The high priest played an incredibly important role in the annual Day of Atonement. He alone entered the innermost room of the tabernacle (or later, the temple) where God manifested His presence, and he could only do it on that one day each year.
The book of Hebrews in the New Testament teaches that Jesus is our high priest. Hebrews 1 shows Jesus’ deity, then Hebrews 2 shows His humanity, and most of the book compares Jesus to the priesthood and sacrificial system in the Law of Moses.
Our study group is doing a bible study exercise with Hebrews 2: 14-18, Hebrews 4:14-5:6 and Hebrews 7:20-28, which are all about Jesus’ high priesthood. I’ll describe the steps so you can do the exercise yourself.
Step 1: Print out the three passages in large print and with wide margins on both sides. You can do this by copying and pasting them from biblia.com, biblegateway.com or blueletterbible.org. I find that this makes it easier to focus on the text itself instead of getting distracted by my bible’s study notes, and I have plenty of room to mark up the text and write any insights or questions. This helps me listen to God as He speaks directly through His word.
Step 2: Pick three contrasting colors of pens, pencils, markers, or highlighters.
Use the first color to mark words and phrases that describe Jesus as high priest, the second to mark the benefits we gain from His ministry, and the third to mark descriptions of the Old Testament priests.
Step 3: Do a bit of analysis of what you’ve discovered and write insights or questions in the margins. For example, list comparison (similarities) and contrasts(differences) between Jesus as high priest and the Old Testament high priests.
Step 4: Make this personal; ask yourself questions about what you’ve learned like “What practical difference can this make in my life?” or “Is God asking me to do something in response?” God may speak to you about a specific circumstance in your life where you need to apply His truth, or He may lead you to practice a spiritual discipline like memorizing a verse from one of the passages, or you may simply be led to praise Him for what you’ve learned. Be open to His leading, and He’ll let you know!
Last Wednesday our group looked at the first two passages this way, and tomorrow we’ll look at the third. Then in my next post I’ll list some of what our group found in the process.
(This post is part of a series. See Entering the Most Holy Place: a Study on the Day of Atonement for an introduction and list of posts.)