Have you ever puzzled about the idea of Jesus being your Great High Priest? For those of us not brought up in Judaism, this concept from the book of Hebrews may sometimes seem a little hard to grasp. However, its understanding is essential to the foundation of our faith. So today we are going to unpack it in the simplest way possible, looking at three main points that sum up the subject concisely.
1) Jesus has presented His own blood for us as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus offered Himself as the Lamb of God, as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, to take them away. He accomplished this, dying on the cross and rising again. He then entered the Most Holy Place of God’s presence as our High Priest. There, “once for all,” He brought His blood to atone for us (Heb. 9:12-14). From then on and forevermore, His blood continually “speaks” to the Father on our behalf, decreeing that we are righteous (Heb. 12:23-24).
High Priest takeaway point: Jesus’ blood makes you perfectly righteous.
2) Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us. This is also His role as High Priest. Right this very moment, He is praying for you (Heb. 7:25, Rom. 8:34). I think you and I can feel pretty confident that Jesus’ prayers get answered – isn’t that an amazingly comforting thought? He knows what you need far better than you do, and right now He is bringing that need before the Father. Those prayers will never fail you. You are forever covered, bathed in His prayer.
High Priest takeaway point: Jesus never stops praying for you, not for one moment.
3) Jesus empathizes with our weaknesses. He has experienced every temptation that you and I ever will face (Heb. 4:15). Although He never succumbed to any of them, He profoundly understands the feeling of pressure that seems nearly irresistible. He has deeply, achingly, personally experienced everything you and I will ever go through. This is why He’s such a good High Priest. When He speaks to the Father on your behalf, He does it out of deep compassion for your struggles.
High Priest takeaway point: Jesus gets you.
So, at the heart of it, these are the three things to remember about your High Priest, Jesus. His blood makes you clean and right with God. He is right now interceding for you. And He deeply understands you.
Isn’t it amazing to know that His blood right now is crying out that you are righteous? His blood has given you access right into God’s intimate presence. And His blood has established unbroken communion with God for you. You have peace with God forever through Him (Rom. 5:1).
Peace with God. What does that mean? Well, have you ever had someone that you love ask you, “Are we good?” I would imagine so. That question is an invitation to bring up any subject needing to be addressed in the relationship. The other person is wanting to protect the harmony between you. She or he is looking to clear the air – if any clearing is needed – that true, uninterrupted peace would continue in your connection.
If you ask God that question, He will resoundingly say, “Yes!” (Of course, if you have some specific failing on your conscience, bring it to Him, confess, and He will IMMEDIATELY cleanse your conscience with His blood!). As an overarching banner of love over you, He wants you to live forgiven, to live knowing that Jesus’ blood had made you right with Him. He wants you to live without any doubts of “whether we are okay.” That is what your High Priest does for you. He is the One who makes you right with God, when you never could on your own.
Paul explains it this way: “We… put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3, ESV). What does that mean? “The flesh” here means, our own efforts. He goes on to add, “…not having a righteousness of my own… but that which comes through faith in Christ…” (v. 9). So Paul is saying that we put no confidence in human effort to make ourselves okay with God. Nothing that we can do makes us at peace with God; only the blood of Jesus can. So we put no confidence in the flesh; rather, here is our confidence:
Our confidence is at the throne of grace! Why? Look at the previous verse: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (v. 15).
It’s our High Priest. It’s Jesus. It’s because His blood makes you righteous. It’s because He’s praying for you right this very moment. It’s because He has walked in your shoes. It’s because He deeply, deeply understands.
You know what is even more amazing? God has sworn that Jesus will be your High Priest forever. Immutably so! “God, determining to show more abundantly… the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath… ‘The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever…”’” (Heb. 6:17, 7:21 NKJV).
This basis for your boldness can never be broken; never be removed. God will not relent on His determination. He has sworn it with an oath. By His Son’s blood, you are righteous forever. This is where your confidence comes from, my friend. Your High Priest has made a way for you, through the sacrifice of Himself. So go on in. Go right into the throne room freely and without shame. Receive the grace that you need today!
In the space of this post, I have only been able to give the most basic summary of this topic. For studying subjects like this one in-depth, I would highly recommend Biblegateway.com!
Have you ever meditated on the thought of Jesus’ blood speaking for you? When you think about that idea, what comes to your mind?