GOD – Part 6
GOD as Pure Priest
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Hebrews 4:14-16, 9:1-28
Finally, let’s draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help.
Priest is not a term we consider very often unless we worship in a more Catholic or Orthodox tradition. For protestants, this title has been all but banned from our language. We see ourselves as people with a direct line to God. The Holy Spirit not only gave us God’s e-mail address, but also inside access to God’s cell number, Facebook account, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever other social medium God might use to keep up with his beloved children.
Yet the writers of Scripture are clear that we are still in desperate need of a priest. That is why Paul writes to Timothy,
There is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the human Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a payment to set all people free.
1 Timothy 2:5-6a
Notice, Paul does not say that the new covenant eliminates our need for a priest. Rather he tells us that in Christ, God has become the perfect, pure and holy priest we have needed all along.
In the Old Testament, we find three significant offices which maintain order in the people’s relationship with God:
Prophet - One who speaks God’s Word to the people.
Priest - One who speaks on behalf of the people to God.
King - One who orders and governs the life of the people under the direction of God through the prophet.
What we find in the New Testament is not that these offices become obsolete, but rather that in Christ, God assumes all three offices himself. Jesus serves as prophet, priest, and king.
That is why the writer of Hebrews says that we can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, because we don’t have an imperfect priest who has failed as surely as we have, but because we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weakness, who has been tempted in every way as we have, and yet who remains without sin and made himself the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins (Hebrews 4:14-16).
If we’re honest, there are times when God seems very far away, perhaps too distant to hear us. Sometimes our problems seem so insignificant that we’re not even sure God has time to listen. We know in our minds that God cares for us, but deep down we wonder how God can care for us in times when we don’t even care for ourselves.
This is why Jesus, the God-man, has reconciled us to God and why Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groans too deep for words (Romans 8:26).
Reflect on a time when you felt the need for a priest, someone to go to God on your behalf, or at least to go with you as you approach God’s throne?
How have you experienced Jesus as a priest or mediator in your life with God?
Take time now to confess your sin to your High Priest. Don’t rush. Sit in silence for awhile. Be still and watch as the Spirit lays your burdens on the fiery altar to be consumed. What do you hear God saying in response to your cry?
“When I kept quiet, my bones wore out;
I was groaning all day long—
every day, every night!—
because your hand was heavy upon me.
My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought.
So I admitted my sin to you;
I didn’t conceal my guilt.
“I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said.
Then you removed the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:3-5)