Our Great High Priest


Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, 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 empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


Our natural inclination is to assume that Jesus is close with us in the good times but standing far off in the bad times. We imagine him, perhaps, looking at us with a frown when we give in to that temptation for the hundredth time. Our fallen logic figures we are closest to our Lord when we are obeying the rules and fighting the good fight; that is when he is most pleased with us. All the other times he simply puts up with us. How could the perfect son of God possibly relate to us when we sin and doubt?

That is not, however, what the books of Hebrews reveals. Hebrews gives us an in depth, detailed description of the heart of Jesus and what that means to us. Far from being disappointed with us or judging our behavior, Jesus empathizes with our weakness. And this is not just the understanding empathy of a passive observer. He understands our weakness because he too has felt the exact same weakness. He suffers alongside us. He is a co-sufferer in every respect: that seductive sin, that tantalizing temptation, that boiling bitterness, that agonizing anxiety. He has experienced it. He has, in fact, experienced it far more deeply than any of us ever will because he never gave in, not one bit.
Dane Ortlund describes Hebrews 4:14-16 like this: “It is not only that Jesus can relieve us from our troubles, like a doctor prescribing medicine; it is also that, before any relief comes, he is with us in our troubles, like a doctor who has endured the same disease.”
Who could have imagined such a savior? My Lord and my God! May we truly understand the beauty of this verse. Our High Priest is like no other.

Take heart today. Whatever you are walking through -- habitual sin, suffering from health conditions, deep loneliness, disappointment with your station in life – do not compound your suffering by disassociating Jesus from it. Yes, you may be walking through the darkest of valleys, but Christ has already walked through it. You may be waging a tough fight but know that Christ is shoulder to shoulder with you. You may be carrying a heavy load, but Christ can exchange it for a burden that is light

Action Step

We encounter Jesus in three primary ways: through his word (scripture), through his felt presence, and through his body, the fellow believers whom we live with day in and day out. You, therefore, may be the closest somebody gets to Jesus today. You are part of his body, his beloved bride, his church.

How can you go out of your way today to serve someone in need? How can you embody the love and life of Jesus Christ? How can you co-suffer with another human being?


Meditate for a few minutes on the implications of Hebrews 4:14-16. Pray that the Holy Spirit would press the heart of Christ to your own stubborn heart.

Ask forgiveness for trying to bear your burden alone, and let Jesus come alongside you, shoulder to shoulder, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
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