Written Word

What Does Jesus Do As Our High Priest?

“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. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 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.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

The Hebrew epistle was written to encourage persecuted Christians. Some had grown discouraged, others were returning to former religious beliefs and practices. The magnificence of Jesus as our high priest is presented to encourage them to remain faithful to their calling.

A Sympathetic High Priest

One of the attractions of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is that everyone present at the meeting, irrespective of social, political, or religious background, is a fellow alcoholic. The rich alcoholic and the poor alcoholic stand on common ground. They share the same story. When one speaks, the other knows what he is talking about. They identify with each other.

Jesus can identify with us. He knows what we experience for he encountered the same trials we face. He was “tempted in every way, as we are – yet without sin.” It is truly astonishing to think that Jesus, the Son of God, was tempted in the same way we are tempted. He was tempted to hate, to be disobedient to the Father, to be angry, to be impatient, yet he resisted every temptation. As a result, “he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) So when we bring our struggles before the Lord we won’t hear him say, “I don’t know what you are talking about; I don’t understand your problem; I can’t identify with you.” Because he became man and lived among us he was subject to everything we experience in life, even the temptation to sin.

Let Us Approach God

We are invited to come before God’s throne to receive mercy and grace. Who needs grace and who needs mercy? Weak, struggling, doubting, sinful Christians do. Furthermore, permission to enter God’s presence is not determined by how well we are doing in our spiritual life; this privilege is based upon a gracious invitation from God to those in need. It is because we are doing poorly that we need to come to God for divine help. And when we do, we have our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ who is able “to sympathise with our weaknesses.” Furthermore, “he is able to help those who are being tempted.” And if that isn’t enough, we are told that “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

So when we pray to God and place before him all our needs, our fears, our sins, Jesus our High Priest intercedes with the Father on our behalf. He is supremely qualified to represent us before the Father.