Our High Priest

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Nearly 400 years separate our written accounts of the Old and New Testaments, but history documents that time marches forward, empires rise, and leaders fall. In Luke 1, we meet one of the men who wore the priest title first appointed to Aaron and his sons. Although not a High Priest, Zechariah was set apart as a mediator, burning incense in the Temple of the Lord, and “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statues of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). 

Despite God’s silence during these four centuries, Zechariah continues to enter the temple with expectations and prayers to communicate with his Creator. One day God breaks the silence, and Zechariah’s human frailties surge to the surface. He stood fearful and doubted the veracity of the news he not only longed to hear but what the world needed to hear. In turn, silence fell upon him.

Nine months pass while life unfolds around Zechariah. While he could not talk to his wife, neighbors, or friends, he could freely commune with God. In the silence of those confined months, Zechariah’s heart is tuned to the Lord, and when the time came to speak, he no longer doubted the power of the Lord. Rather “his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God” (Luke 1:64).

God’s mercy reaches through Zechariah’s silence. His own righteousness is not enough, confirming it is not by our effort that Christ came for us, rather because of God’s nature to save us. Jesus fulfills the role of High Priest when Zechariah and his ancestors could not. He offers Himself once to satisfy the justice for mankind, allowing us the opportunity of perfect communion with God. When salvation is swaddled in a manger, He could fully empathize with our weaknesses. It is here His strength is made known.

There is a collective weariness and anticipation as we call out and wait for God to speak. What is our response when God responds in a way we did not design? I hope our hearts mirror Zechariah’s: even when uninvited conditions surround us, praise falls from our lips.

By Bethany Taylor

Bethany has been calling Immanuel Baptist her church home since 2014. A graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, she is an obstetric nurse here in Lexington.

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