Have you ever gone to an event and felt completely under-dressed for the occasion? Or have you been somewhere where you feel totally out of place? Maybe you have had the privilege of meeting a very important person face to face and felt utterly out of your depth. That is the picture the writer of the book of Hebrews has in mind when he explores the reality that Jesus is our Great High Priest.
In the back of the writer’s mind is the picture of the grandeur of the awesome creator God and we are being ushered into the throne room of this Supreme Being of the universe. How would we fare? My guess is we would feel completely under-dressed for the occasion, totally out of place, and utterly out of our depth. We wouldn’t know where to look or how to conduct ourselves! We would be totally at a loss.
This is the reason we still need a priest today. Although all our sins have been forgiven, each day we still need to live in relationship to the Almighty God. And if we have a small glimpse of the majesty of this God, we will understand that we would be somewhat uncomfortable in God’s presence. We still need a mediator or priest, one who bridges the gap between us and our Creator.
We wouldn’t know where to look or how to conduct ourselves!
As human beings living in a fallen world we have many needs. We face discouragement and doubt, temptation and guilt, opposition and persecution, suffering and trials. How can we know that God cares for us in any of these struggles? How can we find mercy and grace to meet us at the point of our need? As we come before God’s holiness in our brokenness, what right do we have to expect anything other than condemnation and judgment? We not only need to know that through the work of Jesus on the cross our sins are forgiven once and for all, but also that we are in constant need to be renewed in relationship every day.
The writer of Hebrews shows how a lack of appreciation of the ongoing priestly work of Jesus for us each day not only robs us of a great part of our Christian heritage, but means we will remain an immature baby Christian. Perhaps this is the reason why so many people live boring Christian lives or are dropping away.
Christ’s work as High Priest is relevant to our lives, not just in the abstract sense that we know his death has paid the price for our sins, but in the earthy reality of our daily lives. Here in the midst of our struggles and weakness we have the resources available to meet and deal with our stress, doubts, sin, guilt and depression. Jesus not only deals with our sins, but meets our need when we are tempted in our weakness (Heb 2:18; 4:15), are in need of mercy and grace (Heb 4:16) , are discouraged and doubting (Heb 6:17-20), are accused by Satan (Heb 2:14-15) and are wearied by opposition (Heb 12:3).
Knowing we have a Great High Priest who understands our journey in all its weaknesses gives us a basis to endure, without growing weary or losing hope.
I pray that you might hear the encouragement of the book of Hebrews and take advantage of all Jesus our Great High Priest has to offer.
Stephen L Baxter