Although we cannot be together please take time to discuss these questions as a family and/or with a group of people. We would encourage you to discuss in groups through the use of video chat. It is important that we continue to have fellowship as the body of Christ.
1) Why do you need Jesus to represent you before God? Have you asked Jesus to be your representative and Savior?
2) What struggles are you facing today? How do Jesus’ struggles as a human being and His sympathy for you help to encourage you?
3) Why can you be confident to approach God’s throne in prayer at any time? What keeps you from praying? How does this passage give you confidence to pray?
Scripture: Hebrews 4:14-16
I. Jesus is a greater priest because He has the power to help us.
A. We know that Jesus has the power to help us because of where Jesus is today. Jesus passed through the heavens (vs. 14). After Jesus died and was resurrected, Jesus ascended into heaven. God vindicated Him and exalted Him to the highest place after the resurrection. Jesus is now at the right hand of God. He is in the very presence of God, in the place of all authority over the universe. He has all the power and authority of God. And as your priest, He can represent you and your needs to God the Father. He can intercede for you to God Himself.
B. The Levites went into the temple to do their work. But the high priest was only allowed to come into the holy of holies in the temple one day a year. But where did Jesus go after He offered Himself? Jesus didn’t go into a manmade building. Jesus went to heaven itself. And Jesus sits next to God 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Who then is greater? Hebrews 7:25: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
II. Jesus is a greater priest because He cares for us in our need.
A. Jesus is not only the Son of God. He is also a human being. And because Jesus is human that means according to verse 15 that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Therefore, we have a high priest who can relate to us. He has been where you’ve been. He knows exactly what you are going through because He has gone through it Himself. What do you have in Jesus? You have a deep well of sympathy that never runs dry. No matter how much pain you are in Jesus understands. Jesus cares.
B. One way that Jesus met our needs is found in the last three words of verse 15: yet without sin. Jesus was severely tempted by Satan throughout His lifetime, yet without sin. Jesus never once gave into temptation. He never sinned. If Jesus sinned, He could not be the perfect sacrifice that we need to pay the penalty for our sin. We need Jesus to be perfectly obedient in order to be a pure sacrifice in our place. If Jesus had sinned even once, He could not save us. Everything in our salvation hangs on Jesus being sinless.
III. Jesus is a greater priest because He cleanses us to give us access to God.
A. Jesus was a different kind of priest from every other priest. He was without sin. Not only could Jesus represent us as a human being. His perfect obedience allows His righteousness to be credited to our account. In the words of 2 Corinthians 5:21: “ For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” On the cross Jesus gave to us His perfect righteousness in exchange for our sin. If you trust that Christ died for you, you are completely clean. You are as righteous as Jesus before God. Verse 16 tells us one of the implications of the fact that you have been made clean by Jesus through faith in Him. Because you are now righteous, you have complete and total access to God. You don’t have to be afraid that God won’t listen to your prayers. You don’t have to pledge to do better and try harder before you pray to our holy God. You can come confidently before God today.
Application: God cares. God can help you. Jesus as your high priest proves this is true.
Sources: The letter to the Hebrews Commentaries on Hebrews by Thomas Schreiner and Raymond Brown Bible study by Michael Kruger