“Therefore He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Hebrews 2:17, 18
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:1, 2
The Book of Hebrews reveals to us that our God has provided a High Priest and Advocate for us in Jesus Christ. This is someone who will stand in the gap for us. They speak to God on our behalf and they speak to us on behalf of God. When we are in need they bring that need to the Lord and intercede for us. We see this position established in the Old Testament. The work of the priests and specifically the responsibility of the High Priest was to be the “go-between” in spiritual matters. The High Priest was the one person that was allowed to go into the presence of God once a year to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people and, basically bridge the “gap” created by our sin that separated us from God. It was this practice that gave us a shadow of what we needed and what was to be provided through Jesus. The Scripture above tells us that Jesus came as our perfect High Priest and Advocate! It also reveals to us why He is the perfect fulfillment.
First, why do we need this? Why can’t we come into the presence of God on our own? The problem is that God is “holy” and pure and cannot tolerate sin and imperfection. To allow anything less than perfect into His presence would compromise and taint His holiness. We are reminded again about the truths that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and separated from God. And, we are not able to save ourselves no matter how hard we try or how good we attempt to be. We need someone to stand in the “gap”…an advocate.
What makes for a good Advocate? Who would be the perfect High Priest? It needs to be someone who knows me and my shortcomings and can relate to my struggles. I would not want an advocate that did not understand my situation or circumstances. At the same time they would need to be someone who had access to the presence of a holy God. This advocate and high priest would not only need to be someone that I could trust to have my best interest in mind, but also someone that was trusted by God. In other words, the perfect advocate would be one who could be accepted into the “Holy of Holies”…and directly address the heavenly Father. The writer of Hebrews reveals to us that Jesus is the answer to the “perfect” intercessor and Advocate!
The Bible tells us that the “Word became flesh and dwelled among us” (John 1:14). God experienced life on our level in order to show us that He knows what we are dealing with. He can “sympathize” with our circumstances. Jesus is also perfectly holy…God in the flesh…and therefore fulfills all that is required to be the perfect High Priest. The priests and prophets of the Old Testament did their best to “stand in the gap” for the people in the presence of God. But, they were imperfect themselves and were only a shadow of the True High Priest. Jesus not only paved the way for us to have fellowship with God…He is The Way.