The Privilege of Knowing the Perfect Priest

F. David Farnell | December 19, 2017

This Christmas season, let’s take the time to stop and reflect on the wondrous nature of our Savior, our Great High Priest, who understands our human condition. Jesus came to earth fully human so that everything that could be said about man can be said about him, apart from sin. Now, believers have the privilege of knowing the perfect priest.

The writer of Hebrews encourages us that Jesus not only understands the temptation, the testing, and the weakness of humanity, but he can help us in our times of need. The letter was written to teach the finality of the absolute revelation of Jesus the Messiah, as contrasted with the old temporary covenant of Moses. In other words, the preeminence of Jesus.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus is the Great High Priest
Under the Mosaic covenant, what did the high priests of old do? They went into the tabernacle and the holy of holies to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. Hebrews 8:2 tells us that there is a true tabernacle in heaven. When Jesus was crucified and the veil of the temple was ripped in two, it signaled that Jesus had gone into that true tabernacle and made atonement for his people. Jesus passed through the heavens, in the very presence of God, to offer his blood for the redemption of his people.

Jesus sympathizes with our weakness
He walked those years in the condition of humanity, apart from sin, so that you can come to Him and know that He has a wondrous understanding of everything you’re going through. Jesus shared in our flesh and blood. Instead of running away from Jesus, run toward Him. He can help. He knows the disparages of men, the weakness of testing and temptation.

Jesus can help us in times of need
Our Great High Priest can do more than just sympathize with us. Its one thing to tell your friend your troubles have them say, “Well, I wish I could help you.” We get that from men all the time. Not only does Jesus have a full understanding of our trouble because He walked in our shoes, but He’s the Son of God who has the power to help when we’re being tested. The writer of Hebrews is telling these precious Jewish believers, instead of running away from Jesus, run toward Him. He can help.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice to come to earth as a human, and die to pay for ours sins, we have a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6). We have the privilege to have a high priest who sympathizes with our weakness and actually has the ability to help us. This Christmas, let’s remember all that His birth represents.

Watch Dr. Farnell in TMS Distinctives: Jesus as High Priest

F. David Farnell avatar
F. David Farnell has served as the Professor of New Testament at TMS since 1997. He also pastors Grace Bible Church in Ventura County, CA.

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