For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. (Hebrews 8:3 ESV)
A Closer Look
As we’ve gone through the book of Hebrews, we’ve talked about priests quite a bit. Specifically, we’ve talked about the type of priest Jesus was — after the order of Melchizedek — and we’ve compared this to the “former priests” (v. 7:23), who were after the order of Aaron.
But as we’ve gone through our study and gone through details, I have to admit, I’ve had to pull myself back from the details and periodically ask myself questions like, “now what’s the real significance of priests again?” This verse helps us to take a pause and answer that question.
 “For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices…” – If you look up the definition of priest, you may find an answer like “leads religious services.” That may be true in some sense, but if that’s the only way a priest is viewed, a big piece of the picture is missing. The role of a priest includes approaching God on behalf of the people because he has been “appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices.” He must understand the gravity of his role, he must live with the understanding that he is approaching Almighty God, and he represents the people, the congregation, as he offers the “gifts and sacrifices.”
 “…thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer.” – The priest has to not only understand the gravity of his role, he must also bring forth to God something that is worthy of a sacrifice. He must bring something with him that is pleasing to God. The Old Testament Scriptures spelled out the kinds of gifts and sacrifices that were pleasing. Our high priest, Jesus Christ, brought Himself.
Jewish or not and Gentile or not, we all need a priest. We all have a need for someone to approach God on our behalf. We all have the need for someone to approach God on our behalf and to offer an acceptable sacrifice on our behalf.
Today, especially in the United States, we may acknowledge Jesus, but somehow we lose track of the idea that we need a priest. We think we are the ones to approach God and that we are the ones to offer our own sacrifice. This is foolish and stupid and ungrateful thinking.
The only way we are able to boldly approach the throne of grace is because Jesus has gone there first on our behalf. Hebrews 9:14 sums this up well:
 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:14 ESV)
We have a High Priest. His name is Jesus. He has gone before us to approach God on our behalf and to offer Himself as our perfect sacrifice. And because He lives, this work can save us to the uttermost forevermore.
“Thursday Hebrews” is a weekly Bible study series from the book of Hebrews. All Bible quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible translation. You can read all of the posts in this series by clicking here. You can catch up on chapters 1 -7 by clicking here.