In Hebrews 2:17 (NKJV) we read, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
What do you know about priests? I grew up in a strong Catholic community. There was a great divide between the Catholics and the Protestants. It seemed the only place where it made no difference was in school. We were there to learn.
In the case of Catholic priests, we know mostly that they are men dedicated to lifelong, celibate service to God. In the Hebrews 2:17 verse, Jesus is portrayed as our High Priest. His priesthood is described as being superior to the Old Testament Levitical priests. They had to offer sacrifices continually for the people. Jesus offered Himself as a once-and-for-all sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.
Listen to what the author of Hebrews wrote in 9:11-12 (NLT). “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With His own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” Please read these two verses over several times. When Jesus returned to heaven as our High Priest, He took His own blood to make atonement for our sins. There has never been a need since, for another offering for sin. Jesus’ once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins, satisfied the Father and secured for all who will receive Him personally, our eternal salvation.
When Jesus the Son of God, came down from heaven, took on human flesh, and ultimately offered Himself at the cross of Calvary, He did it so that we might experience God’s love, grace, and mercy. Hebrews 2:17 (NLT) reads like this, “Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters so that He could be (become) our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.”
In John 10:18 (NLT) Jesus said, “No one can take My life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what My Father has commanded.” So, Jesus voluntarily offered His life for us when He died and He took it up again at His resurrection. Jesus is both God’s messenger to humanity and our High Priest, serving as our representative to God. In Hebrews 3:1 (NLT) we read, “And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest.”
When was the last time you pondered, dug deeply, and thought about the person and character of Jesus? We are usually so preoccupied with the ordinary, regular things of our lives that we do not really give Him the time, attention, and adoration He deserves and desires. We are exhorted to “think carefully about this Jesus.”
As I think about the role of Jesus as my High Priest, I am in awe of Him and humbled. In Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT) we read, “So then since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven (with His own blood), Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) says, “Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Jesus our High Priest intercedes for us at His Father’s throne. We are so blessed to have Him as our advocate, presenting our case to the Father. Because of His own battles, He understands us and ours.
In 1 John 2:1-2 we read, “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate (lawyer) who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” WOW! Again, I urge you to read what John wrote several times.
In closing, I ask, “What is to be our response to all of these incredible truths?” I think John had it right in 1 John 3:11 (NLT) when he wrote, “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” As He has loved us sacrificially and still does, we are to love others in the same way. We can do this because His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Praise the Lord,