Page separation

Our Great High Priest
Hebrews 4:14-16

The book of Hebrews is the only book in the New Testament that calls Jesus the “high priest.” In the Old Testament there was no greater or more exalted position that could be held among men than that of the high priest. The most important job of the high priest is during on the Day of Atonement. It was on this day that he would enter into the most holy place of the temple and offer the blood sacrifice for the sins of the nation. Jesus was not of the priestly tribe of Levi. However, Jesus is called “High priest” in Heb. 2:17, 3:1, 4:14, 5:5, 6:20, 9:11.

I. Definition of terms:
A. Priest – One who mediates between God and man; one who serves and worships God. There are three priesthoods spoken of in the Bible. (1) Melchizedek (Gen. 14:10-18). (2) Aaron (Ex. 28-29). (3) Priesthood of the believers in the N.T. dispensation (1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:5-6). In the church there is to be no special group of priests. The O.T. priesthood was fulfilled in Christ. Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and every believer is a priest to offer the sacrifice of praise to God through Jesus Christ. (D. Cloud).
B. Jesus Christ is the High Priest between God and men (Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14). O.T. priests were symbolic of Christ (Heb. 5:1-10). The details of the clothing and consecration of the high priest and his sons in Ex. 28 and 29 are representative of Christ (D. Cloud)

II. The Superiority of Christ (Heb. 4:14 -15)
A. Jesus is called great high priest to show His superiority in every way to the High Priest in Judaism. This can be seen as follows:
1. He is the Son of God, King of Kings, Lord of lords, Heir of all things, He is the only one who can represent man into the throne of God.
2. In His Purity. He is without sin. The high priest under the Mosaic Law was a sinner and had to offer sacrifice for himself as well as for others, but Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest is sinless.
a. He did no sin (1 Pet. 2:22).
b. He knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
c. In him is no sin (1 Jn. 3:5).
d. He is undefiled, separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26).
3. In the value and efficacy of His sacrifice. Levitical High Priest must go once a year in the Holy of Holies to offer blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of the nation. Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and shedding of His precious blood is once and for all for the sins of the whole world and need not be repeated again.
4. In the unchangeable perpetuity of His office. “A priest for ever.” “An unchangeable priesthood” (Heb. 7:24). He had no direct predecessor, and He shall have no successor. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever.”
B. The Apostle Paul was just making it clear that the high priest of Judaism was just a type of the great High Priest of Christianity. A type is a divinely purposed illustration or picture prefiguring something future.
C. He is passed into the heavens (Heb. 4:14). The high priest in the Levitical dispensation ministered only on this earth, but our Great High Priest ministers in heaven itself. He now makes intercession for us (Heb. 7:25) in the true Holy of Holies in heaven. In other words, worship and intercession are now carried on in heaven, into to God’s presence (Heb. 10:19, Phil. 3:3).
D. Let us hold fast our profession. This profession is the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). Holding fast means let us remain steady and unswerving, never give up. We will be tempted, tried, persecuted, it may cost us our property, liberty, even our lives. However, we must persevere and maintain this profession.
E. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15). Jesus’ deity meets with His humanity because He is God -Man. He became a man Himself and can, therefore, sympathize with our weaknesses. He understands what we are struggling with as He makes intercession for us.
F. Because Christianity has such a Hight Priest, which is far greater and superior to the high priest of Judaism, Paul’s reason is to persuade Jewish Christians not to turn away from Christianity and go back to Judaism.

Illustration 1/Application: “Though They Be Red Like Crimson”
We usually refer to sin as being black, but in the Bible, sin is said to be crimson and scarlet.
The most difficult color to cover is red. Painters tell me that any other color, even black, can easily be covered with paint, but with red it is different, for it will “bleed through.” But God can change red to white by painting it with the red blood of Jesus.
There is a tradition by Jewish rabbis, that the High Priest bounded a scarlet fillet around the neck of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:7) as the sin bearer. When the priest confessed his own, and the people’s sins, upon the goat (Leviticus 16:21-22), then the cloth became white if the atonement was accepted. If it was not accepted, it remained scarlet.
The rabbis further say that the goat was led twelve furlongs out of Jerusalem where the fillet was hung at the door of the temple and it would turn from scarlet to white. The rabbis tell us that this changing of the ribbon from red to white was the thing which Isaiah refers to when he writes, “Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.

III. Boldness (Heb. 4:16)
A. The expression “let us come” is a priestly expression, used in the OT of priests in their approach to God. (Lev. 21:17-21). It denotes approaching God for worship and prayer. It’s use here suggests that the priestly privilege of access to God is now extended to all Christians! As we saw in Leviticus, only certain individuals had this
Privilege. But now, in Christ we can all come to God in worship and prayer!
B. The word boldly carries the idea of “confidence” and “assurance.” That is without hesitation or inhibition. This does not mean that we are to approach God’s throne arrogantly or without reverence, but we are to come with confidence and assurance that we have access and will be accepted. In the Old Testament it was impossible to
enter into the presence of God unless you were a priest. However, we can come
boldly and with confidence without the concern of being turned away. This has become possible by the blood of Jesus. (Heb. 10:19-22)
C. Through prayer, we can come to Him any time. We are not worthy to enter God’s presence, but we have been made worthy by Christ (Heb. 10:19).
D. We come boldly because we have a high priest who cares for us and is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15)

IV. Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16b)
A. The throne of Grace not a throne of justice
1. We are invited to come to a throne. A throne signifies kingly authority. We come before the King of kings and Lord of lords. This means that I am coming in prayer before One who can do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), who can do “great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3).
2. We come to the throne of grace of the one who can save us to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25)
3. It is the place where grace is dispensed to believers for all the issues of life. (2 Cor. 4:15, 9:8, 12:9, Eph. 1:7, 2:7). That all kinds of help, and spiritual assistance in every time of need, is found in the throne of God where Christ sits.
4. Since the Word of God says that He “always lives to make to make intercession for them”. Does this not encourage us to “come boldly to the throne of grace”?


Illustration 2/ Application: Legend of the Cross Maker
A touching legend tells us that when Jesus was a boy at Nazareth He met a Roman lad by the name of Fidus, who confided this desire: “I am looking for Joseph, the carpenter. From him I want to learn the arts of his craft.”
“I can lead you to him,” answered Jesus, “for I am called the Son of Joseph.”
As Fidus watched and learned from Joseph, Jesus told him of a great King who would one day be raised upon a throne so high that all the world would see.
Fidus exclaimed:
“Would that I might build the exalted throne of the great King!”
“Fidus,” said Jesus, “you will be the one to build the throne of the great King, the throne from which He shall rule the nations. I promise you.”
Years passed, Fidus went home to Jaffa and practiced his trade with honor. He happened to return to Jerusalem on a day when the Jewish capitol was in an uproar. He could hear cries of: “Crucify Him! He makes Himself a King.”
As he passed the gate of Pilate’s palace, a Roman soldier who knew the skill of Fidus greeted him: “You are especially welcome, Fidus. Three are to be crucified today, and only two crosses are prepared.”
Fidus was assigned the task. He put all his skill into its making, and viewed his finished product with pride. Later he followed the crowd outside the town and up a hill. He heard a voice, a voice he could never forget. Looking closely, he saw a figure, a figure he could never forget. Yes, it was the Boy of Nazareth, now a Man, but writhing in agony on the “throne” Fidus had made. His eyes were opened.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.

B. Mercy is what we need first. “We need mercy for the forgiveness of all our sins.
C. Grace is God’s enabling power in our daily lives. There are two kinds of grace in the Christian life: saving grace and serving grace. Saving grace is the free, unmerited favor of God and refers to salvation by faith without works (Eph. 2:8-9). Serving grace is the ability that God gives to the believer for Christian service. (Eph. 3:7-8 and Heb. 12:28). Serving grace is God giving the believer everything he needs for his earthly journey. It is strength, encouragement, help, provision, protection, counsel, direction. (D. Cloud).
D. In time of need, in every kind of distress is, whether from the persecutions of men, or the temptations of Satan, God is able to help. His timing is always perfect never early, never late. We are always assured of His providential protection (1 Cor. 10:13) and divine strength (Isa. 41:10, Rom. 8:13; Phil. 4:13)

Illustration 3/Application: Mercy
(FreshMinistry’s contributing Editor, Mark Tabb gives an example of an unusual way to illustrate mercy in this interactive illustration.)
In the first chapter of 1 Timothy Paul expresses his deep gratitude to God who showed him mercy even though he did not receive. “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”
Bring this passage to life by wearing the worst clothes you have in your closet on a Sunday morning. I chose jeans with the knees blown out, my lawn mowing shoes, the shirt I wear to change the oil in my car, and the worst tie in my collection. Wear this to all of the Sunday morning activities. By the time you stand up to preach you will have created quite a stir. People will wonder if you’ve lost your mind. Use your clothing to make the point that God chooses that which the rest of us reject to bring him glory and honor. Paul considered himself the worst, but God saved Paul and made him a choice servant. By His mercy. Fresh Illustrations.

V. Conclusion:
Christ is our Great High Priest. He is superior than the any of the Levitical Priest. He is the Son of God. The only one who is truly sinless, who doesn’t have to die again to atone our sins, and who is the same yesterday, today and for ever. Because of His shed blood on the cross, we can come into the throne of grace boldly to pray and worship Him. Will you come to Christ? You should while there is still time. The choice however will always be yours.

Page separation