Dr. Oscar T. Moses
W.A.R. Bible Study
Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church of Chicago
March 7, 2017
Access Granted – Hebrews 4:16
If we are to endure through tribulations and life’s trying moments we must understand who Jesus is and how He helps us in our time of need.
Jesus is Great
Hebrews 4:14 – “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
The author tells us who Jesus is and how we should respond. In this verse we understand why Jesus is great. He has passed into the heavens and according to Hebrews 1:3 He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Why did He sit down? No more would He have to make sacrifices because He was the perfect sacrifice and according to Hebrews 9:12 the work was completed. This put an end to priesthood sacrifices. Jesus played dual roles on Calvary; both high priest and sacrifice.
In biblical times Jews understood the significance of the high priest. “Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest alone would go into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for all the sins of the nation. If he entered there improperly or at any other time, he would die according to Leviticus 16. He would sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat in the very presence of God. When he came out alive, the people heaved a sigh of relief, because it meant that God had accepted the sacrifice for their sins for another year. Rather than entering the Holy of Holies in the temple, He has passed through the heavens into the very presence of God.
When the author says to holdfast to our profession he means to holdfast to our belief that Jesus indeed died for our sins, was buried but raised from the dead by God and now sits in heaven making intercessions for our sin. “Picture someone hanging on for dear life as their raft goes down the raging rapids in the Grand Canyon. “Hold fast” means not only maintain our private belief s but also our public declaration through baptism. Profession of faith is tested when persecution arises.
Jesus Is Guiltless
Hebrews 4:15 – “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
Jews believed that God was incapable of sharing the feelings of men. He was too distant, too far removed in nature from man, to be able to identify with our feelings and temptations and problems. God became man to share in our suffering and temptation. When we are troubled or hurt or despondent or strongly tempted, we want to share our feelings and needs with someone who understands. Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses hurts and pains. At the tomb of Lazarus in John 11, the bible says that Jesus wept. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just before His arrest, He sweat drops of blood. He experienced every kind of temptation and testing any person will ever face. And now He is at the right hand of the Father right now interceding for us. Jesus was tempted yet He was without sin. Because of His divinity, temptations and trials were harder for Him to endure than ours are for us. The writer of Hebrews is saying that we have a God not only “who is there” but one “who has been here.” Though He was tempted to sin He did not.
Jesus Is Gracious
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Most ancient rulers were unapproachable by the common people. Some would not even allow their highest-ranking officials to come before them without permission. Queen Esther risked her life in approaching King Ahasuerus without invitation, even though she was his wife in Esther 5:1-2. Yet the Christian, no matter how sinful and undeserving, may approach God’s throne at any time for forgiveness. The sinner can even come at anytime for salvation. We are assured at our coming that we will receive mercy and grace. Because of Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice of His life on Calvary, God’s throne of judgment is turned into a throne of grace for those who trust in Him. As the Jewish high priests once a year for centuries had sprinkled blood on the mercy seat for the people’s sins, Jesus shed His blood once and for all time for the sins of everyone who believes in Him. He pleads for us to come in confidence.
Small Group Questions
- To what important spiritual leader did the author of Hebrews compare Jesus?
- What is the command in verse 14?
- In what way is Jesus the ultimate high priest?
- In what ways was Jesus tempted?
- How is Jesus able to sympathize with us?
- Because of Jesus’ superior high priesthood, how can forgiven sinners approach God?
- How does Christ respond to those who approach Him in faith? Why?
Questions for Thought
- How does it encourage you to have Jesus as your high priest?
- What is the difference between sinning and being tempted?
- How would the need for priests to offer sacrifices for their own sins have applied to Jesus Christ?
- How did suffering to the point of death give Jesus insights into obedience?
- Why do you think suffering was part of God’s will for Jesus as our high priest?
- How does the sympathy and understanding nature of Christ motivate you to turn to Him when temptations arise?
- What does it mean for us to approach God?
- How can we honor Christ as our high priest?
- What does it mean to you that Jesus has gone through the problems and temptations you face?
- For what specific area of your life do you need to approach Jesus and ask for mercy and grace?
- What is the A.C.T.S. of prayer?
- What do you need to remind yourself of in prayer from this lesson?
- How will this lesson stretch your faith?
- How will this lesson strengthen your prayer life?
Because of Him,
Dr. Oscar T. Moses