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.
Jesus is our great high priest. As such, he gives us so many gifts.
First, Jesus gives us access to the Father. Priests in the Old Testament used to offer sacrifices for themselves and for the people. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant. But then, everyone remained outside!
Jesus, the great high priest, brings us into God’s presence, into the Holy of Holies. We hear his voice. We can come before him in prayer. We have access to the Father. The Gospel of Mark illustrates this when Jesus dies on the cross. The moment of his death, the temple curtain tears from top to bottom, revealing the Holy of Holies to all.
Second, Jesus gives us confidence to speak our mind before God. So many of us approach God, if we go to him at all, hesitantly as if a wrong word would get us cast out. But that’s not true. Because of our great high priest, we can stand before God without fear of rejection. We can bare our souls before him.
Third, Jesus gives us the expectation of mercy. It’s easy to expect a perfect God to demand perfect obedience. And God does. But when he looks at us in judgment, Jesus holds up his hands to the Father, and he asks the Father to forgive us for his sake. Because Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice, we know that the Father will give us mercy when we call on him.