When I proposed to Langley, I gave her a beautiful diamond ring. During our engagement, I would occasionally catch her just staring at it on her finger, turning it ever so slightly to see ever cut, every sparkle of light.
Advent gives us the chance to gaze intently at Jesus; to see all the amazing facets of who he is and why he came. The Book of Hebrews presents a unique facet of Jesus’ identity as the perfect high priest. As modern followers of Jesus, it can be difficult for us to appreciate what this means. For the Jewish people, the high priest was central to their worship and way of life. He offered gifts and sacrifices on their behalf at the temple. He was the mediator between God and the people. God would come in judgment because of the sins of the people and the high priest would stand in their place, offering sacrifices that satisfied God’s justice and demonstrated His mercy by punishing an innocent animal in place of a guilty human being.
Hebrews 9 tells us that the role of high priest in the past was pointing to the ultimate high priest, Jesus Christ. Jesus, God in the flesh, is the perfect mediator between us and God who offered Himself for our sins once for all. There is no longer need for the sacrificial system because Jesus death permanently satisfied God’s justice and demonstrated His mercy by laying our punishment on Jesus at the cross.
Jesus, the ultimate high priest, came to offer is life as a sacrifice and shed his blood for us so that we might be forgiven our sin and set free to love and serve God forever.
— David Cumbie
Jesus’ role as high priest leads us to the cross where he offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the whole world. Imagine the cross looming over the nativity scene of Jesus as a baby. How might this change the way you think about Christmas and Jesus’ birth?
1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Try to memorize this verse and repeat it to yourself during Advent. Ask God to use it to remind you of his love for you and to help you love others sacrificially during this Advent and Christmas.
*What does the word sacrifice mean? Can you think of an example of sacrifice?
What is the greatest sacrifice Jesus made for you and me? Why did he do it?
**Spend some time thinking of a tangible way you can demonstrate the love of God as a family to someone in your neighborhood this Christmas by imitating his sacrificial love. Pray and ask God to bring to mind someone that really needs to know God loves them this Christmas.