The Gift of Frankincense: Jesus Our High Priest

Tony Schachle
The Three Gifts of Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  48:57
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Today we focus on the gift of frankincense and the role of Jesus as our High Priest. Jesus ministers to us from Heaven as our Mediator and Intercessor before God. Jesus knows what we go through because He faced His own struggles and He can sympathize with our weaknesses. Have you been struggling? Has the devil got you down? This message is designed to encourage you to look to Jesus Our High Priest. He knows what you're going through because He's been there too. And He will help you today if you will give it to Him.

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We are in the middle of our series on “The Three Gifts of Christmas.” When the wise men visited Jesus to honor and worship Him as King, they offered Him three gifts.
Matthew 2:11 NKJV
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Last week we talked about the gift of gold and how it symbolizes Jesus Our King. This week we are going to take a look at the gift of frankincense and how it symbolizes Jesus Our High Priest.
What is It?
Frankincense is a white resin or gum.
It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark and allowing the gum to flow out.
It is highly fragrant when it is burned and has a pleasant, sweet smell.
It also believed to have certain medicinal properties.
How Was It Used in the Old Testament?
It was used by the priests in the Old Testament in the sacrifices and as incense.
Frankincense was required by God in some of the OT sacrifices and offerings.
Like for the grain offerings and on the bread on the Table of Shewbread.
Frankincense was never used on the sin or trespass offerings. Sin stinks in the nostrils of God. So sin offerings could not be covered by incense. Sin can only be covered by the blood of a sacrifice.
Frankincense was also used in the incense on the Altar of Incense in front of the veil. As the incense was burned, the smoke would rise up representing the prayers of the people ascending up to God.
So frankincense is connected to the ministry of the OT priesthood.
How Does it Relate to the Work of Jesus Our High Priest?
The primary responsibility of the priests in the Old Testament was to be the representative of the people to God.
They accomplished this by performing two primary functions:
Offering sacrifices to God on behalf of the people, and
Offering up prayers to God on behalf of the people.
These sacrifices were:
Temporary, because they had to be offered up over and over again, and
Imperfect, because they only covered sin. The blood of bulls and goats could not remove the power of sin.
But as the writer of Hebrews tells us, Jesus came to do away with the OT system of sacrifices and worship and replace it with a new and living way, under the New Covenant of His Blood.
And under this New Covenant, Jesus now serves as our High Priest.
The writer of the book of Hebrews spends a lot of time developing the theme that Jesus is our High Priest.
And having Jesus as our High Priest brings with it some exceeding great and precious promises.
And we’re going to take at look at some of those promises today.
Let’s take a look together at Hebrews 4:14-15.


Hebrews 4:14–15 NKJV
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.


Seeing then that we have a great High Priest [14]
Jesus is better.
We don’t need a Pope to be our mediator between us and God.
Why does the Pope refer to himself as the Pontifex Maximus (Great High Priest)?
Jesus is our Mediator of a better covenant that is based on better promises.
Not only is Jesus our High Priest, but He is also the Ultimate Sacrifice for Sin.
Who has passed through the heavens [14]
Jesus passed through the heavens when He left His place in Heaven and was born of a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem.
Jesus passed through the heavens when He completed His mission at the Cross, rose from the dead, and ascended back to His place in Heaven.
Jesus passed through the veil and is seated in the Holy of Holies at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
Jesus has entered into His rest (It is finished!).
Praise God for what He’s done for Ana-Lois!
Jesus offers us His rest.
Jesus the Son of God [14]
Jesus is more than just a man.
Jesus is more than just the Son of David.
Jesus is the Eternal Son of God.
Let us hold fast our confession [14]
Hold fast means to keep a firm grip.
Romans 10:9-10 tells us that confession is how we are saved:
Romans 10:9–10 NKJV
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Hebrews 10:23 also gives us some further insight into this word “confession.”
Hebrews 10:23 NKJV
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
In other words, if you’ve made the confession of faith, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, if you have been born again, hold fast to, keep a firm grip on, don’t let go of what you have believed and confessed.
Keep a firm grip on who He is, on what He has done, on the truths of His Word, on hope, on faith, on truth.
When the devil attacks, hold fast!
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses [15]
The word “sympathize” comes from the Greek word “sumpatheo” (soom-path-eh’-o), which means, “to suffer along with.”
When you are going through something, the last thing you probably want is for somebody who has never gone through what you’re going through to try to tell you how you should feel and what you should do.
But it makes a difference when someone can come along beside you and help you because they themselves have also suffered through what you’re going through. They know what your feeling. They understand the struggle.
Jesus our High Priest can “suffer along with us” because He has walked in our shoes.
He was persecuted.
He was ridiculed.
He was rejected.
He was abandoned by His friends.
He was let down by His family.
He came to His own, and His own recieved Him not.
He suffered heartache.
He hurt.
He wept.
He endured unimaginable pain and suffering.
He knows and He cares!
But was in all points temped as we are [15]
Jesus was tempted by the devil just like we are.
You might say, “the temptation is just too strong, I can’t overcome it.” That’s a lie straight from the pits of hell.
The Bible tells us that God will make a way for us to overcome temptation:
1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Jesus overcame His temptation and He has given us the ability to overcome our as well.
Yet without sin [15]
Jesus never sinned.
That’s important for you to know.
Not only is Jesus someone who has faced your same struggles, but He has overcome them.
Thank God we don’t have to rely on weak, imperfect, sinful human beings to represent us to God.
He became sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


Jesus is Our High Priest
He is the Son of God.
He has passed through the heavens.
He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
His work is finished!
His role is now to be our Mediator and Intercessor.
Jesus can Sympathize with Our Weaknesses
He can “suffer along with us.”
He has walked in our shoes.
He won the victory over temptation, over sin, and over death.
And His victory is now our victory!
So let us hold fast our confession
Let us hold fast our confession of hope without wavering.
Don’t let the devil get you defeated.
Take a firm grip on His Word, His promises, His love, His grace, His forgiveness, and His strength.
If you hold on to the Great High Priest, you will make it, you will overcome it, you will win the victory over it, you will come out better because of it.


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