Hebrews 7:21 (NIV) 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.'”
On verses 20-21: In a court of law, before a witness takes the stand, the witness makes a solemn promise, swearing to tell the truth. This is called an oath. The oath is meant to show that the person speaking is completely serious and sincere about the words he or she is about to speak and that his hearers can count on what he or she is saying. Likewise, when God spoke words to appoint Jesus as a priest, God swore an oath to show how serious and sincere He was about the pronouncement He was making.
Whereas others naturally became priests by being born into the tribe of Levi, Jesus supernaturally became a priest by way of God’s oath or promise. It’s similar to what happened with Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. First there was Ishmael who was conceived in an ordinary, natural, man-made way. But then came Isaac, who was conceived supernaturally as the result of God’s promise (see Romans 9:9 and Galatians 4:23). Jesus became a priest because of a promise.
Hebrews 7:22 (NIV) 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
On verse 22: In supernaturally becoming a priest because of God’s promise, Jesus also became the guarantor of a better covenant. What is a guarantor? A guarantor is someone who promises to fulfill another person’s obligation in case that other person is unable to fulfill it. By giving his or her guarantee, the guarantor is giving the person receiving the promise security that the promise will be fulfilled. That’s what Jesus does for us. Through God’s promise, Jesus became a guarantor of a new covenant God was establishing with His people. Through His living the perfect life, dying for our sins and conquering the grave by His resurrection, Jesus made sure that the new and better covenant God promised to establish was not just words or nice ideas, but a reality we can all count on.
Hebrews 7:23-25 (NIV) 23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
On verses 23-25: Because Jesus lives forever, His ministry as a priest never stops and is never broken. Thus Jesus offers us the most complete — and in fact the only — salvation we can receive, for only Jesus’ priestly ministry lasts forever. Only Jesus stands in the gap as our bridge to God, our mediator and intercessor for all time.
Hebrews 7:26-27 (NIV) 26 Such a high priest meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
On verses 26-28: Whereas other high priests had to offer sacrifices every day, first for their own sins and then for the people’s sins, Jesus’ sacrifice was so perfect that He only needed to offer one sacrifice for all time. What other priests could not do despite trying every day, Jesus did once and for all and did so perfectly: Jesus perfectly met our need and completely cleansed us of our sins when He offered himself as a sacrifice.
Lord Jesus, priest because of a promise, guarantor of God’s better covenant, our bridge to God and mediator forever, I praise You because, as verse 26 says, You are holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Not only was Your appointment as priest special and supernatural, but Your ministry as priest is unlike any other. Thank You for perfectly meeting our need and for completely cleansing us of our sins when You offered Yourself as the perfect sacrifice. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!