Senior Adult Weekly Devotional Wk. 86

By: Noah Barr

Our Triumphant High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 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. 15 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. 16 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.

            The priesthood was bloody business. A priest would make hundreds of sacrifices each year for the people. Lambs, goats, bulls and birds were all brought to the altar, where they were put to death for sin. Sin was serious! So serious that the priests had to continually offer sacrifices throughout each year. When would the sacrifices be over? When would the bloodshed be enough? Surely the priests asked themselves these questions over the time of their service. What was even more degrading was that the priests also had to offer sacrifices for their own sins! A never-ending fight with sin!   

The sacrifices were necessary to keep an open line with the Lord. But even with all the sacrifices, it was not enough to give the people a full relationship with the Lord. In fact, there was a most holy place in the tabernacle where the presence of the Lord rested. The only person ever allowed in there was the high priest and he only once a year! The access to God was limited by the sin of the people, who gave sacrifices that were not perfect. As we will read later on in Hebrews 10:4: “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” The sacrifices the people gave were not able to forgive their sins. They would not have been enough to gain Heaven. All the earthly attempts to be free from sin were ultimately futile. After hundreds of years, the sin still remained. What was the answer to the madness? What could answer all these years of endless blood? Ironically, it was one more sacrifice, given by one more priest.

         One more priest, with one more sacrifice would be the answer to humanity’s greatest problem. We, of course, know that this priest was Christ. Not only was He a priest, but He lived a perfect life, untainted by sin.r Because of this perfect life, always obeying the Father, Christ was the perfect sacrifice. The Israelites were not able nor would they ever have come up with, a perfect sacrifice. They had to look to the one who was to come. He made the only sacrifice that would fully forgive and take away sins. He did not come with a sacrifice, as the priests in the Old Testament did. He was the sacrifice! It was as if He was standing in the temple as the priest and then He put Himself on the altar. In a moment, when Christ was on the cross and all the sin of the world was put on Him, and then He was struck by God’s wrath, all of the sins of God’s people, past, present and future, were forgiven. Not a single sacrifice for sin needed to be done ever again.  It truly was finished (John 19:30)! With sin being paid for, what do we now do? Hebrews gives us the answer.

“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” (Heb. 4:14-15). What do we do now? We come to Him! Christ is our constant perfect priest who does not stand waiting for us to come with a new sacrifice, but with our hearts fully open to Him. These verses tell us that Heaven knows the truthfulness of Christ. He is the high priest who is the Son of God. He can be trusted fully and is without fault. Christ holds all power and knows all of those who He has forgiven. He knows all the men, women, boys and girls who belong to Him. For this reason, we should devote ourselves more so to Christ. We should ask Him how we can be better servants and to strengthen our faith. We come to Him in prayer and we listen to His Word. And we should have confidence that He always knows the struggles of our hearts.

Jesus was tempted as every human is. He did not experience every single temptation, for example; he did not have a wife, therefore, never would have faced the temptation to commit adultery. But He did face the weight of temptation’s pull. He did face the challenge to reject God and rebel against Him. He did face sorrow and pain, torture and insults. He faced the temptation to take vengeance on all his enemies, but He did not. He endured the weaknesses of the human body. Jesus, our Priest knows our sorrows.

         “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” (Heb. 4:16). With this great high priest, we have great confidence to come to Him. As Jesus was teaching on a certain day, he was interrupted. This interruption was not shot down but welcomed. Matthew 19:14 tells us that Jesus welcomed the little children that came to Him. Those who wanted to know Him, went, not fearing the adults or even a rebuke from Jesus, but boldly went to Him. This would have been unacceptable for young children to do, as a great teacher should not have been approached by just anybody. The parents would have been scolded for letting their children break through. The children understood Jesus seemingly more than anybody around them; that He wanted to be with them. Jesus had shown His care for children and the disciples were not yet able to understand this care. We are told in Galatians 3:26 that: “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” As sons and daughters, we are adopted for life. We often wonder if we can really come to Him. Do we really have the open door as a parent to a child? Scripture tells us many times that the answer is yes. The Hebrews needed to be told this again themselves. They had a great high priest whose door is always open. A great Father who welcomes His imperfect children. A King with abundant grace and mercy who brings us around His very throne and declares us perfect, as He is perfect.