Our Great High Priest
The passage of Scripture sited above is truly one of the most profound and stirring passages of holy writ. We Christians have a Great High Priest in heaven right now in the person of Jesus Christ. The priestly office of Christ is a central doctrine of our faith and one filled with great comfort.
To more fully appreciate this aspect of the work of our Lord we must consider the priesthood of the Old Testament. It was the function of the priests to bring God and man together. Now there was serious difficulty in accomplishing such a task for God is holy and man is sinful. It was therefore necessary that the priest make an atonement for man's sins. The justice of God must be satisfied before He could forgive and be reconciled to men. To accomplish an atonement there were priest who daily offered animal sacrifices for human sin. On the great Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the high priest, and he alone, would enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple and sprinkle the atoning blood of a sacrificed bull on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Blood was continually being offered up to atone for the sins of the people. "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." (Hebrews 9:22)
In the Old Testament days there were a countless number of priests. There were also many high priests. It is recorded that from the construction of the First Temple to the destruction of the Second Temple there were 318 high priests. But now we have a Great High Priest in Jesus Christ. Instead of offering the blood of bulls and sheep in sacrifice for sin, Christ offered up His own body and blood on the cross for our salvation. Instead of entering the Holy of Holies in the Temple, Christ entered heaven itself into the immediate presence of God the Father. Instead of eventually being replaced by another priest, Christ remains our Great High Priest permanently.
We are told that Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses. Let us change the analogy for a moment. When we are ill and need a doctor we want one who is proficient and expert in his field, but we also want a doctor who cares for us as a person, one who sympathizes with our condition. Christ knows what it is like to live in a body of flesh and to face the temptations and trials of this world. He has gone through everything a human being could possibly go through and did so without sinning. If I have not faced the same temptations you are facing I may not understand. If I have not suffered what you are suffering I might not be sympathetic. Christ, however, does understand. Our condition touches Him and He truly sympathizes with our weaknesses. That is one of the most wonderful things that can be said of Jesus.
There are certain things we should do based on who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. First, we who are believers should, "hold fast our confession." (Heb. 4:14) We must persevere in the faith for Christ is our Savior and Great High Priest in heaven. Never give up.
We should also, "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace ." (Heb.4:16 a) Our confidence is based on who Christ is, not on who we are. Come confidently to Christ to, "reserve mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16 b) The order here is important. We must receive mercy or pardon for sin first. Once we have through faith received pardon we are confident that our High Priest will help us with our many needs. Always have confidence; but confidence in Christ which is much better.
Thank God we have a Great High Priest in the person of Jesus Christ. We have a Priest who has made sufficient atonement for our sins and is right now in heaven representing our cause before God the Father. Let us, therefore, always live with confidence.
by Rev. F. M. Levi
Thank you to those who contributed non-perishable food items for the Tinley Park Food Pantry during Advent and Christmas. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is most appreciated.
We welcome Mrs. Anita Rago who was received into the membership of St. Andrew's on Sunday, December 14, 2003.
Feb. 3 - Adele O'Brien
Missionary of The Month
Sue Brodish, Christian Kindergarten. Siebenburgener Weg 16, 34613 Schwalmstadt - 1 GERMANY.
Adam Sellers & Lisa Hoppenrath were united in marriage at St. Andrew's on Saturday, January 10, 2004. Adam is the son of Franklin & Loretta Sellers of this parish. The wedding ceremony was conducted by Adam's grandfather The Rt. Rev. Franklin H. Sellers.
The 98th Synod of the Diocese of Mid-America will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral February 19 & 20, 2004. Do be in prayer for this important meeting.
On the Wednesday nights in Lent we will be having a pot luck dinner in the parish hall at 6:30 p.m. The dinner will be followed by a service in the chapel at 7:30 p.m. Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004. Everyone is encouraged to attend these special gatherings.
Ladies Appreciation Dinner
All of the women of the church are invited to an appreciation dinner where the men will cook, serve and do all the clean up. The dinner will be in the Parish Hall on Saturday, April 24, 2004 beginning at 5:00 p.m. We hope to see you there.
God's love is like the rolling ocean,
Like craggy mountains towering upward,