Hebrews 7:11-28, especially verses 23-28, reminds us why Jesus alone is the perfect high priest, able to sympathize with us as a human and yet able to save for us as a sinless sacrifice. The language emphasizes the permanency of Christ’s priesthood and the firmness of our salvation. It’s meant to remind us that there will never be a time when Jesus is not interceding for his people. He never takes a sick day or a vacation. He continually lives at the right hand of the Father. It’s a reminder that we are never alone. We are never without an advocate. We always have full and complete access to the Father through Jesus our mediator.
When we fall and sin, Jesus’ blood covers us and he presents his sacrifice on our behalf.
When we feel weak, Jesus is a king who rules on our behalf and a priest who acts on our behalf.
When we wonder if we can draw near to God, Jesus is our confidence that we can directly go to the throne of God.
When we feel abandoned and alone—or isolated and quarantined off from the world—Jesus is with us, always and forever. He is a perfect high priest, always able to help and eager to help. Draw near to him.
Study, Reflection, and Discussion Questions
- Read Heb. 3:6; 6:18-19; 7:19. What is the hope referred to and why is the hope in Jesus and his New Covenant ministry “better” than the Old Covenant?
- Read Ex. 28:9-10 (cf. Lev. 16) about the High Priest bringing the names of God’s people into his presence. How does that provide a shadow or picture pointing to the way Jesus carries our names into God’s very presence through his permanent priestly ministry? Why should that encourage us or provide assurance? How can that motivate trusting God and turning to him?
- The author encourages us to “draw near” to God throughout this book. Read Heb. 4:16; 7:19, 25; 10:1, 22; 11:6. What does it mean to draw near to God? What keeps you from boldly drawing near to God more often or more intimately? What are a couple ways you might do this in the next week?
- Why does the author emphasize that Christ’s priestly ministry is forever (6:20; 7:3, 16, 21), eternal (7:25), or permanent (7:24)? Why is that grounds for hope and encouragement for us to draw near to God and endure in faith?
- We often think about Jesus’ past ministry (birth, life, death, resurrection) or even his future coming, but we don’t think enough about what Jesus is doing now as our ascended king and priest. Why is it important and helpful to remember that Jesus is reigning now as king and priest, and that he is continually interceding for us? (See Heb. 2:16-18; 4:14-16; 7:23-25; Rom. 8:34.)
For Further Study
- Draw near: Heb. 4:16; 7:19, 25; 10:1, 22; 11:6.
- High Priest: Ex. 28:9-10; Lev. 16; Heb. 7:25; 8:1; 10:21; John 17.
- Watch a Bible Project video on “The Covenants” or “Sacrifice & Atonement” at bibleproject.com.
- Christ as Ascended Priest: “Celebrating Ascension Day: 4 Things Jesus is Doing Right Now” by Dustin Crowe at indycrowe.com; “Differences Between Jesus and the Levitical Priests” by Justin Taylor at thegospelcoalition.org; “Jesus Ever Lives Above, for You to Intercede” by Gavin Ortlund (interviewing D. A. Carson) at thegospelcoalition.org.
Ideas for Response
- Meditate on the permanency of Christ’s priesthood and the place of Christ’s priesthood in heaven. In confidence through Jesus, draw near to God in worship, prayer, and communion with Him.
- Spend time in confession of sin. That doesn’t require a “big sin” but we live in the reality that we daily fall short of God’s glory and sin against him. Hebrews 7-8 should encourage us with the knowledge that Christ fully paid for our sin and intercedes for us now, and through him, God invites us to draw near.
- Encourage someone today or this week with the reminder of Christ’s current, ongoing, active ministry on our behalf.
Additional Thoughts or Quotes
“So it is clear that the Levitical priesthood is inadequate: it doesn’t truly and finally forgive sins and provide access to God. It doesn’t transform human beings so they become righteous.” Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews
“The word “better” (κρείττονος) captures the author’s intention: Jesus is “better” than angels (1: 4); the readers have experienced “better things” (6: 9); Melchizedek is “better” than Abraham (7: 7); Jesus guarantees a “better covenant” (7: 22; 8: 6), which has “better promises” (8: 6); he offered “better sacrifices” (9: 23); the readers have a “better possession” (10: 34); a “better country” (11: 16); await a “better resurrection” (11: 35); OT saints will experience what is “better” and “perfect” only in fellowship with NT saints (11: 40); Jesus’ blood speaks “better” than Abel’s (12: 24). It is inconceivable, according to the author, that the readers would forsake what is better and cling to the law and the Levitical priesthood.” Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews