Jesus, A High Priest Who Offers Rest to Believers

Hebrews 3-4


3:1-6 | The Rest Available to the Believer
3:7-11 | God tested by the Jews in the wilderness
3:12-16 | Our Compassionate High Priest

4:1-13 | Don’t come up short!
4:14-16 | Turn to Jesus, our High Priest, with confidence


There is much that could be written about Jesus as our High Priest who not only makes intercession for us, but who also offered a rest to those who persevere in believing faith that is not available to those who choose not to believe.  The rest is experienced on two very distinct levels: temporal and spiritual.

We can experience temporal rest, in our present physical human state of being by understanding that the rest is not achieved by the works that we do.  In other words we can’t earn the rest, it is offered to us simply for believing.

So how does that give us rest though?  Because we don’t have to earn it, we don’t have to live always worrying whether or not God is happy with us or if He still loves us—He just DOES!  If we don’t have to worry about that, it frees us to help people and to live to please God, not out of fear or just a sense of duty, but for the pure joy of it.  God knows that we aren’t going to do everything perfectly and there are things that we will fail at or won’t be able to do.  However that doesn’t mean that God loves us less.

When we choose to help someone, we do it not out of obligation, but out of a sincere desire to help them.  When we attend a church service, read/study the Bible, give to support a special cause, do a good deed for someone, etc., we don’t have to do it out of obligation but just because we want to, besides that is how God created us in the first place.  Consider the following.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

God frees us through the gift of grace through faith to do the very things He created us to do so that we could do them with pure motives and not out of obligation.  This temporal rest also prepares us for the spiritual rest that is to come.

There is a spiritual rest that is experienced in this temporal rest, but the greater spiritual rest is still waiting for us in the future when we enter heaven, where God give the greatest rest of all, eternal life in His presence.

So remember the Hebrew author’s exhortations.

Hebrews 3:12-13 NASB Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 4:11-16 NASB Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Lord God, You offer us a rest that is incomparable to anything we can imagine in this present life, yet You offer it as a gift of grace through faith in Your Son Jesus, our High Priest, who offers intercession on our behalf.  While we can experience a small glimpse of this rest now, we also look forward with joy the that final rest that is to come in heaven.  For this and the many other blessings that You give us each day, we are truly grateful.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Additional Reading Material

Morton, Scott. Tired of Do-List Christianity?: Debunking the Misconceptions That Hold Back Spiritual Growth and Steal Your Joy. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1576837962

Hebrews 3 & 4 - Jesus, A High Priest Who Offers Rest To Believers
Hebrews 3 & 4 - Jesus, A High Priest Who Offers Rest To Believers
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