By Chuck Williams
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Covington
Focal Passage: Hebrews 4:14-5:6
This passage is one of the great monuments in this letter. In chapters 1 and 2 the writer discusses the superiority of Christ as King of the angels. In chapter 3 He is shown to be superior to Moses. In this the last part of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5, the writer goes to great length to show that Jesus is superior as a Priest to Aaron.
In verses 14-16 we see doctrine and duty. The doctrine part is that sinful man has always looked for someone to be a priest for him before God. Years ago as a college student, I was preaching a weekend revival at a small church. On my way back to the dorm I was caught speeding and a ticket was written. The next night at the service a man who had found out about my fine gave me an envelope to pay this cost. The feeling of relief and joy was one I still remember today. Christ has gone through the heavenlies and in celestial majesty paid the fine for our sins. Aaron went once a year through the blue veil into the tabernacle; but our High Priest has passed through the first heaven into the heaven of heavens and is seated at the right hand of the Father in glory.
In His seated glory He is sympathetic with our weaknesses. Although His life was without sin, He is completely aware of all the temptations and suffering we face. He knows and has experienced the precise force of every evil suggestion.
In today’s society there are so many support groups to help deal with grief, temptation, loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, etc. The people who can bring the greatest help are those who have dealt with the same issue as others in the group. Jesus is the greatest of all support in our time of need. We can therefore go into the throne room with complete confidence.
The story is told of the little boy flying by himself on a passenger airplane. The flight became very rough and some became rather fearful. Noticing the calmness of the little boy someone said, “You seem so quiet and calm. Why aren’t you afraid?” The little fella quickly replied, “I know we are going to be okay; my dad is the pilot.”
Chapter 5 shows that Christ’s divine appointment to the high priesthood is one of the essential qualifications for His position. It shows both the duty and humanity of the Lord Jesus. The Jews had one high priest who was from the line of Aaron. He was to offer the same atonement for himself as he did for all the people on a yearly basis.
Christ made His sacrifice once for all and did not intrude into the office of priesthood; rather He submitted to the will of the Father. In today’s world we have elections, selections, appointments, and even coups. Christ was not a part of any of that. He was divinely placed as our eternal High Priest.
Knowing that He is “our” High Priest who has the full backing of heaven’s glory in place, we can be secure with confidence about our salvation. A friend of mine was asked to come on staff at a large church. He told the pastor that he had felt unqualified for the position. The pastor seeing my friend’s heart for Jesus simply said, “Don’t worry. We won’t let you fail.”
When it comes to our eternal souls we are all unqualified; but Jesus our Great High Priest says, “Don’t worry. You will stumble, but I won’t let you fail.”