Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10
The idea of having a High Priest is a bit foreign to most of us because of what Jesus did for us. But the Preacher’s audience of Jews would have encountered a high priest regularly at festivals and animal sacrifices. A high priest was needed to cleanse their sins, up until 70 AD when animal sacrifice stopped. This reading does a good job of explaining the importance of what a high priest does for the people.
To be a high priest was a great honor given only by God. Even Jesus didn’t assume that would be his role despite fitting the criteria perfectly. It seems having the awareness of human weakness was important for the high priest. Until Jesus, even the high priests fell prey to sin and would have to cleanse themselves.
It wasn’t until Jesus came and lived a sinless life that the role of high priest changed. Jesus was aware of human weakness, yet his godliness kept him from sinning. Jesus also made it possible for us to approach God ourselves. Jesus’ cleansing of our lives has given us direct access to God.
Reflect on this verse today. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” What does it look like for you to come boldly before God? How does it make you feel to have the freedom to come before God?
If we look at the example given of Jesus crying out to God for his life, we see passion. Do you think the Preacher is encouraging us to be daring and even audacious in our own prayer life?
How often do our prayers sound like a laundry list of things we’re asking God for? When is the last time you stormed heaven as if your life depended on it? The hymn, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus” has some great lyrics. Here is just a small snippet.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
You are covered by our high priest, Jesus. His sacrifice cleansed us once and for all. Pray with a sense of awe, and may you find grace today!
Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me for those times when I don’t feel worthy to pray directly to you. Thank you for establishing Jesus as my high priest allowing me the opportunity to be in your presence. I want to come boldly before you and share my heart. Breathe into me your peace to calm my heart so I am ready to serve you. Guide my steps and my words this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.