My small group is currently working through the book of Hebrews. It’s extremely rich and deep in it’s teaching. One could argue that one of the main themes or purposes of the book of Hebrews is to highlight the qualifications, sufficiency and supremacy of Christ in our creation and salvation. Hebrews’ goal is to point the reader to Jesus and how He alone is our hope.
In chapter four it talks about Jesus being our great High Priest. It’s not often we hear Jesus described this way, however when we understand why, it will enrich our relationship with Him and help us appreciate more what He has done for us.
During Old Testament times, the High Priest was Israel’s ‘representative’ to God. His job was to make animal sacrifices to God on the nation’s behalf for the forgiveness of their sins. Given the High Priest was also sinful, he had to make an animal sacrifice for himself first before he could go into the presence of our holy God within the Jewish temple or tabernacle. The penalty for sin is death, hence the need to sacrifice another life in order for the penalty of our sin to be upheld.
Then the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is now our great High Priest given He is our representative before God. The difference though is that Jesus was without sin, so He didn’t have to make any sacrifices to go into God’s presence. Also given he was without sin, He alone was qualified to be sacrificed on our behalf so that through Him the penalty for our sin may be upheld and we can go into God’s presence. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, God can justly forgive us and reconcile us to Him forever.
It’s a hope all those who put their faith in Jesus have. A living hope founded on who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Jesus is all God, but in coming to earth He is also all man. He went through the trials we go through. Temptation pounded at the door of His soul every day, right up until the bloody sacrifice Christ made on the cross for us. He knows our pain. He knows our struggles. Yet unlike us, He didn’t give into temptation. He stood up against temptation’s fiercest weaponry. He did this because He had a clear purpose and goal – To obey His Father and reconcile us to Him forever
With so much uncertainty and pain in the world, we can rest assured our hope in Christ is grounded in the perfect sacrifice Jesus made for us. He is our great High Priest, our intercessor before God, our redeemer and protector. He understands our struggles and is ready to build us up during our times of doubt and despair. Instead of wallowing in self pity, let’s draw close to Christ and rest on the salvation He has provided for us in Him. We have all of eternity to savour and enjoy that beautiful truth!