Jesus, Our Great High Priest
Jesus is the Great High Priest and in John 17:1-11 we get a taste of how He loves to intercede for us. No person and no thing can do it as He can. He stands alone. For example, only Christ can forgive our sins. This is the “work” that the Son of God is speaking of in John 17:4 that was finished on the cross. He alone can give us eternal life by enabling us to know God intimately. The sacrificial system of the Old Testament could not truly cleanse anyone from past sins. It pointed to the need for a perfect sacrificial Lamb that was realized in the person of Jesus Christ.
Many people still fall into the trap of thinking that they can please God (in a saving sense of the word) through offering sacrifices. These days there aren’t very many folks annihilating pigeons and goats on make-shift altars in their backyards, but there is a great lie that is wholesale digested: If I do the right deeds, certain religious acts, then God will let me into Heaven. The bad news is that’s a lie. The good news is that Christ offers that to you freely when you repent and put your trust in Him. The passage below from the book of Hebrews speaks to this great truth.
Hebrews 10:11-14: 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Now for those of us who have put our faith in Christ, He intercedes on our behalf and we get to see that in action in John 17. His desire is for God the Father to keep His followers in His name and for them to have unity. The author of Hebrews echoes these sentiments, using the sacrifice of Christ as the springboard.
Hebrews 10:19-25: 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
We can approach the throne of God with confidence! This is not a boastful arrogance, but a rock solid foundation of Christ’s finished work on our behalf. Our Savior has demonstrated His love for us by dying in our place and He will certainly provide all of the grace necessary for us to follow Him in this life, glorifying His name and making much of Jesus, in the same way that Jesus glorified God the Father and completed His appointed tasks. He will enable us to hold on to our confession of Christ as Savior and Lord and to spur one another on to “love and good works.”
There is both rest and fuel in that: rest from the guilt of our past and fuel for the road ahead. We have rest from the condemnation of the accuser, the weight of a broken relationship with our Creator and the fear of eternal punishment. We have fuel for making much of Christ and carrying out our divinely appointed duties. Thus, due to the blood our High Priest poured out on the cross, Hebrews 4:14-16 encourages us to boldly come to our Savior and our hearts can resonate with the sentiments of David below.
Psalm 5:7-8: But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies;make your way straight before me.
- Author Michael Green
- Date May 5, 2016