Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:16
Many years ago, a man named Joseph Scriven was born in Ireland. He discovered early in life how much he needed One who could give him help in the time of difficulty. When he graduated from college, he was a Christian, and was looking forward to marriage with the girl he loved. However, on the eve of his wedding, his fiancée accidentally drowned. He was devastated! Then, in addition to his sorrow, health problems made him unable to go on with his training in the military as he had planned.
He moved to Canada at the age of twenty-five, and there he became known in his community as a “Good Samaritan.” He cared about those around him, those who were in need, the down and out. He even gave the clothes off his back to the poor, and shared his own food with those who were without.
One day he got a letter that said his mother was very sick. It had been ten years since he had kissed her goodbye and gone to Canada, but he didn’t have enough money to go back to Ireland. He wanted to encourage her in some way, so he prayed and asked the Lord to help him pen the right words to her. God inspired him to write a beautiful poem. One day a neighbor happened to be in his room and saw this poem on the night stand. He read it, and asked Scriven who had written the beautiful words. Scriven replied, “The Lord and I did it between us.” Later, the words of that poem were put to music, and the song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” has brought comfort to untold millions since then.
When we approach God in prayer, we are encouraged to come boldly to the Throne of Grace. We can come with assurance because Jesus Christ, as our High Priest, is also our Friend. He is acquainted with human weakness and frailty, for He too was once a man. And now He stands by, willing to extend mercy and give us help in our time of need as no one else can.
What a Friend we have in Jesus!
Some of the Hebrew Christians who received this letter were sorely tempted to return to Judaism. The writer encouraged faithfulness on their part by reminding them that they had a great High Priest who had entered Heaven on their behalf. With that in view, the writer urged his readers to hold fast to their profession of faith.
The great High Priest was God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was not only great in His person, but also in His position. He would minister mercy and grace. Mercy means that God does not give what is deserved; grace means that He gives what is not deserved.
Aaron, like every high priest, was chosen by God and duly ordained and installed in office. He was chosen from among men to minister for men. His main task was at the altar: he offered the sacrifices God had appointed. Unless the sacrifices were offered in the right place by the right person, they were not accepted by God. Jesus fulfilled God’s plan by being both the Sacrifice and the High Priest.
When God appointed and ordained Jesus to be man’s High Priest, He did not destroy the old Law. Rather, Jesus fulfilled it. He removed what was no longer needful, such as the sacrifices, and established a better way for mankind to approach God.
Two factors make Christ’s priesthood unique. First, unlike the priests of the Law who eventually died, Jesus is a High Priest forever. Second, He belongs to a different order from the Old Testament priests, as He was not from the lineage of Levi. Christ belongs to the order of Melchizedek. (Melchizedek means “king of righteousness,” and he was also “king of Salem,” which means peace. He was both a priest and king).
During His time on earth, our Lord was prepared for His ministry as High Priest (Hebrews 5:7-8). The phrase, “In the days of his flesh,” means “In the days when He was on earth in a human body.” From birth to death, although sinless, Jesus experienced the infirmities of human nature. He experienced hunger and thirst, as well as weariness. He also faced temptations and persecution from the hands of sinful men. By means of His earthly sufferings, Jesus Christ was equipped for His Heavenly ministry as our High Priest in that He is able to relate to man’s infirmities. He is able to save, keep, and strengthen His people.
Jesus Christ did not need to offer any sacrifices for Himself. He was in perfect fellowship with the Father and needed no cleansing. His sacrifice was for fallen man, which was made once and for all. The Old Testament sacrifices had to be repeated. Furthermore, those sacrifices could only cover sins; they alone could not cleanse sins. (See Hebrews 10:4.) It required the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God for sin to be cleansed and removed. Jesus Christ is the “Author of eternal salvation.”
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The argument: the preeminence of Christ in His person and work
D. The superiority of Christ to Aaron
1. Superior because of a better position (4:14-16)
2. Superior because of better qualifications (5:1-10)
a. The prerequisites for a priest (5:1-4)
(1) Chosen from among men and offers sacrifices for sins (5:1)
(2) Identified with the people (5:2-3)
(3) Called by God (5:4)
b. The fulfillment by Christ (5:5-10)
(1) Called by God (5:5-6)
(2) Identified with the people (5:7-8)
(3) Offered Himself as sacrifice (5:9)
(4) Chosen by God (5:10)
Jesus Christ is the great High Priest, having made the ultimate sacrifice for our souls. Are you allowing Him to fulfil that role for you today?