Why Are Human Priests Insufficient?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Fulfilled, Part 10

by Steve Ham on March 15, 2011

Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., explains that sinful men could never fully atone for their own sins or for our sins.

Why Are Human Priests Insufficient?

who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. (Hebrews 7:27)

Today’s big question: why are human priests insufficient?

When I was in high school, I played rugby. Rugby is a tough, grueling, free-flowing, fast-paced, action-packed sport. We had a good team, but as good as we were, there was one team we could just never beat. It was continually frustrating. The harder we trained, it seemed they must have trained even more. We prepared well and threw everything we had at them only to find that they always seemed to have an answer. It was the team that couldn’t be conquered, and in playing that team we were the team that always seemed to fall short. Sin is like this insurmountable opposition.

We can do nothing in our own human existence to conquer sin. It is always going to have a grip on us, a grip no person in this world can unbind. This struggle with sin was also an ever-present reality for the Jewish priests. Each year, the high priest meticulously prepared for the Day of Atonement. He entered the tent of the Holy of Holies, having made sacrifice for his own sins and the sins of the people. He stepped into the tent in fear and trepidation, knowing one slip up could result in death. When he came out of the tent, there was great relief. The sacrifice was made, the priest was still alive, and the work of the priest was completed . . . for that year and for that day.

Immediately after completing the tasks on the Day of Atonement, the priest began preparation for next year in completing the daily duties and sacrifices that would again bring them to the next Day of Atonement. The priest’s job was never complete—never complete for the Jewish people and never complete for himself. This is because he was a sinner and the priest for sinners. Every day, the priest’s job was incomplete. Every day, he sacrificed and worked, but his sin and the sin of the Jewish people remained unconquerable. Sin’s grip on us has no human way out for ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment.

Jesus, however, is the one who has no sin. He is the pure and spotless Lamb, and because of His divine purity He could thoroughly atone for sin once and for all. This is a complete work, completed on the Cross. It is finished.  

Today’s big idea: human religious leaders are still human, and all humans are sinful. Only Christ satisfies.

What to pray: come to the Lamb of God, repent of your sin, and claim His once–and-for-all victory.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.