Worship: Jesus Our High Priest

Almost five years ago, I sat on the stiff carpet in my room just inside the door. It was shut. I had positioned myself so that it would stay that way, even if someone tried to come in. There was a heavy cloud of anxiety pressing down on me as I read part of Hebrews, just trying to silence the noise, just hoping that the truth would sink in sticky if I kept rereading the sentences one. word. and. sy. lla. ble. at. a. time.

Have you ever felt the need for a mediator, someone who “goes between” for your sake?

What about after you have sinned, when that dreadfully poisonous feeling of guilt creeps in your blood, or when the lenses of apathy fade and you awake to what you wish were a nightmare?

No matter what lies say in those moments, this is a normal experience for us humans.

The Israelites had a very specific kind of mediator in the Old Testament: the high priest. His job, in a nutshell, was to be holy so that he could bear the responsibility of offering a special sacrifice on behalf of the nation. No big deal, right?

Once a year, the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the people. The Holy of Holies was the most important part of the temple. The place where God’s Spirit was. The reason for ALL the other things in the temple. The climax of the setup. The physical space where the presence of God reached down from heaven to meet with man. This is no Michelangelo painting with God and Adam in flowing loincloths; this is the real deal, the big time — God on earth.

But there is a problem with having humans for high priest: they die.

Hebrews 7:23-25 says, “The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Let’s break that down. So, there were a lot of priests, due to a relatively fast turnover. But Jesus doesn’t die. Because He lives forever; there isn’t any more need. The position is filled indefinitely, no vacancies.

Let’s just stay there for a second. Reflect on the last time you sinned, felt guilty about something, or felt self-conscious for a shortcoming or inadequacy. Ask yourself (or maybe even journal): What difference does the immortality of Jesus, high priest, have on how I view my sin? How will I respond when my emotions seem to contradict this truth?

Back to Hebrews. Because Jesus is our forever high priest, “Therefore,” Scripture says that, “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Who is Jesus able to save? For how long is He able to save them? How are people to draw near to God?

Wow, people! These are some amazing truths about our powerful Savior! Did you catch in v. 25 the reason Jesus lives?

Meditate on what it means for Jesus to have this role in your life. Ask yourself whether you are allowing Him full reign to do that. Are trying to seek your own atonement for sins or mistakes? Would you rather have control over punishments or failures?

Jesus always intercedes. Jesus always lives. Jesus is always worthy. Take some time to respond to the Word of His worthiness with worship.

Joy
Joy is a recent college grad and 2014 Precept intern. She is currently seeking out opportunities to serve the Lord in work and life, while learning what it looks like to focus more on Jesus each day.

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One Response

08.15.14

Great article, Joy! What a High Priest we have!

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