Hebrews 5:4-5 (ESV)

And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

[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”;

Jesus is the Great High Priest. He is a priest like no other ever was or ever could be. Priesthood is a powerful thing. It means one is able to stand between God and men and intercede for them in ways that enable them to be forgiven or to have an audience with God. Heady stuff.

One can imagine little boys in Israel longing to be in the place of offering up sacrifices to God so that people could know the forgiveness of sins. But it was not for everyone. It was only for those whom God appointed. It was for the men of the tribe of Levi. This was God’s way. The work of priest is an honourable work, but it was only for those called to it.

This was true of Aaron and it was true of Christ. He was appointed by the Father. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. God sent His Son into the world to save the world. For Jesus, the appointment meant giving up the glories of heaven, and enduring life as a human being. Paul explains it best when he says Jesus “made Himself nothing” (Phil. 2:6).

The “honour” of being high priest was a humbling act for the eternal Son of God. Yet it is a glorious thing since the accomplishments of Christ as High Priest mean that a countless multitude will sing the praises of the Son of God for eternity. Because of His work as priest the planet will be liberated from its bondage. Because of the high priestly work of Christ Satan will be ultimately crushed and destroyed. Because of the work of Christ as priest there will be a new heavens and a new earth. Jesus coming to earth to be our great high priest was a numbing act of humility. But oh what things it has and will accomplish.

Dare we make an application here? Paul says in Philippians 2:5 that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ when He humbled Himself and made Himself nothing. What acts of humility have you considered too low for you? What lowering of yourself to the level of the homeless or the poor or the mentally ill have you thought not worthy of your time? What churches have Christians abandoned because they weren’t “significant” enough?

God appoints His children to lowly, humbling acts of faith and places of service. He calls them to be faithful in obscurity and hardship and anonymity. But they can never be as lowly or as humbling as what Christ did in His appointment as high priest for us.

Jesus is exalted in glory now and will reign forever. Take up the appointed role the Father has called you to and you too shall be rewarded. The Christian life is a great calling. The rewards are out of this world. The life we live is called to imitate the life of Jesus. You can only do that through humbling yourself and making yourself nothing.