Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I’ve just had a great evening with an excellent Christian apologist who I shall leave unnamed, but a lot of what he said really resonated with my soul. I appreciate all that he’s done for apologetics and for myself. I do still ask for your continued prayers. Moving on, we are going to skip to the fourth chapter of Hebrews tonight and discuss what it means for Jesus to be our great high priest. We’ll be looking at Hebrew 4:14-16.
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This is the first reference to the high priest, which happens to be the next mediator in the line of Alexandrian thought at the time. Jesus is said to be this high priest. The major functions of the priestly ministry of Jesus will be discussed as we go further through the epistle so we shall save them for when we get to them.
Jesus is the one who has gone through the Heavens. For those who are wondering if Jesus is still flying through the cosmos after his ascension, no. Yes, for any who are wondering, I have actually seen a number of skeptics use this line and ask if Jesus is traveling at supersonic speed or something. Jesus’s work is done.
This high priest is not just anyone. This high priest is the Son of God. He is also referred to by the name of Jesus, so that the writer wants us to be sure who we are talking about. As we will see later, he was not just chosen by random, but he was rather appointed by God. The new high priest that mediates for us before God is the very Son of God.
Interestingly, this high priest is not aloof from the people. He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. The writer tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way but was without sin. As we have said earlier, this does not mean that Jesus was tempted with every single sin known to man. It means Jesus was tempted in every kind of way one can be tempted to each kind of sin.
Yet Jesus was without sin. However, because he was tempted, he understands what it means to be tempted and he is able to give us grace. He knows what it means to resist temptation. If we fail, he knows what it means to forgive. If we are struggling, he is able to give us the grace we need so that we can go on and avoid the sin. He can do this because he is the perfect and righteous Son of God.
Or rather, he has the nature of God himself.