We Have A Great High Priest [Part 1]
What a truth! But one which is sadly neglected in our day. As a result, I have written a series of three short devotions on Hebrews 4 verses 14-16 which will be posted over the next few weeks.
The priesthood of Christ is the main subject of the epistle. This is not surprising if, as is quite possible, the main audience to whom the apostle wrote were former priests of Judaism (see Acts 6.7). The prophet was characterised by speaking. He would reveal God to man. The king was characterised by sovereignty. He would reign for God over man. The priest was characterised by service. He would represent man before God. There have been king-prophets like David, priest-prophets like Samuel and even a king-priest in Melchizedek but Christ combines the offices of prophet, priest and king in one glorious Person.
Let’s take a look at these three glorious verses in Hebrews 4. My translation of verse 14 would be as follows: Seeing then that we have a great high (chief) priest, that is passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us continue to hold fast our confession. Without noting too much of the context, true believers have been reminded of their inherent weaknesses and exhorted to faithfulness and diligent labour for the Lord, all of which can seem overwhelming. We need the sustaining strength of our Great High Priest.
And great He is. There were 83 high priests in Israel’s history but none was ever called ‘great’ (or in Greek, megas). The Lord Jesus is the: great Light, great King, great Prophet, great God and Saviour and great Shepherd of the sheep. He can bring about: a great calm, great joy and great astonishment. Great and marvellous are His works. Now, can you find the references?
This Priest has passed through the atmospheric and stellar heavens with the present result that He is now in heaven itself (the third heaven) in the presence of God. He has gone within the veil of the true tabernacle in heaven. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest passed through the court, Holy Place and into the Holy of Holies but Christ has passed through the reality of which the Tabernacle was a type. Furthermore, the High Priest was one who led the people in their worship of God. As our High Priest has left earth and entered into heaven, the suggestion is that God has temporarily abandoned earthly priesthood and ceremony during this dispensation. Worship now takes place in heaven alone (John 4).
The Priest who has accomplished all this is Jesus the Son of God. This is manhood (Jesus) and deity (Son of God) combined in one Person, giving Him unique qualification for such service. Whatever difficulties may face us on the Christian pathway, and the Hebrews were facing intense persecution, let us remember that having such a Priest sustaining and representing us in the immediate presence of God is good reason to hold fast or ‘stick like glue’ to our confession that He is indeed the divine Son.
Daniel Rudge is in fellowship with the assembly that meets in Bracknell Gospel Hall (UK) and with his wife is commended to full time preaching and teaching of the Word of God.