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Jesus, Our Great High Priest Jesus, Our Great High Priest

Jesus, Our Great High Priest

For ancient Greeks, the divine was detached from human suffering. Aristotle believed that God was the Unmoved Mover who started the world but then remained uninvolved. Stoics taught that God was beyond all feeling or emotions. And Epicureans believed that the gods lived in blissful ignorance of human affairs.

How radically different is the Christian conception of Christ, who is more than a detached, impersonal force—He is the divine Son who enters into our very world! Even more, He is our “great high priest” (4:14) who fully identifies with us in our humanity. Today’s reading highlights several important aspects of Christ’s priesthood.

First, because of Christ’s humanity, our high priest “has been tempted in every way, just as we are” (4:15). His full humanity means that Christ stands in solidarity with us, including being subject to temptation, and can “empathize with our weaknesses” (4:15).

Second, Christ understands human suffering because He has experienced it Himself: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (5:8). Through that suffering, Christ was “made perfect” (5:9); His obedience became the complete expression of His love for the Father.

Third, Christ remained perfectly obedient in suffering, faced temptation, and did not sin (4:15). His priesthood is far superior to that of an earthly priest who “offers sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people” (5:3). He “has ascended into heaven” (4:14) on our behalf, and “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (5:9). He represents us before the Father and we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (4:16).

Pray with Us

Please pray for Moody students on our campus in Chicago. Pray that God will use their classes, field education, chapels, and friendships to grow the students in faith and maturity so that their lives and ministries will point to His glory.

BY Bryan Stewart

Bryan A. Stewart is associate professor of religion at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. His particular interests are the history of Christian thought and the way that early Christians interpreted the biblical canon. He is the editor of a volume on the Gospel of John in The Church’s Bible series (Eerdmans), and he has done extensive research on the ways that the early Church preached on this Gospel. He is an ordained minister.