Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 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.
Jesus, Our Perfect High Priest
In the fifth chapter of his book, the author to the Hebrews tells us what Old Testament high priests did: “Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Hebrews 5:1).
Why do we call Jesus our High Priest? Because he did what the Old Testament high priests did. Just as they represented the people before God, Jesus represents his people before God. Just as the Old Testament priests made sacrifice for sin, Jesus made sacrifice for sin. We rightly call Jesus our High Priest. But there is more.
Why do we call Jesus our perfect High Priest? Because he did not do what the Old Testament high priests did. The verses from Hebrews for today’s devotion make this clear. Jesus did not offer sacrifices day after day. Jesus did not offer sacrifices for his own sin—not even one! Jesus did not repeatedly offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. That’s why Jesus is not just another high priest, but our perfect High Priest.
Jesus sacrificed for sin, once for all, when he offered himself. Why only once? And why did it count for all? Because the one making the sacrifice and the sacrifice being made were one and the same, and that one was perfect—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
Such a high priest truly meets your need. Remember that when you have stumbled and fallen, and feel like you can’t get up. Remember that when guilt over sin weighs heavily upon you. Remember that also when your faith needs a boost to take on the challenge or overcome the temptation before you. Remember that when you are rejoicing in blessings you have through Christ. Indeed, remember this not only after a failure, but before a challenge, and through it all thankful for a victorious Christian life: Jesus is your perfect High Priest!
Thank you, Jesus, for doing what the Old Testament priests did, and for not doing what the Old Testament priests did. Thank you for being my perfect High Priest. May I trust you to meet my every need, today and always. Amen.
The devotions in March on Thursday and Friday focus on the office of Jesus Christ: Prophet, Priest, and King.
Source: WELS Devotions