Day 13

O Come, Great High Priest

Leviticus 9:1-7, Leviticus 16:29-34, Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 5:1-10, Hebrews 10:10-14

BY Rebecca Faires

This past summer we hiked in bear country. With five children we didn’t give much thought to bears. Bears are smart and don’t want to be hassled, and a good amount of noise announces that hikers are near. Folks who aren’t blessed with five human noisemakers sometimes seek alternatives for the trail. Enter the adorable bear bell. It’s a sweet little jingle-bell tied to a hiker’s backpack that’s supposed to help keep bears away, and it has the added bonus of making the trail feel like Christmas. Our absolute favorite encounter was with a white-bearded man—a twinkle in his eye and a bell jingling at his belt.

The bear bell might just be a gimmick. But that constant jingle helps put one at ease. We think, At least I’m doing something to keep away danger! Regardless of your adorable ring-a-ding-ding, I imagine a grizzly would hold you in the same low esteem. Like the bear bell, so many of our attempts at solving problems and threats are insufficient.

The Day of Atonement was a reminder, long before Christ came, of the need for a sufficient sacrifice. It reminded Israel, not only of the price of sin, but of the surety of God’s provision. That day was to be a day of both complete rest and “self-denial,” and was established to be a permanent statute.

When I think of self-denial, I tend to think of self-deprivation. But the self-denial to which we are called is chiefly about reliance upon God. It is turning from self-reliance, from self-sufficiency, from our bear-bell comforts and solutions, from our nifty quick fixes, and our own ingenuity, none of which are sufficient to save. When God calls us to self-denial, He also calls us to rest. We are to rest in Him, in His sufficiency, in His provision, in His atonement, in His salvation. He is our Great High Priest, and the Lamb who was slain. He has cleansed us once and for all time (Hebrews 10:10). It is a glorious gift to be called to self-denial, to complete rest in Him.

Like tinkling bells before an angry bear, the regular sacrifice of bulls and rams was insufficient to deal with the problem of sin. But Christ answers our need fully so that we no longer need to live under priests who pass away, the continual slaying of animals, and the looming debt of sin. We have a real answer in Christ. The season of Advent is a time both to remember our desperate need and to remember the fulfillment of that need, which is found alone in Christ, the perfect Priest and Sacrifice.

The years of longing, and the long trail of inadequate burnt offerings, come to an end in Christ. In Him we find an offering that is sufficient once for all time, for every sin, to make atonement for us and sanctify us forever. We find our rest in Him.

Post Comments (98)

98 thoughts on "O Come, Great High Priest"

  1. Nicole Shantel says:

    Thank you for your obedience Lord

  2. Lara Castillo says:

    I have loved all the comments, they help me think more deeply about the passage, more about applying God’s truth to my life.
    I am curious, though, how there are some posts from 8 months ago?

    1. Nicole Guerzon-Retuta says:

      I noticed that too. Could it be an app bug or a highlighted post from before? It surely doesn’t jive with the study today. Hope the mods can check and roll out a fix.

  3. Joy Y says:

    So thankful for today’s devo especially. A great reminder of what a beautiful and powerful High Priest I have in Christ. And one who takes residence in me and is active daily. One who is for me. This great High Priest who makes continual intercession for me. Who prays before the Father “Sanctify her in the truth.” And what a most sufficient High Priest we have! Thankful for his sacrifice. Thankful for his blood! The only blood that is sufficient to cleanse us from all our sin! Oh the blood of Jesus… it washes white as snow!

  4. Jess T says:

    Much needed wisdom about resting in Christ’s sufficiency today!

  5. Brandi says:

    I loved the Leviticus passage today, the words that stuck out to me were “…For today the Lord is going to appear to you.” It caused me to think what if I lived in such a way that I believed this was true everyday, that the Lord would appear. And He does because of the cross the veil was torn and we have access to the High Preist forever! He is with us always, knows us through and through- every thought, every action before we even know it ourselves. We are known fully by Him. This would change how we live out all the realms of life. I also liked in vs 6 “…that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” With obedience God is glorified!

  6. Sarah May says:

    This is exactly where I’ve been the last month or so—in a period of being unable to make my plans & ideas work out and having to rely on God and rest in Him—because I’m all out of options! This is where He wants me to be in this season, to know my identity is not in what I do or fulfilling my dreams—but that I am His daughter at His feet, ready to do what He says I am to do. It’s hard. It is self-denial in a very type-A, pursue-it-til-you-have-it culture. He’s calling me to stop & rest. He’s done the work. Amen.

  7. Lisa HoodParker says:


  8. amarose says:

    Han, I love that song and as soon as I started reading your post, I immediately thought of that song, only to see you reference it at the end! Also, Churchmouse, thank you for that beautiful post. It can be so difficult to find rest in God even as my circumstances rage around me, so thank you for acknowledging the struggles for rest. God is teaching me in this season how to lean in close to him and, for that I am so grateful.
    Really wish individual comments worked for me with this new format : (

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