Is Jesus Really All You Need?
What do you need most? An increase in salary? A new laptop computer that’s faster than the one you now have? Greater respect from your peers? A more satisfying sex life? Would it strike you as hyper-spiritual and unrelated to the most pressing needs of your daily existence if I were to answer that question by saying: What you need most is Jesus Christ as your high priest. Continue reading . . .
What do you need most? An increase in salary? A new laptop computer that’s faster than the one you now have? Greater respect from your peers? A more satisfying sex life? Would it strike you as hyper-spiritual and unrelated to the most pressing needs of your daily existence if I were to answer that question by saying: What you need most is Jesus Christ as your high priest. Yet, that is precisely what we read in Hebrews 7:26 – “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”
The translation at the beginning of this verse isn’t the most helpful and I sense that it fails to communicate the force of what our author is saying. I would render it something along the lines of: “For it was appropriate for us to have a high priest” like Jesus, or it was “suitable” or it “perfectly meets the needs of people like us” to have Jesus for a high priest.
This is nothing short of profound when you think through the implications. He’s telling us in no uncertain terms that this is what we need. Jesus Christ in his capacity as our high priest is the perfect answer to whatever questions we might ask. Whatever is required for you to experience maximum satisfaction and joy in life now and hereafter, Jesus acting on your behalf as your high priest will supply it. Jesus as high priest, and Jesus only, will do for you what you most need but not necessarily what you most want.
You and I were created for a purpose. We are not a random collection of molecules formed through endless ages of evolutionary development. We exist for a reason, with a goal lying before us, and Jesus as our high priest alone will make it possible for us to reach it and to fulfill it. Jesus alone is suited and is appropriate for the task of helping us enter into the deepest and most lasting enjoyment of the ultimate reason for which God created and redeemed us.
Is this not the sales pitch for virtually every product on the market? Whether it’s a new car, a faster computer, more fashionable clothing, a more promising career, or a more attractive companion, this world wants you to believe that it can provide what is most “suitable” and “appropriate” and “fitting” for your soul. But there is in fact only one thing you absolutely must have: Jesus Christ as your faithful and merciful high priest!
This being true, be assured that the world, the flesh, and the Devil will do everything possible to convince you otherwise. Don’t believe their lies! Ignore their promises! They provide at best temporary relief and only passing pleasure and will eventually destroy you.
There’s only one thing you need to trust: Jesus Christ as your faithful and merciful high priest and the once-for-all sacrifice of himself on your behalf. Consider how the prophet Jeremiah warned the people of the 6th century b.c. about this very thing:
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jer. 17:5-8).
So pause for a moment and think deeply and honestly on this question. God is saying to you and me in this passage that there is only one thing that is “fitting” and “suitable” and “appropriate” to the needs of our souls: Jesus Christ as our great high priest. Here is what that means.
Do you need cleansing of your conscience from the guilt and shame of a rebellious life that was devoted to sinful self-indulgence?
Do you need a sacrifice to be offered up on your behalf to bridge the gap between you and God?
Do you need a hope for the future that will never disappoint, the sort of hope that will energize you in the present moment and sustain you in the difficult days that lie ahead?
Do you need a friend who will never cease to pray for you, a friend who will never berate you or betray you or ridicule you or make fun of you or let you down?
Do you need to know you are genuinely and eternally loved and cherished even when everyone else abandons you?
Do you need to be useful in a cause or a ministry that will produce something of everlasting value?
No one can meet the genuine needs of your heart and mind and body and emotions except for Jesus Christ as your faithful and merciful high priest. A lot in this world can satisfy those numerous superficial needs you think are essential for your happiness. In fact, our entire society depends for its very existence on convincing you that you need something more than and other than Jesus Christ and what he does for you as your merciful and faithful high priest.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in Christian churches who actually look to some religious leader or spiritual celebrity or perhaps their Pastors and their Elders, to fulfill this role that only Jesus can. And then when that man or woman fails, they are shattered. We are being inundated today with moral failures and financial scandals. I’ve made a pledge to the people at Bridgeway that I will walk in sexual purity and financial integrity. By God’s grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit I’m committed to fulfilling that promise to them until the day I die. But they should never put their trust in me. Jesus alone merits their trust, and yours.
While preaching through Hebrews I’ve said this repeatedly to our church: I’m not your high priest! I and the other Pastors and Elders at Bridgeway are just like the priests of the Old Covenant: we are weak (7:28) and mortal (7:8, 23) and in need of a sacrifice for our own sins (7:27).
Yet, some of the people in our fellowship are actually tempted to live their spiritual lives vicariously through me. Some of them think: “If Sam studies the Bible, I don’t need to. The only thing that’s important is that I can tell people I attend a church where the Bible is studied and understood and taught. That will suffice for my spiritual needs.” No it won’t.
Or they think: “I don’t need to share the gospel with my non-Christian friends and co-workers. Andy Edwards is our pastor for missions and evangelism and he does enough of that to suffice for my spiritual welfare and to fulfill my obligations.” No, he doesn’t. The fact that your Pastor or an Elder or your community group leader prays and presses into the heart of God and pursues the gifts of the Holy Spirit is not a substitute for you doing so yourself. There is only one high priest and his name isn’t Sam. It’s Jesus.
So, the point of these opening words in v. 26 is that there is only one who suits the needs of your soul; there is only one who meets perfectly every need and every cry of your heart; there is only one who is appropriate to your predicament, and his name is Jesus.