The translator of the Bible took the opportunity to add in steps to character building. He warns against certain characteristics as well as makes us aware of the company we keep. For example, in the story of Job, we read how everything including his friendship was taken from him. Job was a highly respected man who was a part of the intellectual crowd. Those in the intellectual crowd turn on him because of the affliction in which God put of him. After he found who was and was not loyal to him, he gained great substance.
This brings us to the story of Jesus. Most of us only see Jesus as the messiah, the son of God, sent to die for our sins. We miss a crucial part of the story. Jesus was a High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek. By including this factor into the journey of Jesus, we find that Jesus was being tried and tested. In the story it was a must that he got crucified.
Before we go any further, we must look at the definition for the word crucify. In the Greek language the word is pronounced “stauroo.” Part of the definition means to impale on the cross, which would satisfy the story of Jesus dying on the cross. Yet if we continue to read the definition, it states “fig. to extinguish (subdue) passion or selfishness.”
Let’s look at the definition for the word passion. It means any kind of feeling by which the mind is powerfully affected or moved; a vehement, commanding, or overpowering emotion; in psychology and art, any mode in which the mind is affected or acted upon (whether vehemently or not), as ambition, avarice, desire, hope, fear, love, hatred, joy, grief, anger, revenge. Now let’s look at the definition of subdue. It means to bring (a person) into mental, moral, or spiritual subjection; to get the upper hand of by intimidation, persuasion, etc.; to obtain control of the conduct, life, or thoughts of; to render (a person or animal) submissive; to prevail over, get the better of; with a person’s body, soul, mind, action, etc. as the object.
So subdue one’s passion means to control his/her emotions. The controlling of a person’s emotions is needed to be considered a person of high character. This does not mean the person gets rid of his/her emotions. It means they can control them at will. The only way a person can control his/her emotions is by overstanding what is happening. In the bible, it is highlighted by knowing good and evil (Gen 3:5; Gen 3:22; Heb 5:14). Good and evil (Yahweh) are the extremes of a deed. Yahweh is translated to mean Lord. Yah means good; and weh means bad/evil. Therefore those who overstand both natures can hold the title “Lord” (ie. Our Lord Jesus Christ).
Subsequently, the book of Hebrews discusses three different priesthoods. They are the Levitical priesthood, the Order of Aaron, and the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7:11). This book is not speaking of the average person. It is describing characteristics needed to be in the priesthood. The main focus is Jesus’ entrance into the highest priesthood, which is the Order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:6). According to Hebrews 7:1-4, Melchizedek is an highly respected person.
71 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, not end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 4 Now condsider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
According to Hebrews 7:5, this exchange of tithing became a ritual acted out by the Levitical priest:
5 And verily, they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they came out of the loins of Abraham.
The act of tithing is as much a ritual as praying.
Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, so he was not eligible for the priesthood according to tradition. The priest came from the tribe of Levi (Num 3). Even though Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi, he was given access into the priesthood. In order to gain access he had to take an oath, which the priest from the tribe of Levi did not have to take (Heb 7:21). Since the Levitical priest were responsible for the law and Jesus had to take an oath. It clarifies why Jesus made the statement in Matthew 5:17-19, which states:
17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
It is evident that a part of Jesus’ oath was to uphold the laws of Moses.
Subsequently we can continue to follow the transformation or elevation of Jesus into the priesthood. It was not an easy one. We will see how his abundance of knowledge caused him to suffer and be hated. Some people today may experience the same suffering because of the inability to control their passion to correct what they know to be wrong. These people are considered to be arrogant.
Remember our arrogance statement, as we examine Jesus’ journey. According to John 14:6 Jesus states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me. What is Jesus saying? He is saying he is the only one who knows the way to the truth of God. He is claiming no others know the way. The laws of God are the way.
Yet, throughout the gospels, Jesus violates one crucial law. The law states that, “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death (Ex 21:17; Mat 15:24; Mk 7:10).” However Jesus states otherwise in Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” There is an issue here in the phrase “hate not.” It appears that Jesus is saying that the person must hate all the above stated including self. This is where the concept of being selfless comes from. Jesus is saying the person must be selfless to be one of his disciples. Jesus knew the law to honor your mother and father, but then tells people they must hate them. It seems that Jesus is disobeying his oath. In addition, Jesus disrespected his mother claiming to be about his father’s business in Luke 2:49. He also disrespected her when she told him about the wine issue in John 2:3-4.
We can imagine Jesus walking with his chest poked out. We say this because Jesus pushed his knowledge on people. He was undoubtedly recognized as a wise person. John the Baptist called him the Lamb of God. He was even called Rabbi (master) by two people who heard him speak. The Canaanite woman sought his assistance (Mat 15: 22-28). Jesus said he was only there for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He called her a dog. Yet, here persistency caused him to take notice of her.
Furthermore, we must admit that Jesus was a revolutionist. He challenged the interpretations of the Hebraic laws. His challenge caused major problems because it shook the traditional foundation of the people. He ultimately became the enemy of the people. It did not matter if he was all right and exact. His harsh methods swayed the people to follow the traditional priest, which gave the priest the momentum to destroy Jesus. Even if the priest were unjustly governing the people, Jesus tactics was bitter to the taste of many people.
The reality is that Jesus did not possess the characteristics needed to be a High Priest. Yes, he had the knowledge of good and evil. But if the knowledge is improperly used, it can destroy even the best of intentions. What Jesus ultimately lacked was the maturity level that comes with knowledge. We can see this in the way Jesus chose his disciples. By him choosing his disciples, instead of his disciples seeking to follow his teachings, there was much confusion and trust issues.
The main form of confusion came with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. Remember Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. The name Judas shows a relation to Judah. Judas knew the traditional practices of the priesthood. He also knew that Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi. Judas saw Jesus as a false prophet. Therefore, Judas did not feel he did anything wrong. Judas was unaware that Jesus took an oath to enter the priesthood, which brings us back to the crucifixion.
Jesus felt he had the right to proceed on his journey because membership in the priesthood. He made a mistake in his assumption. Just because he was in the priesthood, did not mean he was not responsible for his actions in how he treated people. Although he figured Judas sold him out to the authorities, he did not think he did anything wrong. While hanging on the cross, he asked God why he had forsaken him (Mat 27: 54). This is a clear sign that Jesus did not think he did anything wrong. During this ordeal God ignored him.
Jesus recognized is error. He gave up the ghost, which replicates his passion to force his teachings on the people. He was crucified or subdued his selfishness and passion. Yet in John 20, we find a strange occurrence called the resurrection. As Mary Magdalene (who some say was his wife) look to anoint the body (a Hebraic ritual that only family members or a spouse can perform), she did not find the body of Jesus. Since she could not find his body, she got emotional and started crying. At this time a gardener appears. We find out that the gardener is Jesus. He tells Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascent unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.” This is where many believe that Jesus was walking around as a spirit.
During this exchange, Jesus has risen from the dead. We argue that his rising from the dead was not literal. It was allegorical. He had to lose his arrogant ways. Therefore, he went on to be a High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek.