Summary: Jesus is our High Priest

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Hebrews 4:12-16

October 7, 2012

Don’t be like the Israelites who came out of Egypt but in their hearts didn’t want to.

12For the word of God is quick,

Let’s keep this in context: the Israelites were in trouble for rejecting God’s command to enter into Canaan. The “word” of God in this case was the promise of rest, and they refused it. Look again at 4:2 and also this verse: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (I Thess. 2:13).

The word of God is more than the record of His words. We know this because it’s a “living” word.

and powerful,

It has energy; it is effective and active,

and sharper than any twoedged sword,

Now remember, we’re talking about disobedient Israelites. Don’t follow their example because the word of God (the command to enter into rest) is alive and full of energy and dangerously sharp:

piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

What kind of sword could divide a man’s soul from his spirit? The only swords we have can only divide his body, but God’s word is able to get down to the real core of a man,

13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

What a terrifying thought! They thought they were rejecting Moses, Joshua, and Caleb, but those men only spoke for God. The command to enter was a divine one, and to disobey it put them at odds with God who sees everything for what it really is. They had to settle accounts with Him!

Now, we see that and we fear—sinners will be laid bare before God to answer for their crimes in breaking the royal decrees.

14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Do you see this? He doesn’t tell us to try harder to believe—he points us to Christ. Fear to be like the Israelites, instead set your hopes and thoughts on our High Priest. There really can’t be any confidence if a man is your only hope. What if he fails? What if he doesn’t want to do it? But our Priest isn’t just some man. This Jesus is the Savior of the world and the Son of God. He was declared by God to be the Priest and He is and always has been perfect. He’s not just a priest; He’s the High Priest. He’s not just the high priest; He’s the Great High Priest!

Not only that but He’s already died once (He has passed into the heavens), so death no longer has any mastery over Him. He lives forever, and so His priesthood will never end. Not only that, but being in heaven He sees the face of God clearly. There’s no smoke of incense obstructing His view. He has full access to the Father without any of the restrictions of the earthly priests. This means that He’s our advocate before the Father, and He has direct access! He has washed us and made us new; He has dressed us in His righteousness so that His works become our works; He has given us direct access to the Father by His substitutionary atonement! What confidence we have in this Great High Priest who always speaks on our behalf. None of Satan’s accusations stand because we have one who ever intercedes and pleads our case.

15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Compare this to 5:1-2: “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” The human priests could identify with the people in their sin because they were guilty too. But Jesus is the priest who cannot identify with our sin, yet He knows the feeling of our infirmities.

This has already been mentioned in Hebrews once before: For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted (Heb. 2:18). This word for “tempted” has a couple different meanings. It could mean to have an urge from within to commit sin. If I walked by a table covered with money and no one was looking, I might be tempted to take a couple dollars for myself. It’s just a natural temptation because I have depraved flesh—what’s been called the Adamic nature. But Christ doesn’t come from Adam; He was conceived of the Spirit, and so He has no Adamic nature. He is the infinite and changeless God, and it’s not possible that He should sin.

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