This epistle speaks directly to first century Hebrew converts who formerly embraced Judaism. The Jews (Hebrews) were chosen by God to be a testimony of His righteousness. They were given God’s law by Moses such that they might be a light to all men. All Jews, both New Testament believers and those who continued in the law, held Moses and the law in great regard. The difference between believing and unbelieving Jews is not found through observing the law of Moses. The difference is found in the manner in which they viewed Jesus. Those who believed, unlike those who did not, gave heed to the Holy Spirit who spoke to the prophets.
In Hebrews 4:14, the human author of this epistle was moved to describe Jesus (1) as our “great high priest”, (2) as Him who “is passed into the heavens”, and (3) as “the Son of God”. New Testament Gentile believers know that all three of these descriptions are true because the scriptures declare all three and we know all scripture to be true. All scripture includes Paul’s epistle to the Romans in which he declares that Christ died and arose to make intercession for us at the right hand of God (Rom. 8:34).
If the declaration of Christ as their “great high priest” is to resonate in the hearts of Hebrew believers (and it did and does), one should expect that this truth should be found in the word given to Old Testament prophets. In deed, it is. Turn to Isaiah 53. The prophet described God’s righteous servant, the suffering Messiah, as one who (at a future time) would be recognized as one who had made intercession for the transgressors (v. 12). The intercessor of Isaiah 53:12 is the one who was bruised for our iniquities (v. 5). The intercessor is He who was made an offering for sin and whose days were prolonged (v. 10).
God the Father made it known through Isaiah and through David (see Psalm 110) that Christ should be our intercessor (high priest). The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, causes us to focus upon and understand God’s ways. God the Father has made His begotten Son our high priest. The Lord God provides for our needs. The Father has made Christ our high priest because we have need of one who is and remains without sin who can intercede for us.
That Christ should be our high priest is not an after thought. He was foreordained before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1:20). If the second born in Christ were to never sin again, no intercessor would be needed. Christ sits at the right hand of the Father because we have need of His presence.
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews implores believers to boldly approach the throne of grace for help in the time of need (Heb. 4:16). The grace which God the Father provides to all who believe does not end when one believes. The Father has provided continuing grace through Christ, our high priest.
In verse 10 of chapter 5, the writer declares Christ to be a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek is presented to us in the book of Genesis. Melchizedek was both king and priest. In Genesis 14:20, Melchizedek blessed Abraham and received tithes presented to him by Abraham. The writer of Hebrews was moved by the Holy Spirit to describe Melchizedek as being without father or mother and as having no beginning or ending (Heb. 7:3).
In declaring Christ to be after the order of Melchizedek, the human writer of Hebrews declares Christ to be the priest and king whom the Holy Spirit directed David to identify as “my Lord” in Psalm 110:1.
To be after the order of Melchizedek, a priest must be above Abraham. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Melchizedek was above him whose belief was counted as righteousness. Melchizedek is likened to God in that God is the great I AM. God is without father or mother. God is before the beginning and after the ending. Christ, our high priest, is of an order which men cannot attain. Christ possesses the qualities of man in that He was tempted in like manner as are we but possesses the righteousness which is of God.
We have need of our high priest because we ever fall short of God’s righteous perfection. God in His grace has given us One who has not and cannot fail to stand at His right hand and intercede for us. His grace is great and His grace is free. The Father has provided believers with an intercessor who is faithful to forgive all who come to Him in repentance. Let us boldly go to Him who gave Himself for us. His grace is greater than our sins.