JESUS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST
I consider it a most incredible truth that Christ not only came to the world and did all that He, sent the Promise of the Father the Holy Spirit, but is still active on behalf of the believer as our Great High Priest. His sheer commitment to His purpose and promise, His word and will, His plans and pleasures. It is amazing indeed. Herein lies our guarantee both in this age and the age to come, that we cannot fail in God’s plan and purpose for our lives. God is absolutely committed! Hallelujah! Somehow, our being able to hold fast our confession is tied to having Christ as our great High Priest. Hebrews 4:14.
In order to have a good understanding of Jesus as our Great High Priest, it is important to have some background knowledge of who a high priest is and what they did in the old testament. This is the pattern that the writer of Hebrews uses in his writing to describe what Jesus both did and does today as our Great High Priest. Hebrews 8:4-6.
According to Hebrews 5:1, high priests were men who were selected from among men to act on behalf of men in things relating to God. So they were middle men of some sort. They offered gifts and sacrifices to God on behalf of men. Hebrews 8:3. Whatever gifts and offerings or sacrifice that men had to give to God had to be given through the high priest.
One of the major role of the high priest was carried out on the day of atonement (Yom Kippur). On this day, the High Priest alone would come into the holy of holies with the blood of bulls and goats to make atonement to God for the sins of the people and himself. Hebrews 9:7. This the High Priest did once every year.
Another role of the High Priest was to oversee all other Priests under him. He had a leadership role over all other Priests in the temple. 2 Chronicles 19:11.
In Christ as our Great High Priest, all of these roles are truly perfected and fulfilled.
Firstly, Christ was a man who was selected from among men to be man’s go-between with God. Our gifts, offerings and sacrifices, are only received by God because Christ is our Great High Priest. By ourselves, we simply stand no chance. In Christ, we are able to offer our gifts and offerings to God. Without Christ as our Great High Priest, we could not offer anything acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5). Unlike the priests in the old testament however, we are not limited to the outer court with our offerings and gifts because we are in Christ and are therefore holy. We have direct access to God by faith in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!
Secondly, Christ fulfils the duty of the High Priest in the old testament by offering Himself unto God for our sins alone, not his, for He was without sin (Hebrews 2:14). His offering was for our sins alone. And while the offering of the old testament High Priest covered sin and needed to be done yearly, the offering of Jesus as our Great High Priest was made once and for all and didn’t merely cover sin but remitted sin. His offering or sacrifice offers remission of sin rather than a covering of sin. Jesus’ offering takes away sin and makes us perfect. Hebrews 10:1-4.
Furthermore, Christ as our Great High Priest has a leadership role over us as believers who have been made Priests in Him (Rev. 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9). He is our Shepherd today (1 Peter 2:25), leading and guiding us by His Spirit and inspiring our gifts, offerings and sacrifices to God by the work that He did on the cross for us. (Romans 12:1).