Jesus, Our Great High Priest

Following Jesus: The Letter to the Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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TEXT: Hebrews 4:14-16
Hebrews 4:14–16 (NLT)
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
16 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.
Jesus, our great High Priest, is ever in the business of hearing and answering prayer.
A very timid woman wanted to participate in the visitation program of her church, but was petrified by the thought of actually visiting somebody. The pastor, sensing her anxiety, recommended that she pray before each visit. He noted God's promise to give peace which surpasses all understanding. A week later the woman was walking on Cloud Nine. She jubilantly told her pastor, "You were right--prayer works! Before each one of my visits I prayed that the people wouldn't be home, and they weren't!"
Prayer is built upon a solid relationship with our Great High Priest. That relationship is summed up in three words.

I. ASSURANCE (Hebrews 4:14).

Hebrews 4:14 (NLT)
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.

A -The person of our High Priest gives us assurance.

1. He is the Savior. (Ἰησοῦν)
(Luke 2:11)
Luke 2:11 (NLT)
11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
(John 4:42)
John 4:42 (NLT)
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
2. He is the Son of God. (τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ)
(Matthew 8:29)
Matthew 8:29 (NLT)
29 They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”
(Matthew 27:54)
Matthew 27:54 (NLT)
54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

B -The place where our High Priest resides gives us assurance.

1. He was once on Earth and was where we are.
(John 1:14)
John 1:14 (NLT)
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
2. He has passed into the heavens, the dwelling place of the father.
a) He is at the right hand of the Father.
(Colossians 3:1)
Colossians 3:1 (NLT)
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
b) He is our heavenly advocate.
(1 John 2:1)
1 John 2:1 (NLT)
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
(Romans 8:34)

C- The plan of our High Priest gives us assurance.

1. We are not to hold onto the things of this world .
(1 John 2:15)
1 John 2:15 (NLT)
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
2. Illustration:
A very nervous airline passenger began pacing the terminal when the bad weather delayed his flight. During his walk, he ran across one of those life insurance machines. It offered $100,000 in the event of an untimely death aboard his flight. The policy was just three dollars. He looked out the window at the threatening clouds and thought of his family at home. For that price it was foolish not to buy, so he took out the coverage. He then looked for a place to eat. Airports now carry a good variety of eateries so he settled on his favorite, Chinese. It was a relaxing meal until he opened his fortune cookie. It read: "Your recent investment will pay big dividends."
3. The plan is for us to hold onto our profession of faith in Him.
a) In so doing we allow Him to do the keeping of our souls.
(1 Peter 1:3-5)
1 Peter 1:3–5 (NLT)
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,
4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

II. ACCEPTANCE (Hebrews 4:15).

Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

A- He is sympathetic with our feelings and weaknesses.

(Psalms 103:14)
Psalm 103:14 (NLT)
14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
1. He understands what we feel, for he experienced those feelings too. Note the following:
a) Jesus grew weary (John 4:6).
b) Jesus cried (John 11:35).
c) Jesus felt loneliness (Matthew 27:46).
d) Jesus felt discouragement with people (Matthew 17:17; John 14:9; Matthew 16:8)

B -He shared in our problem of temptation.

1. He was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).
Matthew 4:1–11 (NLT)
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
3 During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple,
6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”
8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
2. He was tempted in every way we are.
a) πεπειρασμένον δὲ κατὰ πάντα καθʼ ὁμοιότητα = “[he] faced all of the same temptations we do”

C- He did not sin even in the midst of living as one of us.

1. χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας= “without any sin”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)
21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

III. ACCESS (Hebrews 4:16).

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
16 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.

A- We are to come to Him to find grace and help when in need.

1. We must first realize that we can’t help ourselves.
2. We must recognize our utter dependence upon Him.
a) The old adage, “God helps those who help themselves.” Is not correct. He helps those who trust in Him. (Prov. 3:5-6).
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NLT)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
3. We must recognize that what we receive from Him is grace!!!
(John 1:16)
John 1:16 (NLT)
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.

B- We are to come boldly to seek His help.

1. παρρησίας = boldness, confidence, freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, openly, frankly
2. Illustration:
It is related of Alexander the Great that on one occasion a courtier asked him for some financial aid. The great leader told him to go to his treasurer and ask for whatever he wanted. A little later, the treasurer appeared and told Alexander the man had asked for a large sum and that he hesitated to pay out so much. "Give him what he asks for," replied the great conqueror. "He has treated me like a king in his asking, and I shall be like a king in my giving." Oh, for the realization of the greatness of the God to whom we come in prayer! From such a God we can only beg humbly; we cannot demand anything.
3. We are not to be timid about asking our Father in Heaven for help when we are in need.
a) What is it that you desperately need for Jesus to do for you?
(1) The salvation of a loved one?
(2) The restoration of the joy of salvation?
(3) Finances for the basic needs of life?
b) Note some scriptures:
(1) (Matthew 7:11)
Matthew 7:11 (NLT)
11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
(2) (Matthew 7:7)
Matthew 7:7 (NLT)
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
(3) (James 4:2)
James 4:2 (NLT)
2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
Jesus is our great High Priest. He is the one who understands us better than anyone else, yet loves and intercedes for us anyway. Seek Him now for the deepest needs you have. He will answer.
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