Advent Reflections: Week 03
Jesus is the Perfect Priest
The Personal Reflection is geared toward anyone seeking to “stay on track” during Christmas, deepening their understanding of the Advent season and Jesus’ fulfilling of the prophecies about him in the Old Testament.Download Personal Reflections
The Family Reflection is designed for parents to have a tool to engage with their kids in the Bible. It will draw on the key Bible verses and themes of the Advent Series to help parents teach these core truths to their families.Download Family Reflections
Advent Week 03: Personal Reflection
One of the hardest times in my life was shortly after my first daughter, Lucy, was born. A part of me was filled with joy for the blessing she was to me, but there was also this deep feeling of anxiety as well. Being a first time parent is hard, but I had no idea how hard it was going to be on me emotionally and spiritually.
Lucy had colic for the first five months of her life. Night after night was spent swaying my daughter back and forth to try to get her to sleep. These moments were some of the most frustrating moments of my life. My heart’s first reaction was to get angry at her. The temptation to lose my temper and yell was overwhelming. I knew it wasn’t her fault that she cried nonstop. She was figuring out how to do this just as much as I was, and yet I still got angry. I felt like I was the only father who had ever been through this. Not the late night task of getting a baby to sleep, but the thoughts of anger that were running through my head. I felt like a bad parent. I felt hopeless.
When my daughter would finally fall asleep, I remember the feelings of guilt and shame that would come over me and make me feel awful. How could I have lacked so much grace for her? Why did I feel so much anger?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16
How many times have you gone through your life thinking you were alone in your temptations? In Hebrews we see a God who not only sent his son down to die for us, but also to act as our high priest, a high priest who experienced the same temptations as us but never fell into them. The feelings that we experience every day, he too experienced.
So, what exactly does a high priest do? Well, back before Jesus came along, high priests were the “mediators” between human beings and God. Only the high priest could enter the sanctuary and act on behalf of God’s people. This all changed when Jesus came. We now have a perfect mediator. One who is approachable in our times of need.
When I was going through my times of weakness, I thought it would be so much easier if I had someone to sympathize with. Charles Spurgeon has a quote on this very issue:
“Do not imagine that if the Lord Jesus had sinned he would have been any more tender toward you; for sin is always of a hardening nature. If the Christ of God could have sinned, he would have lost the perfection of his sympathetic nature. It needs perfectness of heart to lay self all aside, and to be touched with a feeling of the infirmities of others.”
I don’t think Spurgeon is saying it’s a bad thing to have another sinner to sympathize with, but look at the benefit of having a savior who, by not sinning, can act as our perfect priest. By being perfect in his sympathy, Christ is our best option. Only he can fully understand our weaknesses and our struggles. Does that mean he tolerates our sin when we do fail? No. But, his grace is so sufficient that we don’t need to feel shame when we feel tempted.
Read Hebrews 7:22-28
None of us have it all together. This is the exact reason we need a perfect savior, a savior who humbled himself and came as baby to later die on the cross for our sins. And since we are not perfect, we have needs that can only be met by a sinless savior. Jesus followers have the great privilege of approaching the throne of grace in our time of need.
Personal Reflection Questions
Since Jesus is our high priest, what might you need to confess to him? Use this time to pray.
What does it mean to you that Jesus experienced the same temptations as you?
Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt overwhelmed by the guilt and shame of a certain situation? What was it? How did you deal with it?
The Advent season is a time to reflect and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Take some time to think about how the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus not only affected the whole world, but how it affects you personally.
What can you do today to celebrate your High Priest during this season of Advent?
Advent Week 03: Family Reflection
Jesus is the Perfect Priest
Before Jesus died on the cross, there was a special person, called the high priest, who had to go to God for the people who had sinned. He was the only one allowed to enter the special place and approach God. The high priest brought animals to sacrifice at the temple as a way of apologizing for their sin and getting right with God. The high priest never saw God because he was always behind a special curtain. God’s power was too great for anyone to see! But after Jesus was crucified and made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom.
The curtain no longer separated God from his children! From that point forward, people have had full access to God through Jesus. This means we can go to Jesus anytime we want. Going to Jesus might mean that we talk to him through prayer. We can pray wherever we are, whenever we want. Through prayer, we can thank God for who he is and what he has done for us. We can also ask for help when we need it. Another way we get to approach Jesus is by reading the Bible! The more we read God’s special words, the more we get to know Jesus.
We have a high priest who can feel it when we are weak and hurting. We have a high priest who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. But he did not sin. So let us boldly approach God’s throne of grace. Then we will receive mercy. We will find grace to help us when we need it. Hebrews 4:15-16
Question #1: Have you ever had a person help you with something you couldn’t do by yourself? How did you feel about being helped?
Question #2: How has Jesus helped you recently?