How Does Jesus Help Us as Our Great High Priest?
Hebrews, Day 15
Since then 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 is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV
Have you ever seen an AED machine hanging on a wall? Have you ever wondered what it was for? You might know it is an Automatic External Defibrilator. I have been trained a couple of times in how to use one. Maybe you have, too, but how much do you think about them? I can guarantee you'd think of these machines at one particular time: As soon as you needed one!
You probably know the truth that Jesus is our Great High Priest. You may even know something about His priestly office and work. You may also know He is our Great Prophet and King. But when do those offices of Jesus really mean something to you? When you need Jesus to fulfill those roles in your life!
Hebrews tells us much about Jesus as our Great High Priest. In today's passage, we learn He has passed through the heavens, meaning He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty of God on high (see 1:3). We also learn He is not unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, which is kind of a funny way of saying He does sympathize with our weaknesses. He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because he has been tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet He has never sinned.
So, we have a transcendent, sympathetic and perfect Great High Priest. But what does that mean for us? It means He can and will help us. Because He is at the Father's right hand, He is in a position to send us help from the highest position of authority. Because He is sympathetic, He wants to send us help; He understands how hard it is to face temptation. Because He is perfect and has never sinned, He knows what we need in order to pass the test and resist the temptation.
But none of this does us any good until we see very clearly the depth of our need. It is all just information until we enter into a time of need. Then, we really need the confidence to "draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Mercy here means sympathy and compassion, while grace here means divine favor or help.
Too often, I don't draw near to the throne of grace because I don't feel the depth of my need. I am like a man having a heart attack within reach of an AED who insists, "It's nothing - just indigestion!" I think I can handle it. I think I have it under control. But the truth is I need help. When do I need the help of my Great High Priest? When is my time of need? All day, every day.
Let's stop being so foolishly proud and self-reliant. Let's be willing to humble ourselves, recognize our need, and draw near to the throne of grace all the time. This is what it means to "pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5;17) And this is what it means to fully and effectively rely on our Great High Priest.