… but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them …
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (verses 24-25, 27)
If you wanted to spot a priest in Old Testament times, where would you look? The Temple, of course. That would be your best bet. It was home base. It was there that a priest carried out his priestly work. There were the regular, daily offerings, but also that great annual sacrifice of the Day of Atonement which required the High Priest to go into the Most Holy Place, alone, to offer sacrifice to God. The Temple was the location for it all. That’s where the priestly function was carried out.
But Jesus does his work as High Priest in a different location entirely – indeed, two different locations.
The first is the cross. This was a location that carried nothing of the awe and majesty of the Temple. Rather, it was the place of shame and torment. Yet Jesus carried out his priestly work right here, offering the ultimate sacrifice for sin.
The high priests of the Old Testament had to make provision for the sins of the people (and their own) regularly. Those sacrifices were offered both to cover over the blackness of sin and also turn away the just wrath of God. Such sacrifices had to be offered continually, “day after day” as the text says, in light of sin’s ever-recurring presence and its resulting stain. Each sacrifice sufficed for the moment, but needed to be re-enacted with every subsequent misstep and sin.
But our High Priest made one, sufficient sacrifice, once for all. At the cross. That was his work place. It was there, in that location, that Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice, fulfilling the role of both Priest and Lamb, atoning for all sin, from all time, for all people. It was there he paid the price. No further sacrifice would ever be required. That one sacrifice sufficed. Fully. Always. At the cross.
But there is also, subsequently, a second location where Jesus carries out his High Priestly work. That location is at the right hand of the throne of Almighty God. That’s the location where Jesus positions himself to function as Intercessor, speaking to the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:34). In fact, the author of Hebrews tells us that he “always lives” to do this. It is his passion, his commitment, his focus. For our sake.
What an amazing Priest. What an amazing Saviour. Offering the sacrifice of himself. Interceding on our behalf. At the cross. At the right hand of the Father. All for us.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you. As High Priest you have done your work for me at the cross. You are doing your work still, at the Father’s right hand. You have paid the price of my sin. You intercede on my behalf. Thank you. Praise your name.
Reflect: How does each location of Jesus’ work grip your mind? What stands out to you? How has his work affected you? How does it affect you still? Give thanks.