We now go on to Hebrews 4:14-16
v14: A Great High Priest: The work of Yeshua is greater than the high priests that we read about in the Torah. G-d gave us the Torah (laws) in order to show us what sin was, and our inadequacy or inability to deal with it. He never intended righteousness to be established by means of the law. The Torah shows us our need for a Saviour. It cannot bring about perfection. It shows us our lack and drives us back to the faith of Abraham (Gen 15:6)
The perspective of the rabbis, 2000 years ago, was that the Torah was an instrument of salvation – which it is not. When it said the law had to be changed (Heb 7:12) this is what it meant: based upon the false teaching of Judaism. The high priests in the Torah came from the tribe of Levi. Messiah is a great High Priest because He is not from the Levitical line, but He is from the line of Melchizedek. His priesthood is not based on Levitical law. This does not mean that the old law is irrelevant and has no more meaning. The change in the law is a change in perspective. This new perspective is possible because of this new priesthood. Even this is not really “new” because it predates the Aaronic priesthood.
One of the things that makes Melchizedek’s priesthood unique is that the Levitical priesthood took from man and offered to G-d. Melchizedek did not do that. He took from G-d and gave to man. He gave Abraham bread and wine – a hint to the body and blood of Messiah.
Messiah’s priesthood is sufficient because it provides salvation for us, through His body and blood. In the L-rd’s supper there are two elements. Yeshua took the bread (on the night that He was betrayed) He broke it and said: “This is my body broken for you”. This meant that He was going to die. The bread signifies the body/the death of Messiah. The blood redeems us and signifies His redemption. The blood of Messiah is extremely precious to G-d.
- Passed through the heavens: This is His origin as He is eternal. He could not ascend to the heavens unless He had descended first. The most important day for a high priest was the Day of Atonement. On this day, the high priest did all the work to serve the nation. The people also had a role to play. Their primary role was confession. We confess not just our sins but also our faith in the work of the High Priest as a means of our forgiveness. As New Covenant people, Our High Priest has not purchased for us atonement that only lasts from one year to the next, but He has purchased for us eternal redemption. This is why we can be eternally secure in our salvation. We were redeemed, not with the blood of sheep and goats, with the blood of the precious Son of G-d.
v15: We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses: Even though Yeshua was fully G-d, He emptied Himself and became a servant, obeying even to death on a cross (Phil 2:6-8).
- In all points tempted as we are, yet without sin: As fully man, Yeshua was tempted, just like we are, but there is one major difference – He never succumbed to temptation. He never sinned. A sacrifice had to be without spot or blemish. It had to be perfect. Therefore, because He was without sin, He could offer up Himself as the perfect, redeeming sacrifice for our sins.
v16: Let us therefore come boldly (with confidence) to the throne of grace: His sufficient work on the cross has made it possible for us to go boldly and confidently before Him to confess our sins. They have already been paid for, but confession releases us emotionally and spiritually. Confession gives us freedom, encouragement, and deliverance.
- Throne of grace: Grace is the lovingkindness of G-d. We are saved by grace (Eph 2:8). Another very important aspect of the grace of G-d is that it transforms us (Titus 2:11-14) The grace of G-d brings about the fulfilment of His covenant promises in our lives (the Kingdom).
- (Receive) mercy: As believers we still struggle with sin. Our High priest does not only cleanse us from our past sins but also from those we have not yet committed. Daily we need forgiveness and mercy. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our sin to us so that we are able to confess it and obtain mercy for it.
- In time: At the appropriate time. Good has to do with the will of G-d. We need to live in such a way as to fulfil the will of G-d – that season is right now! Our High Priest is at the right hand of G-d interceding on our behalf. He takes our sins and forgives them, but He also takes our petitions and requests before the Father. We should be asking G-d to show us His will, so that His purposes and plans, for our lives, might become a reality and that we move in such a way as to pursue the things of G-d.