Seeing then that 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 cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
My High Priest Knows Me
Central to the Law of Moses were the sacrifices of the priests on behalf of the people. The Levitical priesthood came from the first High Priest, Aaron. Not all Levites were priests; only the sons of Aaron. The need for priests came about when sin separated man from God and priests served as the representative of the sinner in things pertaining to the Lord. Once a year, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and later the Temple, to offer sacrifice for the sins of the nation. This was called the Day of Atonement. He would take a young bull as sacrifice for his own sins and a ram for a burnt offering. Two goats were taken before the tent of meeting and lots would be cast to determine which goat would represent the Lord and which goat would become the scapegoat. The goat chosen for the Lord would be sacrificed and his blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat. Confessing the sins of the people, the High Priest would lay his hands on the scapegoat, which was led far away into the wilderness as a sign of the removal of the sins of the nation.
The writer of Hebrews uses the image of the High Priest to show what a blessing the covenant of Christ should be for the child of God. Under the Law of Moses, sacrifices were made for the High Priest before He was able to make sacrifice for the nation. Aaron was the first High Priest and his sons were the lineage of the succeeding High Priests. This were sinful men. The best of the High Priest were still stained with the curse of sin requiring blood washing to remove their sins before making atonement for the people. When the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies, he was an imperfect man stained with the sacrifices of his own need for atonement. Under Christ, we have a High Priest that has no sin requiring no sacrifice on His part for atonement. He became the Lamb of God by offering His sinless body as atonement for the sins of the world.
What is more significant to the sacrifice of Jesus is the difference between the High Priest under the Law and Jesus as High Priest. When Aaron went into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the people, he was knowledgeable of his own sin. It was not possible that Aaron could sympathize with all of the weaknesses of the people and their struggles with sin because he was a finite man, limited in presence, knowledge and understanding. He knew his own sin but he did not know the sin of the people. There was nothing Aaron could boast about in his own life of perfection because he did not have a life of perfection. He was as guilty as the people were. Jesus is not such a High Priest. He was tempted in every fashion as we are and yet He did not sin. That is hard to grasp to the majesty of Jesus’ love for man. The High Priest we have today can sympathize with everything we are challenged with because He was in the flesh battling the same disease. The difference is that He was able to overcome without sin.
Having Jesus as a High Priest is further understood by knowing that He knows all about my life. Aaron knew about his life but not the problems of the individual. The High Priest that is Christ knows all about my needs – personally. He died two thousand years ago but he knows my struggle today. There are six billion people in the world but Jesus knows everything there is to know about me. Sin is the plague that afflicts every man and woman on the face of the earth and Jesus sympathizes with my struggles and failures. My High Priest is my High Priest because He died for me and cares for my life. The Son of God takes personal time to know who I am and what I am doing. His Father forgives me of my sins because I am His child. Jesus died to save me and to help me and give me boldness to stand before the throne of His Father and obtain mercy. Me. Personally. My sins. My challenges. My dreams. My hopes. My Savior. I do not need to fear to enter the Holy place of God because Jesus is my High Priest and through His atonement I can come to the throne of grace to help in time of need. And when is there a time that I do not need by Father? I have a High Priest who passed through the heavens and Jesus is His name. I will hold fast the confession of my faith. Thank you God for your sacrifice. I am so blessed to have my High Priest.