In the ancient world, people sometimes offered their own sacrifices (gifts) to God. But the law changed when God appointed Israel’s first priests by means of Moses (Hebrews 7:12). Moses taught that people must not offer their own sacrifices. Instead, they must take them to the priests who would offer the sacrifices on their behalf (Leviticus chapters 1 to 7).
The purpose of that rule was to show that people cannot save themselves. They cannot please God by their own efforts. People do not even have the right to approach God. A priest must do it on their behalf.
Now, our priest is Jesus. And we must approach God by means of him. We cannot save ourselves. But Jesus is able to save us, and he does it completely. He is our perfect priest, who has offered the perfect sacrifice. That sacrifice was his own blood. And because of that, God can forgive even the worst people. He saves them from the evil powers that controlled their lives. He saves them from the devil and from death (Hebrews 2:14).
And Jesus is always living. He can never die again. So his work as priest on our behalf is permanent.
A priest must have a closer relationship with God. And nobody is closer to God the Father than Jesus is. In heaven, Jesus has the place of greatest honour, on the right side of God the Father (Hebrews 8:1). And there, he intercedes for us.
The word ‘intercedes’ means more than just ‘to pray’. It means that Christ meets with God the Father in order to speak on our behalf. Paul uses this word again to express the same idea in Romans 8:34. And Paul uses a similar word in Romans 8:26. Sometimes we are too weak even to know what we should pray. But then the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
It is wonderful to know that Jesus is our priest. He saves us completely. He intercedes for us continuously. And he speaks to his Father, God, on our behalf.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.