We have reached the halfway mark in our study. I’m always amazed at how quickly a study goes by. I guess its like the old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”
During this week’s lessons, we looked at passages regarding Jesus, our great high priest. We discovered and considered the reasons that His priesthood is better than the other priests. Our focal text was Hebrews 4:14-5:10.
We considered the story of Aaron, the first high priest and the golden calf. Moses had ascended the mountain to meet with God and Aaron was left in the camp with the people following their exodus from Egypt. The people turned to Aaron when they feared Moses would not return to lead them and asked him to make them a god to worship.
“(Aaron) took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf , fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, ‘Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.'” Exodus 32:4,5
Aaron found himself substituting a calf altar for the altar of God. Have you like Aaron ever done something to please others that was not pleasing to God? Have you ever rationalized your actions? Or substituted something in your life that only Jesus can really fill?
Moses comes down from the mountain with the tablets containing the commandments. He asks Aaron,
“What on Earth did these people ever do to you that you involved them in this huge sin?” Exodus 32:21.
The men who served as priests to God were Israel’s connection to Yahweh, their Creator but they were flawed and fallible. They could not bring about the redemption of man nor offer true rest to the people of God. Jesus Christ is the only one who can.
“Since we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has gone into heaven, let us hold on to the faith we have. For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it.” Hebrews 4:14-16
Questions to Consider:
- In what ways, have you tried to substitute something for Jesus?
- How does Jesus incorporate the strength of the priesthood without any of the weakness?
- How do our bad decisions compound themselves and take us places we never thought we’d go?
- Why is allowing people-pleasing to guide our actions particularly dangerous — especially in ministry?
- How does it make you feel when spiritual leaders fall? Why do you think we as Christians tend to put pastors and priests on pedestals and then become angered if they fall?
I also found a couple of articles that I thought were interesting. The first is an article that compares the similarities between Moses and Jesus by Timothy Palmer, click here. The second is an interesting take on the story of the golden calf by Dr. Jeffrey Tigay, a professor of Hebrew and Semitic languages and literature at the University Of Pennsylvania, click here.
You’re doing great! Keep at it — the finish line is in view!
Begin Week 4 session this week.