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. Amanda A says:

    Maura, I have Type 1 diabetes also. I am part of a Type 1 diabetes support group on FB. They had mentioned to people who do not have insurance that there are FB supply sharing groups where others will help you out. It may be worth looking into. Insulin is expensive! For those that do not know, a 2 month supply can cost $2000.00. Type 1 diabetics need insulin to live. We cannot cure it with diet…our pancreas is broken and will not produce insulin so we HAVE to inject it. Praying for you Maura.

  2. Julia says:

    “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.”

    These lines… wow. I so appreciate this devotion. Reading the passages in Hebrews alongside some of the Leviticus commands had allowed me to see the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice through fresh eyes. While reading today, I was reminded of a song that came out a few years ago, “Seas of Crimson.” The bridge says, “Where there was sin Your love rushed in. Where sin runs deep, Your grace runs deeper. For all enslaved the ransom paid, Light of the World Yours is the Power.” I feel like these words perfectly align with today’s theme.

    O Come, Great High Priest! Teach us to rest in the sufficiency of Your sacrifice.

  3. Cayley Tripp says:

    I love that Jesus understands us. The high priests were merciful because they understood, that were just like us. But Jesus, the Great High Priest, is not like us (which is exactly what we need), but He chose to be like us and to understand and sympathize with us. He understands, He is compassionate.

  4. Cecelia Enns Schulz says:

    Angie! You spoke my own heart.

    I, too, often equate self-denial with self deprivation. I immediately thought of fasting or getting up in the wee hours of the morning. But I love this idea that it’s more just placing ALL MY HOPE in Jesus. In His finished work. Trusting in Him even when my circumstances would scream it’s all wrong. Taking up my cross I guess. Allowing myself to be seated at a feasting table in the presence of my enemies. Self denial means choosing to trust in God and not in my own strength or my own wisdom. And, truly, this is my aim. To be in all things guided by my Shepherd.

    1. Natalie Tucker says:

      I love the insight, Cecelia. Thank you!

    2. Carolina Espinal says:

      God bless you Sister

  5. Janet Mayer says:

    This message is especially timely for me today as I was just praying and relinquishing “my” control over finances and my husband’s many, many health problems. God is not surprised or caught off guard by circumstances. God is rightfully my Provider, my Sustainer, my Redeemer, not me. Self-denial, self-relinquishment. I give it all to God with an open hand. God bless all of you on this forum today. I know God will provide for your needs as you trust in Him. He is faithful. He is worthy to be praised.

    1. Naomi Dibdin says:

      Amen, Thankyou for putting this so beautifully.

  6. Amy Rihel says:

    Lord, give me the strength and the peace of mind to rest in you. May I trust you to know that it’s ok to be still, to be quiet and to wait. Amen.

  7. Maura says:

    Timely. Always amazed how God brings me words that meet me right where I am. Coming away from the government healthcare system with type 1 diabetes. Will have to pay for my supplies and know once again it is laying it down and trusting the Lord who supplies my needs to lead me to how to manage this. Our God is Abundant and He loves us. Jesus be praised. Appreciate your prayers for me to see the paths I am to take in this and where I am to go to meet this need. Thank you.

    1. Nicole Guerzon-Retuta says:

      Praying for you! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

      1. Amanda Seier says:

        Maura- I’m sure this is all so overwhelming for you but if you are interested in connecting with another female T1D Christian, I’d be happy to put you in contact with the pastor from my church here in Denver. Praying for your next steps in this journey!

  8. Hannah says:

    This also leads me to think about all the things we keep going to to bring us salvation-the time and sacrifice we give to the altar of gaining acceptance, building wealth, or appearing to be put together, when our salvation has already been secured by something our efforts had nothing to do with. Thank you for this thoughtful selection of scripture and words!

    1. Brittany Temple says:

      I love what you posted! Very truthful! Thank you for helping me put more into perspective! ❤️

    2. J B says:

      Yes!!!!!! Love this! Thank you for posting! ❤️

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