THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess" (Hebrews 4:14, NIV).
This description of Christ as our great High Priest is more than a theological or doctrinal statement. It is an expression of encouragement and comfort to God's people. The whole system of salvation by grace through faith centers in the person of Christ our great High Priest. As such, He presents the merits of His perfect sacrifice on behalf of repentant sinners. "Our Great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that is of any value in our salvation. When He offered Himself on the cross, a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people."--Signs of the Times, June 28, 1899.
The adjective, great, accentuates the preeminence of Christ and the uniqueness of His high priestly ministry in heaven. Unlike the earthly high priest, Christ does not offer the blood of animals for the remission of sin, but His own precious blood (see Hebrews 9:28, Galatians 2:20, NIV). Our great High Priest, unlike the earthly high priest, is sinless and therefore needs no cleansing for Himself. He is the perfect, sinless priest who offers up the perfect, undefiled sacrifice. He is the great High Priest because, "he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26, NIV).
With such a great high priest, we know that we are loved unconditionally, forgiven unreservedly, and accepted fully into God's family (see John 4:16, 17). "Our great High Priest... [who] bears His people upon His heart... making a perfect atonement for sin, stands alone in divine majesty and glory."--That I May Know Him, p. 74.
My Prayer Today: Lord, I reaffirm my faith in my great High Priest. Help me to hold firmly to the faith I profess. Amen!