reference to the incarnation of Christ] Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to him who is able to save him from death. And he was heard because of his reverence.”

“In the days of his flesh.” This is a theme that runs through Hebrews, the incarnate humanity of Jesus Christ. Remember chapter two told us that just as the children shared in flesh and blood, Jesus also partook of the same things. That's Hebrews 2:12. And in Hebrews 2:17, “...that he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God.” Jesus in his incarnation shared in a humanity like ours in every way except without sin. So that means that Jesus had a human body like ours, and it means that Jesus had a human soul like ours. Now mark this well.

The early church went to battle for this. They went to battle against what is called docetism, from the Greek word dokeō, which means “to seem.” And these were the false teachers who taught that Jesus only seemed to be human, but he wasn’t really human. He was more like God in a man-suit. It was a phantom body. It wasn’t a real body. So he didn’t really experience hunger. He didn’t really experience pain. And when he hung on the cross he didn’t really suffer physically. And the early church condemned that. You have condemnations of that in John’s first letter, 1 John, where he says again and again that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. And this is important for us.

Our salvation hangs on this: that Jesus as a priest was qualified as a priest by sharing the same nature that we have. And one of the greatest illustrations of this is in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is, I think, what Hebrews 5:7 refers to when Jesus, in prayer to God, offered up these prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears. In other words, there’s emotion here. Jesus experienced anguish. He experienced sorrow. He experienced stress when he was there in the Garden of Gethsemane and he’s approaching the cross. He knows what’s coming physically.

And not only that, he knows what’s coming spiritually. He prays, “Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me.” But what is that cup? It’s not just the crucifixion, it is the cup of God’s judgment against sin. And he knows that as he goes to the cross that he’s going to drink that cup—that he’s going to experience the kind of spiritual desertion and judgment and abandonment that his people deserve and he’s going to take it for them at the cross.

And so “with loud cries and tears” he supplicates God. He prays. And he prays for deliverance.

Notice that it says, “He prayed to him who is able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” You might think, Was he really heard? Because he wasn’t delivered from the cup. He did go all the way to the cross. But he was heard in this: that he was ultimately delivered from death, even though he went to death. Even though he went through death, he came out the other side in his resurrection. And in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God the Father was answering this prayer as God raised him from the dead in victory and in triumph over it.

In the incarnation, then, Jesus shares our weakness. He shares the experience of suffering and temptation. And this qualifies him to be a compassionate Savior. Of course we see this also in Hebrew 5:8. “Although he was a son he learned obedience through what he suffered.” And it takes us all the way to the cross as Jesus was obedient every step of the way.

When it says, “He learned obedience,” it doesn’t mean that Jesus progressed from disobedience to obedience. There was never a point where he wasn’t obedient. It means that Jesus’ obedience grew and developed as he, himself, grew and developed, from his childhood all the way through adulthood and then through the three years of his earthly ministry and every step to the cross where the testing became more intense, where the obedience became more demanding. And every step Jesus was faithful, and he learned obedience in that personal experience as he walked the Via Dolorosa—that road of sorrows—all the way to Calvary.

Brothers and sisters, this also is a great source of encouragement for us. Because of Jesus’ incarnation, because of Jesus’ suffering and his death and everything he experienced for us, he is full of compassion. And the application is to learn to trust in the Savior’s gentleness and compassion for you.

Hebrews 5:2 says of the priest in the old covenant, “He can deal gently with the ignorant and the wayward since he, himself, is beset with weakness.” And while Jesus did not share our weakness in the sense of sin, he’s no less gentle to the ignorant and to the wayward. In fact, he’s even more so. His heart of compassion overflows for us. And it’s not just when we’re ignorant, but it’s even when we are wayward. Listen, even when you are straying in wayward sin against God, the heart of Christ yearns for you. The heart of Christ goes out to you like a parent who, seeing a child wandering into danger, it makes that parent want to go after the child, to rescue the child.

This should encourage us. It means that Christ is compassionate not just when we are hurting and need healing but when we are hurting ourselves and need rescue, not just when we are sorrowful and need comfort but when we are sinning and need repentance. In any situation, the heart of Jesus goes out to you with compassion and with gentleness. He’s not like Hugh Laurie in House MD, a brilliant doctor with a terrible bedside manner. Right? That’s not Jesus. Jesus is instead filled with compassion even when he’s able to help in every way that we need.

I love these words from Dane Ortlund’s book, Gentle and Lowly. Some of you maybe have read this book. It's one of the best books, I think, that’s been released in the last three or four years. And in commentary on this verse, Hebrews 5:2, this is what Dane Ortlund says. He says,

“When we sin we are encouraged to bring our mess to Jesus because he will know just how to receive us. He doesn’t handle us roughly. He doesn’t scowl and scold. He doesn’t lash out the way many of our parents did. And all this restraint on his part is not because he has a deluded view of our sinfulness. He knows our sinfulness far more deeply than we do. Indeed, we are aware of just the tip of the iceberg of our depravity even in our most searching moments of self-knowledge. His restraint simply flows from his tender heart for his people. Hebrews is not just telling us that instead of scolding us Jesus loves us. It’s telling us the kind of love he has. Rather than dispensing grace to us from up on high he gets down with us, he puts his arm around us, he deals with us in the way that is just what we need. He deals gently with us.”

He deals gently with us. Have you learned to trust in the gentleness and the compassion of the Savior? When you are struggling with sin, when you know you need to be restored to God, Jesus is not up there looking down on you with a kind of judgment, frowning on you. Instead, there’s tenderness, there’s sympathy, there’s compassion in his heart. Yes, he hates the sin, but he doesn’t hate you. He loves you, and he wants to restore you, and he will restore you as you go to him in faith.

We see the Savior’s vocation, we see the Savior’s compassion, and then thirdly, we also see the Savior’s perfection.

3. The Savior’s Perfection

In contrast to the Old Testament priests, who had to offer sacrifices for their own sins, Hebrews 5:9-10 emphasizes for us Jesus’ perfection and the resulting salvation for us. Look at verses 9-10. It says, “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

What does that passage mean? “Being made perfect.” In what sense was Jesus made perfect? I think most of us read those words, and probably the first place our minds go to is we think of the difference between moral imperfection and moral perfection. That would be a troubling thought. Does this passage mean that Jesus moved from imperfection morally to perfection morally? I don’t think that’s what he means at all.

Again, I think we have to think in terms of vocation and understand that this word “perfected” really carries the idea of being completed, of being brought to completion.

The idea in Hebrews is not at all that Jesus moved from moral imperfection to perfection, but that Jesus in his human experience and in his obedience, all the way to death on the cross, was perfected in his role as a priest, so that he was completely and perfectly qualified to do everything that a priest was meant to do and to do it once and for all, bringing the whole order of priesthood to completion and to perfection. I think that’s the idea.

There are two other places in Hebrews where Jesus is said to be made perfect. First of all, Hebrews 2:9-10.

“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

It’s the same idea that we have here in Hebrews 5. Here Jesus is called the founder of our salvation. Some of you were here when we looked at that a few months ago, and we saw that this word “founder” really carries the idea of a trailblazer. It’s the person who goes before, who makes a way for others to follow. The passage is telling us here that Jesus, in his perfect humanity and then in his suffering humanity, has now been exalted as something like a second Adam—a new head of the human race, exalted and crowned with glory and honor—and he’s done this as the founder of our salvation, leading the way for us to follow. And he was perfected through his suffering.

Then in Hebrews 7:26-28 we read these words:

“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

The Savior’s perfection, the perfection of Christ in his priestly role—he’s the perfect priest. He’s the complete priest who’s offered the complete and the perfect sacrifice.

In some ways, all of this passage is just an exposition, a commentary on a single word that Jesus said when he hung on the cross, translated in three words for us. The word was tetelestai—“it is finished.” It’s finished! And what this passage is doing is calling us to trust in the completed, finished, perfect work of Jesus Christ.

And here’s the application, brothers and sisters. We must learn to rest in the finished work of Christ. Listen, the law can never make you perfect. The only way you can be made perfect is if you are made perfect in the perfection of Jesus Christ.

Let me read one more passage to you, Hebrews 10:1, 14. Verse one says,

“For since the law is but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year make perfect those who draw near.”

The law can’t make you perfect. It couldn’t make anybody perfect in the old covenant, but Jesus, the true and new and better priest—the perfect priest—he does make us perfect. Look at verse 14:

“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

It’s the finished work of Christ.

Now here’s the question: Are you resting in the finished work of Christ? Do you believe? Do you trust? We say this all the time at Redeemer. The gospel is not good advice—telling you how to live a better life or make yourself better. The gospel is good news, telling you that Christ has already lived the life you should have lived. He’s already died the death you should have died. He’s already done what is necessary. And in some ways, the most important application of this sermon is not for you to do something, it's to quit doing and to trust in what’s already been done in the work of Jesus Christ. This is what it means to believe.

Some of you have heard this illustration before, but when the Scottish missionary John Paton was translating the Bible in the South Pacific islands, he was stumped when he tried to find a word in the native language for “believe.” This island, which had been full of cannibals, people who didn’t trust each other at all, they didn’t have a word for “believe.” They didn’t have a word for “trust.” One day John Patton was working in his hut and one of the natives on the island who had been on a run came running into his tent exhausted, fell back into a chair, and said, “It’s so good to rest my weight on this chair.” And at that moment, John Patton had an insight and thought, “Ah, that’s how I’ll translate ‘believe.’” It’s “rest my weight.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever rests his weight on Christ, believing in him, would not perish but have eternal life.” That's what it means to believe. It’s to rest on Christ alone for your salvation.

Let me ask you this morning: Are you resting your weight on Jesus Christ? The weight of your sins? The weight of your failures? The weight of your disobedience? The weight of your imperfections? Are you resting it on Christ—not resting in yourself, not resting on your resolutions, not resting in any attempt at penance or making yourself better, not resting in anything that you can do or any promise that you can make to make yourself better, but resting in the one who’s already done the perfect work on your behalf? Are you resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ?

Let me conclude by reading to you wonderful poetic words from a very obscure hymn writer from the eighteenth century. His name was Jonathan Evans. Only two hymns that I know of came from Jonathan Evans. Here’s one of them. It’s all about the finished work of Christ. He said,

“Hark, the voice of love and mercy, sounds aloud from Calvary!
See, it rends the rocks asunder, shakes the earth and veils the sky!
‘It is finished, It is finished,’ hear the dying Savior cry.

“‘It is finished,’ O what pleasure, do these precious words afford.
Heavenly pleasures, without measure, flow to us from Christ the Lord.
‘It is finished, it is finished,’ saints the dying words record.

“Finished all the types and shadows, of the ceremonial law;
Finished all that God had promised; death and hell no more shall awe.
‘It is finished, it is finished,’ saints from hence your comfort draw.”

And this last stanza is so good for us as we approach the table:

“Happy souls approach the table, taste the soul reviving food.
Nothing’s half so sweet and pleasant as the Savior’s flesh and blood.
It is finished! Christ has borne the heavy load.”
This is the gospel, folks. This is what we believe. We believe and we trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ with all of our hearts. This is the Savior’s vocation: a priest, the one who represents us before God. We see his heart of compassion, dealing gently with us in our weaknesses; and we see his perfection, having offered the once and for all perfect sacrifice for our sins. Let’s learn together to draw grace and comfort from him, to trust in his compassion, and to rest in his finished work, trusting in him with all of our hearts.

Let’s pray together.

Merciful God, we thank you this morning for the truth of your word. These are deep truths that we have considered this morning. And I pray that your Spirit would take these truths, impress them deep in our hearts in ways that it helps us to feel, tangibly and experientially, the comfort that is ours—the comfort that is laid up for us as in a storehouse in the priestly office of Jesus Christ.

Lord, we ask you by your Spirit to minister to us today through your word and through the table as we come to take the elements, the bread and the juice, and by faith to feast our souls on Jesus Christ, who is the living bread, who gave himself for the world.

Lord, as we come to the table may we come with our eyes not on ourselves, but with our eyes on Jesus. May we come trusting not in ourselves or anything we could do for ourselves, but trusting in the complete, perfect, finished work of Christ. And we pray, Lord, that in so doing, we would experience your grace, that we would experience comfort in the gospel, that we would experience real fellowship with you. So draw near to us now, we pray in these moments. In Jesus’ name we pray and for his sake, amen.