I can still remember what the broken clock looked like with all the glittering glass on the floor. My friend Joey and I were playing in his house. Minutes before his mom had come to warn us not to rough-house inside. Joey had complied but I had not. I still remember the pillow arching through the air, missing Joey and smashing into an antique style clock that rested on nearby table. We stood for a long time, gazing at it’s shattered delicacy.
“We gotta’ tell my mom what happened.”
I couldn’t breathe. This was all my fault. My ruination had come nigh.
“Will you tell her for me?” I pleaded.
Joey looked at me with narrowed eyes. “But you did this.”
“I know and I’m sorry, but you gotta’ tell her, I can’t do it!” After a lot of pleading and promising lifelong servitude, Joey relented and stood for me to confess the crime to his mom.
I needed a mediator. Someone to plead my case for mercy.
That’s the whole idea of priesthood in any religion that employs them. Humans who mediate between heaven and earth – advocates for humanity before God. That, the writer of Hebrews says, is what Jesus has come to do in perfection.
This Sunday we’ll be reading Hebrews 4:14-5:10 where the writer describes Jesus as our Great High Priest. The priesthood was central to the worship of ancient Israel. The writer, still asserting that Jesus is greater than all that came before him, expresses that the priesthood was merely a picture of who Jesus would be to us.
As you read through the section – and I advise doing it all in one fell swoop – look at the adjectives used to describe Jesus as our mediator. What are they, and what image of God do they convey? What qualifications for being High Priest does the writer mention? In what way did Jesus fulfill those qualifications?
Chapter 4 verse 16 is a powerful and revolutionary invitation. What do you feel when reading it? Reluctance, acceptance, relief…what?
How do you think having Jesus as a mediator between earth and heaven changes the dynamic and distinguishes Christianity from so many other religions? In what ways can we derive grace from having him as our advocate?
This is going to be such and encouraging study – hope to see you there!