A Great High Priest

We tend to think that someone or something else will help in time of need, but not Jesus. Maybe we think we’ve sinned too badly, or too many times, to go to Him again. Perhaps we think we can handle our weaknesses and sins on our own, or with a little help from a friend. But the author of Hebrews provides us with every reason to confidently draw near to Jesus, “Since then we have a great high priest…Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:14, 16). Believers can approach God confidently because of the person and work of Christ. And when we do, we can be confident that we will “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Where do you turn when you have sinned? If we’re honest, it’s not always to the throne of grace. When we have grown irritated, frustrated, or angry; or when we let an entire day go by without thanking God for the many blessings He has given us; or when jealousy and envy pervade our hearts, we don’t usually feel confident about drawing near to God. Oftentimes we want to hide, make excuses, or blame another person, or circumstance. But if you, like me, have tried to go to anyone or anything except the throne of grace in the wake of sin, you know that it isn’t helpful. However, when we go to Jesus we find “a great high priest who has passed through the heavens” (Heb. 4:14).

Jesus is unlike any other priest about whom the Scriptures speak. He is not only superior to every other priest (Heb. 5:1-4), He is also from a different order of the priesthood (vv. 6, 10). Furthermore, after accomplishing the redemption of God’s people, He “passed through the heavens” (4:14) and “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (1:3-4). Not only this, He is a fully human and fully divine high priest. Therefore, when we are in need of grace, we have no reason to turn away from the faith, or waver from the faith, or doubt the faith that we profess and hold so dear. Instead, we have every reason to “hold fast our confession” (4:14) and go to the throne of grace.

Sometimes, in the wake of sin, it is tempting to think that God is incapable of empathizing with us. What wonderful news, then, that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). If you read the gospel accounts, you will not only be encouraged, but will soon realize that when Jesus came to earth He experienced what it was like to be human, so that He can help us in time of need. Remember, we are too weak to carry out God’s will in our lives. We don’t have the power to persevere, but God does.

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