Matthew 20:17-19 (NIV)
17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

In a culture that doesn’t sacrifice animals on altars when we make mistakes, it’s sometimes tough to explain how and why Jesus’ death on the cross atones for our sins. Without a system for understanding sin, sacrifice, and repentance, something doesn’t quite add up.

Sometimes when sharing the gospel we want to cut to the chase—Jesus rose from the dead and offers us eternal life. But to understand the significance of that world-changing event, people have to understand how sin hijacks our relationship with God, and how Jesus’ death restores that relationship.

You might’ve delved into defining sin and explaining our need for a savior on Good Friday, but chances are you’re also expecting a lot of new people on Easter. Jesus as our High Priest is one of the magnificent truths that matures us in the faith and draws us more intimately to Him. When we see the greatness of Jesus in this office, our steadfastness is strengthened. "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." Jesus was completely successful in His mission of redemption. He came and died as the sacrifice for our sins. He rose victorious over sin and death. He ascended to the heaven of heavens, seated in authority at the right hand of the Father. Knowing this, we have great cause to remain steadfast in our confession of hope in Him.

Furthermore, our great High Priest is not aloof from our needs or impervious to our frailties. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses." The enemy of our souls threw all of His tempting devices at Jesus. He faced what we face, so He understands our battles in a very personal manner. Another matter of even greater significance is that He never yielded to the tempters attacks: "yet without sin." Thus, He not only understands our plight, but He can also provide victory.

We are hereby given reason to approach God, through our great High Priest, without hesitation or apprehension to find the help we need. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Our God rules this universe from a throne characterized by grace. This grace can only be properly known by those who live under His new covenant of grace. This grace is sufficient to justify and to sanctify all who humbly trust in the Lord. The grace offered here is not only for initial salvation but, it is for rescuing the redeemed when they are aware of their inadequacy. We are invited to draw near, approach our God in an intimate fashion, and partake of His fullness in light of our emptiness.

Dear Jesus, my great High Priest, I extol You for Your greatness. You are great in understanding, compassion, victory, and grace. Lord, I have so many great needs in my life. So I draw near to You, anticipating that Your grace is fully sufficient to meet my lack, Amen.


Pastor Mark

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