A Roman Catholic asked me recently, “If there are no priest in your church, then who stands before God to clear you from your sins? Don’t you need a priest?” I was surprised by the question. Most people, no matter what their religious beliefs, are not very reflective. She obviously thought about this deeply.
I had very little time to answer; yet I wanted to provide a biblical answer.
The book of Hebrews is written to Jewish believers who wanted to return to the Old Testament sacrificial system. They wanted a priest they could see and touch. The Old and New Testament makes it clear that all men need a person who would stand before God and represent them with a sacrifice. In Chapter seven of Hebrews, the apostle compares The Levitical priesthood to Jesus. The Levitical priest became a priest on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent (Hebrews 7:16). There were many in number, and they offered up sacrifices all the time.
Jesus, on the other hand, was made a priest with an oath: “You are a priest forever” (Psalm 110:4). The Levitical priests coiuld not continue in office because of death, but Jesus hold His priesthood permanently. The Last thing about Jesus as a priest, was that He was holy, innocent, unstained, and separated from sinners (7:26). Jesus had no need to offer sacrifices for Himself first and then the people. The law appointed men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath appointed The Son who has been made perfect forever (Hebrews 7:28).
Yes, I do need a priest, and Jesus Christ represents me before the Father. God appointed Him with an oath and He entered once for all into the holy place, thus securing eternal redemption.
I wish this was answer, but all I said was, “Jesus Christ is my High priest, and He died once for me and lives forever to pray for me.” I pray that she thinks deeply about that!
Brian L. Spivey