Come Boldly to the Greater High Priest

The passages for our continuing study are from Hebrews 4:12-5:11. The author urges believers to understand how the word of God helps cut through many of our defenses to introspectively look at ourselves in full honesty. This type of brutal honesty comes not to cause fear and despair but comes to us with God’s assuring welcome to the “boldly come to the throne of grace and “receive grace and find mercy in our time of need.” The author continues the idea of Christ as the High Priest, subjected to weakness and able to help us.

A Privacy Concern

In our age of extreme concern for privacy, as social media, hackers and thieves and finally even government tries to pry into our lives to either sell goods or steal things or suppress our freedom, there is another all-seeing system that is after our benefit and preserves our privacy. The author introduces the “word of God” as living and active- even before it is fully put together as the Bible. The author urges us to allow it to inspect our lives and find all the nook and cranny of our lives. This inspection is for our benefit and is very personal as we prepare our lives to the final day when “we have to give an account”

The account we have to give can sometimes be overwhelming or threatening. However for a believer the account involves both Jesus’ work and our work together as we accept God’s grace and place our work in his hands. Can our good works be any good at all? Can it ever provide something that is even worth giving an account for ? This idea of our works refined by God’s mercy is illustrated in at least one parable “The sheep and the goats” in Matthew 25:31-46 as Jesus explains the work done by dependence on providential grace is work done to God’s glory. Mathew 25:14-29, “The parable of Talents” uses a similar idea – “like a master who wanted to settle accounts” – wants to see faithfulness in our service not deception of trickery such as one from the slave who received one talent. Finally a life of forgiveness that is passed on as seen in the “Parable of the unforgiving servant” Matthew 18:21-35.

Come Boldly

The author urges believers to come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace. Who needs mercy but those who fail? Who needs grace except the ones that are not able to hold/rescue themselves? As Jesus walked among the people in this world he said once “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Matthew 9:12. This illustrates a boldness that is combined with weakness and with faith. Weakness is what drives us to look for “mercy” and for “grace.” We find what we need in our great High Priest who himself was subjected to weakness to the point of death and who also was “perfected” through suffering to fully understand our plight.

Jesus – the Chosen Servant

The prophet Isaiah many times identifies the Messiah as the “Servant of the Lord.” The four poetic passages found in Isaiah 42:1–9, Isaiah 49:1–13(v6), Isaiah 50:4–11 and Isaiah 52:13– 53:12 – all portray Jesus as a humble servant, a chosen servant, a suffering servant and a light to the Gentiles. The author of Hebrews wants readers to understand that Jesus was the chosen one. The author uses specific passages in the Psalms (2:7 and 110:4) to illustrate this choice for both the inheritance (sonship) and the ministry (priesthood) of Jesus. This shows Jesus as an all compassing “servant of the Lord” as once “made perfect” has became the “source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” The author figuratively is talking about Jesus reaching “perfection” not a perfection from bad to good, but good to suitable – meaning he has been made the perfect sacrifice able to atone for the sinful nature of mankind through his suffering and sacrifice at the cross.

Unlike the priest who has to offer sacrifice for his own sins and then for others, Jesus became perfect sacrifice not with the blood of lambs and goats but with his own blood. Jesus also demonstrated great humanness during his life on earth as “he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” Jesus therefore represents the ideal model for our prayer, petitions and fervent cries as he said in Gethsemane “Not my will but yours be done” Matthew 25:42