December 9, 2023
Picture: The High Priest
Leviticus 16:29-34; Hebrews 4:14-16
Israel was commissioned as a Holy nation but Holiness would not be inherited, it would need to be worked out. Any violation of the law of God was an afront to His inherent perfection and a threat to His presence in their midst. God in His grace established a system of laws, sacrifices, and feasts, designed to keep them in union with Him. One day would be especially solemn and important it would come to be known as the day of atonement. On that day, the sins of the entire nation would need to be confessed and paid for. One person would mediate between the nation of Israel and the Creator of the universe; the High Priest.
“This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year.” And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.
Leviticus 16:29-34 (NKJV)
The High priest was the central figure between the people and God. They facilitated the entire religious life of the nation of Israel. But here once again the High priest is a sketch of a ministry that Jesus would perform to perfection.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
Jesus was the perfect High Priest. He mediated between God and mankind by offering himself as a sacrifice for sin. The result is unfettered access through the Holy Spirit to God Himself. What’s more, the Spirit of God himself lives in us making intersession on our behalf when we have no words to offer on our own (Romans 8:26). At Christmas, the baby in the manger becomes the Priest, who, after offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. This same Priest welcomes all who believe into the throne room of heaven.