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Jesus is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Hebrews: The Superiority of Christ, Pastor Heo, Sermons

Jesus is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16)

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Jesus is Our Great High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-16 (Pastor Heo)

14 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. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


There is a clear division between God and man. Only one person claims to be both: Jesus.

  • v. 14 – Focuses on Jesus’ Divinity (fully God)
  • v. 15 – Focuses on Jesus’ Humanity (fully Man)
  • v. 16 – Therefore, we can approach him with confidence – because he is fully Man, but also fully God.

He is our “best friend” – as a human being. But also all powerful as God.

v. 14-16

14 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. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

In this book, the word “priest” is found between 35-40 times (depending on the translation).

In history, the priesthood began with Aaron. Only the priests could enter the holy place in the temple.

Jesus is our Great High Priest. No other High Priest could assume this title: “Great.”

The Son of God (v. 14) affirms his diety and the fact that he is God. So, Jesus can bring ALL humans to God; and at the same time, he can bring what God has to ALL humans. In this point, he is “Great.”

This book Hebrews makes the clearest statement between a High Priest and the Great High Priest. High Priest is only a shadow that points to the Great High Priest who is Christ.

Differences:

  • Human High Priest = from earth, and changes (they all die)
    • Great High Priest is from heaven, and never changes
  • Human High Priests offered sacrifices for themselves first and then others (they also need forgiveness) – animals were the sacrifice.
    • Jesus offered sacrifice for others first (he is sinless) – he himself was the sacrifice.
  • Human High Priests enter the Most Holy Place only once per year (and continually)
    • Jesus entered heaven Once for All
  • High Priests showed the way to the presence of God with a curtain – to the presence of God – humans could not intercede for us in heaven, and no power to take away sins.
    • Jesus himself is The Way, The Gate – Jesus intercedes for us in heaven and has the power to forgive and remove sins – the sin of the world.

The entrance to the Most Holy Place was guarded by three gates. High Priests entered the first (main) place with the blood of an animal – then, they entered the Holy Place, and finally, they entered the MOST Holy Place – where they sprinkled the blood of the animal on the Mercy Seat – the cover of the Ark.

The High Priest had to sprinkle blood for their own sins first, and then stay in the Most Holy Place for only a short time.

1 John “Jesus is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”

v. 14 “… through the heavens…”

(This is not singular – but plural). Just as there were three stages to the temple, there were also 3 stages to heaven.

  1. Atmosphere
  2. Outer space
  3. God’s presence (the Most Holy Place)

“Therefore, …let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” (v. 14)

“Profess” = public confession

Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that he rose again from the dead, you will be saved.”

Matt 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him in heaven.”

This profession of faith = public confession of faith.
Can you open your beautiful mouth? Open it widely to profess this.

  • v. 14 = Focuses on Jesus’ Diety
  • v. 15 = Focuses on Jesus’ Humanity

This is amazing, a mystery, but true.

Jesus is fully God, but at the same time, fully Man (not almost man, not 99.99999%, but 100% God and 100% man).

v. 15

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.”

Can you imagine this?

Jesus has been tempted in EVERY WAY just as we are – he was born with a body, mind, soul, like we do. He had human weaknesses, emotions. He felt tired, hungry, thirsty, he crawled like a baby, talked like a baby, lived a complete human life like you and me. Why?

  1. To experience our weaknesses – to share our weaknesses – with a body, mind, and soul. He was misunderstood and persecuted – even to the point of death on the cross.
  • The fact that he was tempted = He’s man
  • The fact that he was sinless = He’s perfect (God)

Who can say, “I’m without sin”? No one. Only Jesus.

Temptation:

Jesus was TEMPTED, but did not sin. If we really understand the meaning of this sentence, it will be very helpful and encouraging to us.

Think of this:

Who knows better what the temptation is and how powerful it is? He who sins? Or he who does not sin?

We may think that he who sins knows it well, and he who does not sin doesn’t know it’s power.

No. The OPPOSITE is true.

Only those who RESIST temptation know the TRUE power of temptation.

  1. For example, we can know the power of Mike Tyson (boxer) only by fighting against him, not by surrendering to him.
  2. We understand the strength of the wind by running against it, not by lying down in the room.
  3. If we give in to temptation after only 5 minutes, we do not know what it would be like 1 hour later.

Example.

Tempter: Satan

The Tempter tempts you to sin. If he says, “Do this. If you do this, I’ll give you one candy.” If you do that with the offer of that one candy, it means you yielded to temptation with the prize of one candy. If you kneel down to this one candy, the Tempter does not need to offer you 2, 3, 5, 10 candies.

But, if you reject ONE candy, he will offer 10, 20, 50, 100 candies.

But we never experienced the temptation with 1,000,000,000 candies. Because we give in to temptation after only a few candies.

Please understand this very clearly.

The fact that Jesus never sinned means that he never gave into temptation. That he never gave into temptation means that he experienced the EXTREME FINAL POWER of temptation (1,000,000,000 candies…)

We’ve never experienced the most powerful temptation because we surrender to it much sooner than the last stage comes.

Jesus was tempted FAR BEYOND what we are.

Think of this in terms of pain.

There is a degree of pain which the human frame can stand. But when that degree is passed, a person loses consciousness so that there are agonies of pain that he cannot feel.

It is so with temptation.

We fall down and collapse in the face of temptation. But Jesus faced temptation and went to Humanity’s limit and FAR BEYOND it – but did not collapse.

He was tempted in ALL things we are tempted, and so he can say to us, “I was tempted as you are today.” But we cannot say to Jesus, “I’m being tempted as you were.”

Jesus experienced all temptations humanity has, but we have never experienced all the temptations he has.

This means, he can understand US completely, but we do not understand him completely.

v. 15 “… he is able to sympathize with our weaknesses…”

In Greek, to sympathize means “to share as mine through practical experience.”

If you have weaknesses, hardships, problems, I’m a pastor and I can pray for, encourage, help you. But, I’m NOT able to sympathize with your suffering unless I have the SAME suffering you’ve had. This is the literal meaning of sympathy.

Even your husband and wife cannot sympathize with you unless they have the SAME experience you have.

Only Jesus is able.

We need sympathy because we are imperfect. When you need sympathy, to whom do you go? Family? Husband, wife, close friend, coworkers? But remember, we must go to Jesus first, because Jesus is our BEST friend and BEST understander and BEST sympathizer.

When this life has drenched us with tears, we can go to Jesus because He. Has. Been. There.

Jesus can give us power, wisdom, knowledge, and love to help us overcome all temptations, weaknesses, and sufferings.

Hallelujah!

Hebrews 8:2 “Because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

  • 2 Cor “No sin…”
  • 1 Peter 2 “No sin is found in his mouth, he committed no sin.”
  • 1 John? “No sin…”

v. 16

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

If you receive God’s Word and apply it to your life, it will change your life.

Yes, we need mercy and grace. It is essential. We are needing the mercy and grace of God all the time. These two go together practically all the time. There is a logical difference, but practically, they are ONE.

  • Mercy = “God does not give us what we deserve”
  • Grace = “God gives us what we do not deserve”

We need mercy for our past failures, mistakes, errors, sins.
We need grace for our present and future needs, and victory.

No trial is too great – no temptation is too strong – because Jesus is Greater than them.

Even heaven cannot contain Christ – even heaven is too small a place for Christ.

“Approach” = with prayer – communication with God through Christ. This is our best privilege and right through Christ. Remember, if we do not pray, we rob ourselves of the great and timely resources God holds for us.

God bless us with more mercy and grace.

Read once more.

v. 16

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

God bless you.

Let’s pray.

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