The cross of Christ is essential to the Christian faith. No question about it (1 Corinthians 1:18). But there’s another aspect of the Christian faith that is as essential as the cross. So essential in fact, the work of Jesus upon the cross depends upon it as much as it depends upon the work of Jesus on the cross. What is it? It’s Jesus’ service as our High Priest!
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; … But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. … For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” (Hebrews 8:1-3; 9:11-12, 24 – NKJV)
The Christian faith is built upon Jesus being the sole High Priest who represents our soul before the presence of the heavenly Father.
Fulfilling the types and shadows of the past, Jesus not only embodied the essential essence of the Lamb of God whose blood redeemed us from sin, he also fulfilled the essential essence of the one whose responsibility it was to present such a sacrifice to the one with whom we must give an account to (Hebrews 4:13). Were it not for the blood of the Lamb there would be no perfect sacrifice to present; but were it not for the presentation of the sacrifice the benefit would not be enjoyed.
Just as the steps of the sacrifice offered under Moses’ Law had to be completely played out in order to please God (from the altar in the court-yard all the way into the tabernacle’s Most Holy place), Jesus secured our salvation by paving each essential step of the way, all the way from Calvary into Heaven itself, with his blood (Hebrews 5:8-9).
We may not think about it as much as the cross, but Jesus’ heavenly service as the church’s High Priest is down-right essential to the Christian faith!
“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” (Hebrews 7:23-28 – NKJV)