“(14) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. (16) Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
The book of Hebrews contains several warnings for believers including drifting, doubting and dullness toward the Word of God. As our Creator, God knows us better than we know ourselves and, due to His infinite grace, He provided these warnings to help us remember what to do, not if we stumble but when we stumble.
When you have failed God, remember who Jesus is. Look at verses 14-15 again: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable so sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
If you are in Christ, you have a great High Priest named Jesus. He belongs to you. He is your High Priest forever. Hebrews 5:1 states, “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God.” Therefore, the high priest had to be human – no angel qualified for this role. The high priest had to be a human being because he was to represent man before God.
Furthermore, the high priest had to be “called by God.” Verse 4 states, “No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.”
Jesus was called by His Father and was sent to earth to be our very special High Priest. Thus, Jesus fulfilled both of these requirements: 1) He was a man and 2) He was called by God. His very name – Jesus – reminds us of His humanity. Jesus experienced hunger, thirst, weariness, temptation, pain and even death. And because He was a man, He was able to represent us.
The office of high priest was the most honored position in Israel. The most important task of the high priest was performed each year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. That day was sacred to Jews because on that day the high priest made atonement for the sins of the people. On the annual Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Temple and made a sacrifice for the sins of the entire nation.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, was headed toward the hill upon which He would offer Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He was nailed to the cross, where He shed His own blood to make atonement for our sins – an acceptable and pleasing sacrifice to God. At the very moment He died, the veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the doorway to heaven opened. Jesus paid the price. He died, was buried and, on the third day, He rose from the dead. Forty days later, He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He is there now, praying for us, making continual intercession for you and me.
Jesus is our great High Priest. He is great because He was a perfect sacrifice, and now He has become our “mercy seat.” You see, His blood doesn’t just cover our sin, it actually takes it away. Psalm 103:12-14 states, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”
Jesus is our great High Priest because He was without sin. Furthermore, He is our great High Priest because He didn’t pass through a man-made sanctuary. No, He literally passed through the heavens and entered Heaven itself, where He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and there He serves as our representative. HE IS FOR US! This should revolutionize our thinking! God is not against us. HE IS FOR US!
When you have failed God, as we all do at times, recall who Jesus is. That is the very first step—to remember Jesus is there for you. Next week, we will consider the second step we need to take when we have failed God. Stay tuned! Amen!