“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess… Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
It’s always helpful to remember that God is holy and pure. Like light, there is no darkness in him.
Because of this wonderful attribute of God – his perfection – imperfect people can’t be close to him. Something like the grubby coal miner whose wife, in her best white dress, wouldn’t let him hug her until he’d had a good shower and change of clothes.
Sadly, people are faulty and don’t come up to the standard of God’s glorious character and are separate from him. If we are honest with ourselves, there is darkness in us all. Even on my best days I do or think things that disappoint.
Happily, because God loves us, he’s acted to fix the problem.
At first, the Bible says that back in Old Testament times, God chose Aaron, Moses’ brother, as the first high priest to represent God to people, and people to God. He was a go-between, or bridge, from one to the other. It was Aaron’s job to offer animals’ lives as sacrifices to God day after day to “atone” or cover over the people’s sins, including Aaron’s, who was also a faulty human being. Trusting in God’s loving rightness, the sacrifices would repair the gap between the Holy One and the unholy ones. The high priest’s work made the two who were separate to be “at one” again. At one…atone…get it? A lovely idea.
Then, in New Testament times, Jesus, God’s Son who never sinned, came to die on the cross for our sins and rise to life again. This meant that everyone who believes that He did that for them would have eternal life with Him. The gap between God and us had been repaired. Because He did that for us, Jesus had become a greater high priest than any other. He offered His own perfect life as the perfect sacrifice to permanently bridge the gap between the holy God and unholy people.
And the result for us? As today’s Bible passage encourages us, we should keep believing what Jesus did for us as the Great High Priest so that we can be close to God again. Then we can approach God with confidence to live our lives with the mercy, grace and help that Jesus has obtained for us. In short, accepting Jesus as the Great High Priest makes us at one with the holy God who loves us.