Is Jesus Your High Priest?
Do you know why Jesus Christ is the perfect High Priest? Let us consider the question by starting with the following passage from Hebrews: “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:26-38, ESV).
Jesus is the perfect High Priest because He was perfected. Unlike the high priest of the Mosaical law, the priesthood of Jesus Christ is perfect. In Hebrews, chapter 7, we read, “Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11, ESV). After the writer revealed the imperfection of the Levitical priesthood, he continued, showing Jesus was “made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:28). Jesus is the perfection not attained by the Levitical priesthood. Jesus Christ is “holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” This perfection allowed Jesus to offer Himself up as a sacrifice before the Father, a sacrifice offered for our sins, offered once for all.
Jesus is the perfect High Priest because He was made like us. “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:17-18, ESV). Jesus is able to “help those who are being tempted” because He lived and suffered while being tempted. Consider again from the Hebrew letter, “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, ESV). While it is true Jesus, being made like us, faced many temptations, it is also true Jesus overcame those temptations. Jesus has set for us both an example and a pattern for defeating sin within our lives. With Jesus as our High Priest, we are able to “hold fast our confession” and stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13).
Jesus is our great High Priest because He has ascended to the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. Again from Hebrews 7 we read, “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:23-25, ESV). In chapter 9, we also read, “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” (Hebrews 9:24).
Truly, as the scriptures teach, Jesus is our great High Priest. This truth should provide great comfort to every child of God. While we know God does not tolerate sinful behavior, He has, though Jesus Christ made a path for repentance and forgiveness. The apostle John wrote, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Thankfully, the Heavenly Father is willing to forgive us if we will turn away from sin. This grace and mercy is only possible because of our great and wonderful High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ can be your perfect High Priest if you will submit to the will of God today. As we saw earlier, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25, ESV). Will you draw near to God through Jesus Christ in obeying the gospel’s call to salvation?