The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Hebrews 8:1-2 (NIV)
Have you ever been able to understand a problem your child, or someone else, was facing because you had been there yourself? While we as Christians may know the correct doctrine when counseling someone, there is something about having walked that road before that gives our advice a greater ring of truth.
One of the points of this passage is that because Christ was human and tempted in every way, He can understand what we are going through and pleads our case before God. Earlier, in Hebrews 4:15, it says, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
To understand the uniqueness of Christ as our high priest, we need a little history. When Moses met God on Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments, God also gave him a vision of the tabernacle where the priests would present sacrifices as atonement for the people’s sins. The laws and the tabernacle on earth were designed to replicate in an imperfect way what exists in heaven. The tabernacle consisted of an outer part where priests offered sacrifices on the altar and an interior part within the veil, the Holy of Holies, where the high priest, once a year, stood before the symbol of God’s throne.
Under Jewish law, priests were required to continually bring offerings before the Lord to atone for the sins of the people. When a person committed a specific sin, he or she had to bring a specific offering to the Lord to cover that sin.
When Jesus came to earth, He became our sin offering. He offered Himself on the cross as the sacrifice for our sin, instead of the blood of a bull or a ram offered in the tabernacle. He was a perfect sacrifice for our sin, one that only had to be offered once, to forgive us of all sins past, present, and future. He came to replace the imperfect system of sacrifices in the tabernacle.
He also became our high priest. On earth, the high priest would go once a year into the Holy of Holies to stand before a symbol of God’s throne. But Jesus stands at the throne of God constantly, representing us before God. If Jesus did not intercede for us, we could never approach God because of our sin. But because Jesus’ sacrifice cleansed us from sin, we can freely have a relationship with God. The shedding of Jesus’ blood has created this new covena
Have you accepted the sacrifice for your sins that Christ made on your behalf? Have you finally given up trying to earn your way into God’s good graces? Many of us accept Christ’s forgiveness of our sin but still feel unworthy to approach God as our Heavenly Father. Embrace what Christ has done for you, that His blood has covered your sin, that God has made a new covenant with you. He’s signed the adoption papers, with Jesus’ blood, that brings you into the family. Spend some time today considering how your life might be different if you truly believed you were God’s beloved child.