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Jesus Our PriestA Christian Approach to the Priesthood of Christ$
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Gerald O'Collins, SJ and Michael Keenan Jones

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199576456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576456.001.0001

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Hebrews on Christ's Priesthood

Hebrews on Christ's Priesthood

(p.45) 3 Hebrews on Christ's Priesthood
Jesus Our Priest

Gerald O'Collins (Contributor Webpage)

Michael Keenan Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out what the Letter to the Hebrews means by calling Christ ‘high priest’ and ‘priest according to the order of Melchizedek’. This involves, above all, a ‘once‐and‐for‐all’ sacrifice in which he himself was the victim, and a priestly intercession which continues forever in heaven. Through assuming the human condition, being appointed by God, and living a sinless life of faith, Christ right from his birth was qualified for priestly office and so to offer sacrifice for the sins of others. Hebrews pictures this sacrifice through images drawn from the ritual performed by the Jewish high priests during worship in the Jerusalem Temple, above all on the Day of Expiation. Christ's permanent and efficacious priesthood ‘according to the order of Melchizedek’ is prior to and greater than the Levitical priesthood. His priestly work purifies human beings from sin and makes them share in a new and ‘better’ covenant, which enables them to live a sacrificial, priestly existence through praise of God and service of others.

Keywords:   covenant, expiation, intercession, Melchizedek, high priest, sacrifice, victim

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