Readings: Exodus 29, Leviticus 16, Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 7:23-8:6
Jesus has come, died, risen, and ascended to heaven again, leaving His disciples with the hefty mission of bringing His Good News to the entire known world. They are to share with everyone—Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or free, none of it matters when the message is salvation. But though they bring the message to all people equally, they don’t always use the same words.
With a Jewish audience like the one that received the Letter to the Hebrews, references back to the Jewish Torah were especially effective. This is a major source of “High Priest” as a title of the Christ.
In Levitical law, the very first high priest was Aaron, brother of Moses, and all subsequent high priests came from the same family line. While there were multiple priests of the tribe of Levi who presided over the complex sacrificial system outlined in Leviticus, the son of Aaron who held the office of high priest had the special responsibility of mediating between a holy God and a sinful people in the holy place of the temple. He would be the one to offer the atonement sacrifices annually on behalf of all the citizens of Israel, and he would have the terrifying privilege of standing in the presence of God at the mercy seat in the holy of holies—a task which, if not done with great care, could easily end in the high priest’s death.
Jesus the High Priest is significant because He made the final atonement sacrifice on behalf of all the citizens of the earth—and that sacrifice was Himself, enough to wipe away completely the need for ongoing bloodshed. He entered into the holy of holies and stood before the mercy seat, worthy to plead for the forgiveness of the world—and worthy to be heard.
And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
1 John 2:1b-2