"There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office."
It has been said that the death rate remains one per person. It is not a surprise then that the author of Hebrews notes in chapter seven that the Jewish high priest was always changing. He could not remain in office because he was destined to die and then be replaced. An individual can serve a community or an organization for only so long. And this time period is even shorter than one's lifespan. For when we are young we are not ready. Rather we grow in knowledge and maturity, preparing to fully serve. When we are old, we finally rest from the service we have done. Across our entire life we can and should contribute to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, the time that we are fully engaged is only a subset of our presence here on earth. Almost all of us develop up to full engagement, and most of us retire out of full engagement as we transition into our sunset years. It is a sobering, and natural process.
Most Americans don't like to ponder the topic of our mortality. We've even changed some of the vocabulary related to death. People don't die, they pass on. Funerals are memorial services. Graveyards are gardens of remembrance. Try as we might, death remains and touches us all the same. We can't escape its power over us.
Thankfully, God chose to rescue us. He became a human being. Jesus grew and matured. He fully engaged in his mission and died abruptly. Yet his death was not his end. He was resurrected to life and became the high priest who would remain in office forever. What humanity was not able to do, God accomplished.
Recognizing our mortality, we can now come to our eternal high priest. In submission and repentance we can bow before him. In return, he offers us forgiveness and life through him. Death does not need to be the end of us. It can merely be a transition to greater service to God.
(New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)