Christ the High Priest
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.Hebrews 2:17
One of the most beautiful things that happened because of Christ being born on this earth is His position as our High Priest. The high priest in the Old Testament was responsible for overseeing the Temple and the activities therein. However, his most important responsibility was performing the sacrifice for the Atonement of Israel’s sins. Each year, the high priest would enter the most holy place in the Tabernacle (and eventually the temple) to present a sacrifice on the altar to cover the sins of the nation of Israel. The high priest would also present sacrifices throughout the year and intercede on behalf of the people of Israel.
Christ is our High Priest. This alone is an amazing thing to say. He is the one that is seated at the right hand of the Father as our representative and intercedes on our behalf.
However, what makes this especially beautiful and relevant to the Christmas season is the sacrifice that Christ presented to God on our behalf. Christ was born into this world as a man under the Law. He did so that we could be adopted as sons and daughters. In this act of being under the Law, Christ made himself culpable for the punishments of the Law as well. Even though Christ was perfect and committed no sin, 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that he became sin on our behalf. He took upon himself the punishment that we deserved. He became guilty in the eyes of the Law of God. Because of that, those in Christ are now considered righteous and innocent before God. Christ presented himself as the sacrifice to make propitiation for the sins of his people. Propitiation means that he atoned for our sins. He made them as if they never happened. He was born so that he could one day present himself as a sacrifice to the Father on our behalf so that we may become righteous sons and daughters in the eyes of God.
This season, let us remember why Christ was born all those years ago. Let us celebrate the atoning sacrifice that he has given to us. If you have not known Christ as your High Priest, then you too may know His grace if you place your faith in him.