Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 4

Jesus, our great chief priest

Hebrews 4:14

Christians have a good reason to declare the things that, together, they believe. They have a good reason to consider those beliefs precious. They have a good reason to stay loyal to those beliefs.

And this is the reason. Christians have a chief priest who really is great. He is Jesus, Godís Son.

We must not think that the word Ďpriestí merely means a church leader. The priests in the Bible had different duties from the ones that church leaders do today. In the Bible, a priestís main responsibility was to serve God on behalf of the people. God had separated the priestsí families from the rest of the nation so that they could do that.

One of the priests had special responsibilities. He was the chief priest. There was a special ceremony to appoint him. And after that, he continued to be chief priest for the rest of his life.

The chief priestís most important duty was to carry out the ceremony in Leviticus chapter 16. This ceremony happened only on one day each year. That day is called Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. Its purpose was to deal with the peopleís sin (wrong deeds). That annual ceremony made it possible for the nation to have a right relationship with God. (See Hebrews 9:7).

In order to do that, the chief priest passed through the temple (Godís house). And on that day only, God allowed him to enter its most holy place. On other days, nobody could enter that sacred room.

So we read in Hebrews 4:14 that Jesus passed through the heavens. He took his own blood into the most holy place in heaven. He did that so that God can forgive our sins. (See Hebrews 9:24-28).

And the good news is that God accepted Jesusí sacrifice. A sacrifice means a gift that God considers valuable. And there is nothing that God considers more valuable than the death of his Son. So when Jesus entered the most holy place in heaven, God accepted his gift. And then God the Father gave his Son the most important place in heaven. Jesus sat down at the Fatherís right side (Hebrews 1:3).

Next part: Jesusí sympathy (Hebrews 4:15)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.