“The Word, God’s very Self-expression, who was both with God and was God, became flesh: he donned our humanity, save only our sin. God chose to make himself known, finally and ultimately, in a real, historical man.” – D.A. Carson
The priesthood was given through Aaron to the Levites. Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah. So the lineage to being a priest focuses on God’s call to Jesus to be the high priest. The sinless high priest. At the time Jesus came, God could not identify with us and our condition and the human weakness. The high priest—pre-Jesus—was man and could identify. So Jesus came and became one of us so that he could identify with us, so God could identify with us. “He says in the clearest voice we have the sentence that mankind craves… the Maker of all things loves and wants me… In no other book our culture owns can we see a clearer graph of that need, that tall enormous radiant arc — fragile creatures made by God’s hand, hurled into space, then caught at last by a man in some ways like ourselves.” (Reynolds Price)
He was a man like us, but he operated in the special office as a priest so that he could be the perfect go-between: sinless (like God) yet tempted (like man). This is so crucial to understand. Every other major religion has god as being very separated from man—not in touch with man’s suffering. But our God sent his son to the earth to become like us so that he could understand what we were going through.
We have someone that loves us and knows us. He identifies with the human condition because Jesus willingly laid down his glory. And because of this, God the Father anointed the Son to be the lamb of God, to be the High Priest of heaven, to be the redeemer and savior of the world.
But we can’t ever lose sight of what he went through to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We see him fight the fight of faith that led to the ultimate obedience here:
Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them,“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said,“Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 11:32-35)
Jesus prayed for the cup to pass from him, but ultimately surrendered himself to God and his will. Everyone has a cross. “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) What is your cross? It’s not your wife and kids. It’s not your in-laws. No, your cross is the place where God’s will conflicts with your will and it’s hard. It’s the place you have to fight off your flesh to do the will of God. Picking up the cross is saying to God, “I will do whatever you want me to do.”
Jesus battled with this. He asked the father if there was any other way to do the will of God without the cross. He could have withdrawn his agreement. He could have withheld his obedience.
But he didn’t. He’s our example. “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44) Jesus showed us that you can’t wear the crown God has for you until you have endured the cross he has given you.