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Question: “What does it mean that Jesus is our High Priest?”
 

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Answer: High Priest is only one of the many titles applied to Jesus: Messiah, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Friend of Sinners, etc. Each one focuses on a particular aspect of who He is and what that means for us. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is called a High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14

). The word “priest” carries a couple of primary meanings. First, it means one who mediates in religious services. It also means one who is holy or set apart to perform those services.
The first place we find the word used in the Bible is in

Genesis 14

. Abraham, the friend of God, entered into battle to rescue his nephew Lot, who had been captured by the army of Elam. On his return, Abraham was met by Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the Most High God. This man, whose name means the “king of righteousness,” blessed Abraham and the Most High God who gave victory to Abraham. In return for this blessing, Abraham gave a tithe (10 percent) of all the spoils of war to Melchizedek. By this act, Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek’s high position as the priest of God.
Years later, Abraham’s great-grandson Levi was singled out by God to be the father of the priestly tribe. When the Law was given on Mount Sinai, the Levites were identified as the servants of the Tabernacle, with the family of Aaron becoming the priests. The priests were responsible for making intercession to God for the people by offering the many sacrifices that the law required. Among the priests, one was selected as the High Priest, and he entered into the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement to place the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant (

Hebrews 9:7

). By these daily and yearly sacrifices, the sins of the people were temporarily covered until the Messiah came to take away their sins.
When Jesus is called our High Priest, it is with reference to both of these previous priesthoods. Like Melchizedek, He is ordained as a priest apart from the Law given on Mount Sinai (

Hebrews 5:6). Like the Levitical priests, Jesus offered a sacrifice to satisfy the Law of God when He offered Himself for our sins (Hebrews 7:26-27). Unlike the Levitical priests, who had to continually offer sacrifices, Jesus only had to offer His sacrifice once, gaining eternal redemption for all who come to God through Him (Hebrews 9:12

).
One other important point about Jesus’ priesthood—every priest is appointed from among men. Jesus, though God from eternity, became a man in order to suffer death and serve as our High Priest (

Hebrews 2:9). As a man, He was subject to all the weaknesses and temptations that we are, so that He could personally relate to us in our struggles (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is greater than any other priest, so He is called our “Great High Priest” in Hebrews 4:14, and that gives us the boldness to come “unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV

).

Recommended Resource: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll

Question: “What does it mean that Jesus is our mediator?”

 

Answer:

A mediator is one who mediates, that is, one who acts as an intermediary to work with opposing sides in order to bring about a settlement. A mediator attempts to influence a disagreement between two parties with the goal of resolving a dispute. There is only one Mediator between mankind and God, and that is Jesus Christ. In this article, we’ll see why God has a dispute with us, why Jesus is our mediator, and why we are doomed if we try to represent ourselves alone before God.
God has a dispute with us because of

sin. Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). God hates sin, and sin stands between all of us and Him. “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). All human beings are sinners by virtue of sin we have inherited from Adam, as well as the sin we commit on a daily basis. The only just penalty for this sin is death (Romans 6:23), not only physical death but eternal death (Revelation 20:11–15

). The rightful punishment for sin is an eternity in hell.
Nothing we could do on our own would be sufficient to mediate between ourselves and God. No amount of good works or law-keeping makes us righteous enough to stand before a holy God (
Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16). Without a mediator, we are destined to spend eternity in hell, for by ourselves salvation from our sin is impossible. Yet there is hope! “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus represents those who have placed their trust in Him before God’s throne of grace. He mediates
for us, much as a defense attorney mediates for his client, telling the judge, “Your honor, my client is innocent of all charges against him.” That is true for us also. Some day we will face God, but we will do so as totally forgiven sinners because of Jesus’ death on our behalf. The “Defense Attorney” took the penalty for us!
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We see more proof of this comforting truth in

Hebrews 9:15: “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” It is because of the great Mediator that we are able to stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ Himself. On the cross Jesus exchanged our sin for His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21

). His mediation is the only means of salvation.
 
Question: “What is the meaning of the blood of Christ?”

 

Answer:
The phrase “blood of Christ” is used several times in the New Testament and is the expression of the sacrificial death and full atoning work of Jesus on our behalf. References to the Savior’s blood include the reality that He literally bled on the cross, but more significantly that He bled and died for sinners. The blood of Christ has the power to atone for an infinite number of sins committed by an infinite number of people throughout the ages, and all whose faith rests in that blood will be saved.
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The reality of the blood of Christ as the means of atonement for sin has its origin in the Mosaic Law. Once a year, the priest was to make an offering of the blood of animals on the altar of the temple for the sins of the people. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (

Hebrews 9:22). But this was a blood offering that was limited in its effectiveness, which is why it had to be offered again and again. This was a foreshadowing of the “once for all” sacrifice which Jesus offered on the cross (Hebrews 7:27

). Once that sacrifice was made, there was no longer a need for the blood of bulls and goats.
The blood of Christ is the basis of the New Covenant. On the night before He went to the cross, Jesus offered the cup of wine to His disciples and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (

Luke 22:20). The pouring of the wine in the cup symbolized the blood of Christ which would be poured out for all who would ever believe in Him. When He shed His blood on the cross, He did away with the Old Covenant requirement for the continual sacrifices of animals. Their blood was not sufficient to cover the sins of the people, except on a temporary basis, because sin against a holy and infinite God requires a holy and infinite sacrifice. “But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3). While the blood of bulls and goats were a “reminder” of sin, “the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19) paid in full the debt of sin we owe to God, and we need no further sacrifices for sin. Jesus said, “It is finished” as He was dying, and He meant just that—the entire work of redemption was completed forever, “having obtained eternal redemption” for us (Hebrews 9:12

).
Not only does the blood of Christ redeem believers from sin and eternal punishment, but “His blood will make our consciences pure from useless acts so we may serve the living God” (

Hebrews 9:14 NCV). This means that not only are we now free from having to offer sacrifices which are “useless” to obtain salvation, but we are free from having to rely on worthless and unproductive works of the flesh to please God. Because the blood of Christ has redeemed us, we are now new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17

), and by His blood we are freed from sin to serve the living God, to glorify Him, and to enjoy Him forever.

Recommended Resource: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll

 

Question: “What is the purpose of Jesus interceding for us in Heaven?”

 

Answer: Speaking of Jesus, the writer to the Hebrews says, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). This verse (and others like it) tells us that although Christ’s work to secure the salvation of the elect was completed on the cross, as evidenced by His cry “It is finished!” (John 19:30), His care for His redeemed children will never be finished.

Jesus did not go to heaven after His earthly ministry and “take a break” from His role as eternal Shepherd to His people. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10, emphasis added). If when humble, despised, dying, and dead, He had the power to accomplish so great a work as reconciling us to God, how much more may we expect that He will be able to keep us now that He is a living, exalted, and triumphant Redeemer, raised to life and interceding on our behalf before the throne (Romans 8:34). Clearly, Jesus is still very active on our behalf in heaven.

After Jesus ascended to heaven and was seated at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 1:9; Colossians 3:1), He returned to the glory He had before His incarnation (John 17:5) to carry on His role of King of kings and Lord of lords—His eternal role as the second Person of the triune God. While this old earth continues to be “won” for Christ, Jesus is the Advocate for Christians, meaning He is our great Defender. This is the intercessory role He currently fulfills for those who are His (1 John 2:1). Jesus is always pleading our case before the Father, like a defense lawyer on our behalf.

Jesus is interceding for us while Satan (whose name means “accuser”) is accusing us, pointing out our sins and frailties before God, just as he did with Job (Job 1:6-12). But the accusations fall upon deaf ears in heaven, because Jesus’ work on the cross paid our sin debt in full; therefore, God always sees in His children the perfect righteousness of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, His righteousness (perfect holiness) was imputed to us, while our sin was imputed to Him at His death. This is the great exchange Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:21. That took away forever our sinful state before God, so God can accept us as blameless before Him.

Finally, it is important to understand that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. No one else—not Mary, not any previous Christian saints, not angels—has the power to intercede for us before the throne of the Almighty. Christ alone mediates and intercedes between God and man. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

Recommended Resource: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll