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. Naomi Dibdin says:

    We as a family are in a time of waiting and realising in this season how much we need him as a provider. How amazing to know that he has us covered already no matter the outcome.

  2. Cynthia So says:

    I needed this reminder so much. I often find myself striving and doing all the things, but I end up going nowhere and feeling stuck. Fortunately, we have a God who is faithful and kind. He can and will fulfill our needs if we let Him.

  3. Susan Crosby says:

    Amen! We find our rest in Him! In times of great joy and times of great distress we find our rest in Him!

  4. Kristen Marino says:

    I love Hebrews 4:14-16, because Jesus understands us. He was tempted in every way. He endured betrayal, false accusations, being misunderstood, gossip, mental anguish, homelessness, hunger, thirst, physical torture, persecution, abandonment, the loss of a loved one, and more. How incredible to think that He knows what it’s like to go through these things. Love brought Him and kept Him on the Cross. He forever intercedes for us. Praise His Holy Name! He is beyond Amazing! When going through things, we can picture Jesus. He’s been there and gone through that! (Saw or heard that.)

    When of the comments said that we are full known by Him. That reminds me of this song that is so good!!! It says we are fully known and loved by Him. He won’t let go no matter what I do. Here is the link: Please listen!!

  5. Bessie says:

    Thank you, friends for your reflections on rest. They are all beautiful and very helpful. I love Angie’s response that rest means listening to God. I never knew that! I agree that it looks different to each of us, but the key is letting go of worry and effort and accept the gift of love and forgiveness that God has given us.

  6. Danielle Talerico says:

    It reminds of a song I heard on K-Love today; we don’t have to work hard because the work has been done for us. The song is called Best News Ever by MercyMe.

  7. Emily Evans says:

    It’s easy to forget, or to take for granted, that the Jewish people had to constantly worry about their inadequacy. How blessed were are to have such assurance in our salvation because of the ultimate lamb.

  8. Andrea Delp says:


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