Jesus Is the Great High Priest

Asheritah Ciuciu
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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.
Hebrews 4:14

The most prestigious spiritual leader in Israel was the high priest. Of all the priests and rulers in the nation, he was the only one who could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people.

After ceremonial cleansing for his own sins, he would go behind the thick veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. There he would offer the blood of a goat on the golden mercy seat that sat atop the Ark of the Covenant, so that the sins of Israel would be covered for another year.

The old priesthood and system of sacrifices was not meant to last forever. God gave them to Moses and the Israelites to foreshadow their fulfillment in Jesus. They had to repeat sacrifices every year, but Jesus’ death on the cross made final atonement for our sins and abolished the system once and for all.

“We have direct access to the Father through Jesus.”

Just as the Aaronic high priests would disappear from the people’s view when they entered the Holy of Holies, so Jesus passed through the heavens into the sanctuary of God. He is the One to hear our prayers because He has entered the Holy of Holies in heaven.

As the writer of Hebrews explains, there were many high priests throughout history “since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood” (7:23–24). He remains to this day the enduring High Priest who is alive and able to fulfill that role.

In heaven, Jesus sits on the great throne of grace, ready to hear our prayers and assist us in our time of need; He sympathizes with our weaknesses because He Himself was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15–16). Jesus is not aloof and prideful but rather concerned and available. This comforting truth invites us to approach the throne of grace with confidence.

Because Jesus is our High Priest, we no longer need anyone else to intercede between us and God. We have direct access to the Father through Jesus, and He stands ready and willing to help us in our time of need.


What a privilege to have direct access to God! It might seem strange to picture the Old Testament sacrifices, especially since many of us recoil from the sight of blood and the fear of pathogens. But understanding the priests’ role in offering sacrifices helps us rejoice in the finished work of Jesus. So approach the throne of grace confidently today and pour out your heart to God. You will not be turned away.


Dear Jesus, I can’t even fathom what a big deal this is. You freed us of the requirements of purification, rituals, sacrifices, and law. Through Your death on the cross, You tore the curtain that separated us from the presence of God, and now we can come directly to You, without any other mediator. Forgive me for neglecting this privilege so often. Rekindle in me a desire to spend time in Your presence and to live my life in the daily realities of Your throne room.

For Further Study

Leviticus 16:1–34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14–16; 6:19–7:28; 1 John 2:1

For Further Reading:

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