“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” (Hebrews 4:14, KJV 1900)
Here we come to a very deep and assuring Christology. The author of Hebrews has already presented Jesus as greater than the prophets, the angels, and Moses. While he has alluded to Jesus as the high priest, now he shows in greater detail how He is greater than the high priests that came before.
While in college, I worked at the United States Steel Corporation, in Fairless Hills, PA. My position was a Management Trainee, which was a job for engineering students while they pursued their bachelor’s degree. Early one morning, as I was walking through one of the office buildings on the way to my workplace, I thought I recognized someone. He had a white hardhat, safety glasses and a black trench-coat. Yet, I only saw his back as he looked at one of the bulletin boards. He was sort of wise guy, always cracking jokes. So, I thought I would throw a little fun at him. I walked up behind him and stated, “I wouldn’t read that kind of stuff if I were you.” However, when he turned around, I discovered he wasn’t my friend at all. He was the president of the entire Fairless Hills Steel complex. I just about melted in my safety shoes.
He had greater authority than all the employees at the mill. I was on the way to my desk made of plywood placed on top of two small file cabinets. Every day he passed through the door of the main building into the president’s large office. It was the place from which he ran the affairs of the mill. In essence, he was greater than all the other managers in the complex because of his position.
The author of Hebrews explains that Jesus is the great high priest, greater than all the high priests that came before. It will take several devotions to cover all of this. But, for now, we will look at this one verse. The author indicates that Jesus is greater than the high priests because He passed through the heavens.
In the Mosaic Law, God ordained priests to be mediators between man and Himself. There was one priest ordained as the high priest. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Most Holy Place, to present the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of the people. (We’ll cover more about this later.) To get there, he would pass through the Temple’s outer court, the Holy Place and then past the veil into the Most Holy Place where the ark with its mercy seat was located. This place was where God manifested His presence gloriously. As soon as the high priest offered the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat, he would immediately leave that place and not return until the next year.
The author shows that Jesus is greater than any high priest, because He entered the Holiest Place through the heavens to sit at the right hand of God (Heb 1:3). He entered the Holiest Place, not made with human hands on earth, but the one established in Heaven. Moreover, since Jesus’ sacrifice was the perfect sacrifice once for all, He did not need to leave the Holiest Place in Heaven and return the next year making another sacrifice for sin. Jesus is permanently seated at the right hand of God, and there He provides continuous mediation for every true believer.
Because Jesus is our great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, we have great assurance. He constantly intercedes for us as believers. He is our advocate. Because he is permanently in the Holiest Place, interceding and advocating for us, we are secure in our access to the throne of grace and have eternal security in our profession of faith in Him.