Reader: “Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.”
Response: “There we will receive his mercy.”
Scripture: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs.
And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him,
“You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.”
And in another passage God said to him,
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Reader: The word of the Lord
Response: Thanks be to God.
Yesterday we spent some time underscoring why Jesus had to take on human flesh in order to accomplish his ultimate purpose. Today we read further of his unique position as a human being to bridge sinful humans and a holy God. As you read this, Jesus is our flesh and blood in heaven right now. The perfect, sinless human Son of God is in heaven interceding on our behalf. What is more is that he is our High Priest. There are some things we need to be reminded of in regard to this position. The High Priest must be appointed by God. There was no election and no lobbying for the position. He had to be one of the people . . . another reason for the humanity of Jesus. It was for life. The high priest must be a Levite and from the family of Aaron. As you know, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies one day a year after having offered sacrifices for his own sin, the sins of his family and then for the sins of the people. On the Day of Atonement, only the high priest could offer sacrifices on behalf of the people. They could not make sacrifices on behalf of themselves. In Jesus we have a High Priest who was named to this position by God even though he was not of the lineage of Aaron, but in the order of Melchizedek. In Jesus’ case, the position is for all eternity. Because of his humanity, Jesus is the perfect High Priest because he understands the challenges we humans face regarding the temptation to sin since he himself faced everything we face. We are invited to come to him again and again with our struggles and intercessions knowing he understands perfectly. Have you noticed how Jesus never presumes anything in relation to his Father? Because he is the Son of God, he never says, “Because I’m who I AM, I get a pass on that. God’s rules don’t apply to me.” As the Son of God, he always submits to his Father. Our big brother doesn’t pull executive privilege. Ask the living Christ in you this day to shape your heart and mind even as he prays for you.
Music: “I Need Thee Every Hour” Sam Robson Beautiful and remarkable!
I know I’ve used this one in other years. Sam communicates our need for our High Priest interceding on our behalf beautifully.
O God of my delight, Thy throne of grace is the pleasure ground of my soul. Here I obtain mercy in time of need, here see the smile of thy reconciled face, here joy pleads the name of Jesus, here I sharpen the sword of the Spirit, anoint the shield of faith, put on the helmet of salvation, gather manna from thy Word, am strengthened for each conflict, nerved for the upward race, empowered to conquer every foe. Help me to come to Christ my High Priest, my Intercessor, as the fountain head of descending blessings, as a wide open flood-gate of mercy. I marvel at my insensate folly, that with such enriching favors within my reach I am so slow to extend the hand to take them. Have mercy upon my deadness for thy name’s sake. Quicken me, stir me, fill me with holy zeal. Strengthen me that I may cling to thee and not let thee go. May thy Spirit within me draw all blessings from thy hand. When I advance not, I backslide. Let me walk humbly because of good omitted and evil done. Impress on my mind the shortness of time, the work to be engaged in, the account to be rendered, the nearness of eternity, the fearful sin of despising thy Spirit. May I never forget that thy eye always sees, thy ear always hears, thy recording hand always writes. May I never give thee rest until Christ is the pulse of my heart; the spokesman of my lips, the lamp of my feet.
―The Valley of Vision, p.150, adapted Daniel Sharp