So far this month, we’ve discussed Jesus as the One True Sacrifice, as human, as divine. And all of this plays into His role as our High Priest.
The “high priest” can be defined as “ruler of the house of God” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 928). In the Old Testament, Aaron was the first designated high priest. His duties, his clothes, and his obligations were all different from any other priest or common followers (Hebrews 9:1-10).
One of the high priest’s biggest jobs: He was the main communicator between God and the Israelites. Only the high priest could approach the “throne” of God.
Another essential job: “The high priest had to offer a sin offering for his own sins and the sin of the whole congregation” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 929). He performed all the necessities to make atonement for himself and the people.
But things changed between the years of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The high priests became focused on wealth, prestige, and blame.
Then came Jesus.
Christ as Our High Priest
Hebrews 4:14 calls Him the “great high priest.” What specifically makes Him such?
Ali mentioned a major truth in her post a couple of weeks ago. She said:
“We all do things that God doesn’t like. None of us are sinless. And we all know that sin separates us from God.”
That’s a pretty major difference between Christ and us, isn’t it?
Christ is sinless – before, while on this earth, and after. His perfect nature and accompanying sacrifice allow us the opportunity to follow Him and experience redemption.
That blamelessness helps make Him our High Priest. As Lisa said last week, “But since Jesus IS the Son of God . . . we can love beyond ourselves.” His divine love is the example for our love.
Yet, that’s not all that classifies Him as such.
Though Christ was blameless, that doesn’t mean he didn’t suffer. He suffered. More than any of us ever have.
Lindsey shared a good list of how Christ experienced much of humanity as we do on her post last week.
He grew weary, He wept, He grieved, He experienced pain. He suffered.
Hebrews 4:15 says:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Think of your most trusted friend. Do you trust him (or her) because he holds knowledge or status? Or do you trust her because she has suffered as you have? He can empathize. She can relate. And he has wisdom and growth and guidance to offer from that experience.
Christ’s goal as high priest was not earthly in motivation. Unlike any previous priest, He holds an eternal priesthood with a better purpose available for all of us (Hebrews 7:22-25).
His sacrifice allows us to pray to God and opens redemption to anyone (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
He entered (Hebrews 9:11-12), and He saved.
“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly… But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” – Hebrews 9:24-25, 26
What Our High Priest Shares
I always think of Hebrews 4:15 when I think of Christ as High Priest. But, I think it’s equally important to look at the verses before and after that verse:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
Because He is our High Priest, we can come to Him any time, any place, with anything on our hearts. And share that grace-filled love with others.
How does your heart respond to Christ as our High Priest?