Jesus the Great High Priest
Comments for Study 3
Memory Verse 4:14
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* When we commit sins, sins covers our soul. Likewise when we see our weaknesses we think they will always be around to haunt us. These things causes guilt, condemnation, and paralyzation; thinking we are washed up as Christians. But in this passage we see that this is not true because Jesus is our great high priest. Through him we can approach God for forgiveness, cleansing, and the right and ability to do his world saving work. Let's learn about and accept Jesus, our great high priest.
I. A Great High Priest Who Has Gone Through the Heavens (4:14-16)
>1. Why is Jesus' priesthood greater than others' high priesthood? Why does the author call Jesus "a great high priest"?
Hebrews 4:14 "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."
* "priests" -In the Old Testament we see that God set up the sacrifice system in Moses time so that man could be forgiven his sins. Priest were selected to offer animal sacrifices and grain offerings so that men and women could have a right relationship with God.
* "high priest" -One of these priest was selected to be above the rest. He was called the high priest. Once a year this chosen high priest would go out of the people's sight within the viel into the holiest of all holies where God was. There he would offer animal blood for his and his peoples sins. Though this man could be forgiven his sins and have a right relationship with God.
* But this system was not perfect for two reasons. One, each year the high priest had to offer the blood sacrifice. One sacrifice was not enough. Second, none of the high priest that was chose were really qualified to go before the holy God to offer such a powerful sacrifice because they were sinful. Instead, the Old Testament sacrifice system was only a foreshadow of the true sacrifice to come.
* "a great high priest" -The true sacrifice system to come was Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Jesus, the Son of God, was chosen as the great high priest of God, as we have seen in previous chapters. The blood he offered was not animals blood. Instead he offered his own blood which he shed on the cross. Jesus became the Lamb of God as John the Baptist says.
* "who has gone through the heavens" -Instead of going into a tent to offer blood to God, Jesus then went through the heavens and offered this blood directly to God the Father on his throne in heaven. God accepted Jesus blood sacrifice as an atoning sacrifice.
* "Our faith" is that we are forgiven of all our sins because Jesus is our great high priest. We believe that no matter how terrible of a sin we have committed, whether knowingly or unknowingly, we can and will be forgiven because of the blood of Jesus. And we believe that no matter how many times we commit a sin or sins, if we come to him in spirit and truth then God will forgive us our sins.
* Probably one of the most famous of sinners is Apostle Paul. He was a violent man and a persecutor of the church of God. But God understood and loved Apostle Paul. God knew he acted in ignorance. Jesus himself visited his life. Then Apostle Paul believed in Jesus' atoning sacrifice and God forgave him of all his sins. Not only that but he used him as the most powerful of all the apostles when he continually confessed God's grace and forgiveness through Jesus the great high priest.
* This grace and mercy seems to hard to believe. But it is true. How can God continually forgive such sinners? Look at verse 15.
Hebrews 4:15 "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."
* Jesus can forgive us of our sins because he knows our limitations. He knows the struggles we have to overcome. He knows the temptations of the world. He knows our past life that constructed our ways of thinking and our innermost souls. He knows these things because he himself was a man. He had flesh and bones. He felt pain. He felt pressures. He was tired. He got hungry and became sick. He even went to the restroom. Jesus was tempted in every way. Therefore, he can sympathize with our weaknesses. He is merciful and compassionate. He can help us in our time of need. Jesus is the good shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep, shedding his blood so we could be forgiven.
* "yet without sin" -Jesus was the perfect offering.
Hebrews 4:16 "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."
* If there is something that binds you now. If there is some unknown sin weighing you down. Confidently, come to Jesus for forgiveness, mercy and help.
* The author tells us to be confident when we come to Jesus' throne of grace. Confidence is important for it is easy for us to think that we are too sinful or to weak to ever be used by God. It is easy for us to think Jesus will never accept such a compulsive sinner. It is easy to think that there is no way we can be help. We may even find it hard to have a repetitive heart and therefore, it becomes easy for us to think that we are washed up as far as God and a holy life is concerned. But this is not true. If we sin and fail we can come to Jesus confidently. For he is the great high priest who will help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 5:1-3 "Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people."
* Here we see the work of the high priest was basically to be a shepherd for his flock. He had to to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. He had to be gentle and understanding. He had to be wise in the scriptures. He had to do the work of God. His job was not easy for it was a sacrificial job for the flock of sheep.
* Therefore, the person who was chosen to be the high priest had to be chosen with utmost care. There was always many priest to chose from and only one of them could be the high priest. How then would a high priest be selected from so many?
Hebrews 5:4 "No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was."
* God himself would pick who would be subtitle to have the important job of the high priest.
* In the same way Jesus was appointed by God to be the great eternal high priest.
Hebrews 5:5-6 "So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
* God chose Jesus to be the eternal high priest because he perfectly suited for the job.
* Jesus' life best displays his qualification as a high priest. As is said by the prophecies in verse 5, Jesus became man.
* "in the order of Melchizedek" -discussed in a future study since the author brings the subject up again and in more detail.
Hebrews 5:7-8 "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered."
* Because Jesus went through submitted to God's will he could become the Lamb of God for us. God's will was for him to life a pure and sacrificial life serving the flock of sheep as a shepherd. Then he die on the cross for our sins.
Hebrews 5:9-10 "and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek."
* "eternal salvation" -not just for awhile.