Messianic Jews 4:14-16
Letter to the Messianic Jews
In my last post, I concluded this topic of rest by examing Messianic Jews 4:11-13. We now begin a journey from Messianic Jews 4:14 thru 7:28 discovering how Yeshua is superior to the Aaronic Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood was well known to the readers of this letter. They were highly respected in the Jewish community. In this post, we learn that Yeshua Is the Way to approach God.
“14 Therefore, since we have a great cohen gadol who has passed through to the highest heaven, Yeshua, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we acknowledge as true. 15 For we do not have a cohen gadol unable to empathize with our weaknesses; since in every respect He was tempted just as we are, the only difference being that He did not sin. 16 Therefore, let us confidently approach the throne from which God gives grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:14-16 (CJB)
In my last post, we learned that the author of Messianic Jews left his readers terrified of God’s judgment. Now he reassures them that even though Yeshua will one day be our judge, now He is our intercessor and advocate (Messianic Jews 7:25, 1 Yochanan 2:1). Here we are to come to grips with the great characteristic conception of Hebrews that of Yeshua as the perfect cohen gadol. His task is to bring the voice of God to humanity and to usher humanity into the presence of God.
The subject of Yeshua as cohen gadol was introduced at Messianic Jews 2:17. Here the author recapitulates what he said in 2:5-18, namely, that Yeshua had a human nature exactly like ours, enabling him to empathize with our weaknesses, the only difference between Him and the rest of us being that He did not sin. His readers understood that their earthly cohen gadol was also a sinner just like themselves. He had to atone for his own sins before he could offer the sacrifice for theirs.
In every respect, He was tempted just as we are. Yochanan calls the basic three kinds of temptations “the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life” (1 Yochanan 2:15-17). Adam and Eve succumbed to them in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), whereas Yeshua resisted them when the Adversary tempted Him (Matthew 4:1-11).
Because we are His, united with Him, we can follow Him; and with Him, we can confidently approach the throne from which God gives grace. This may be an implied contrast with the mercy seat of the Tabernacle and Temple here on earth, which only the Levitical cohen gadol could approach.
Many Jewish people feel distant from God and His throne; this is often due to an overemphasis in some forms of Judaism on God’s perfection. New believers are frequently amazed to experience God’s warm and loving nearness. They find that God’s love is not merely an abstract phenomenon without relevance to their hearts’ needs. Like Moshe and Avraham before us, we can experience God’s mercy and grace.
As Yeshua, Himself said, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?” ~ Yochanan 11:25-26 (CJB). Therefore because He is our cohen gadol as well as our future judge, let us approach the throne to find grace in our time of need.
In my next post, we’ll examine Messianic Jews 5:1-10 to learn that Yeshua Is God’s Appointed High Priest.