Andrew Murray: Let Us Draw Nigh!
A Great Priest over the House of God
10:21-22. And having a great Priest over the house of God; let us draw near.
We said before that in the symbols of the Mosaic worship there were specially four things that, as types of the mystery of the coming redemption, demand attention. These are—the Sanctuary, the Blood, the Way into the Holiest, the Priest. The first three, all heavenly things, we have had; we now come to the fourth, the chief and the best of all—a living Person, Jesus, a great High Priest over the House of God. The knowledge of what He has won for me, the entrance into the Holiest; of the work He did to win it, the shedding of His blood; of the way in which I am to enter into the enjoyment of it all—all this is very precious. But there is something better still: it is this, that the living, loving Son of God is there personally to receive me, and make me partaker of all the blessedness that God has for me. This is the chief point: we have such a High Priest, who sat down on the right hand of the majesty in the heavens. Wherefore, brethren, having a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near.
And what is now the work we need Jesus to do for us? Has it not all been done? The Holiest is opened. Boldness through the blood has been secured. The living way has been dedicated to carry us in. What more is there that Jesus has to do for us? Nothing more; it has all been finished, once and for ever. And why is it then we are pointed to Him as the great Priest over the house of God? It is because, above all, we need Himself, the living Jesus, to make that work all life and truth in us, yea, Himself to be its life and truth in us. And what is it we may expect of Him? What we need, and what we must look to Him for is this, so to work in us that the work He has done for us may be made real within us, as a personal experience of the power of an endless life in which He was constituted Priest. Because He lives ever, we read, He is able to save completely. Salvation is a subjective, experimental thing—manifest in the peace and holiness of heart He gives. We, our life, our inner man, our heart, our will and affections, are to be delivered from the power of sin, and to taste and enjoy the putting away of sin as blessed experience. In our very heart we are to find and feel the power of His redemption. As deep and strong as sin proved itself, in its actual power and its mastery within us, is Jesus to prove the triumph of redeeming grace.
His one work as Priest over the house of God is to bring us into it and enable us to live there. He does this by bringing God and the soul into actual harmony, sympathy, and fellowship with each other. As Minister of the sanctuary, He does all that is to be done in heaven with God; as Mediator of the new covenant, He does all that is to be done here on earth, in our heart; the one as effectually as the other. The two offices are united in the one great Priest; in each act of His He unites both functions to the soul that knows what to expect and trusts Him for it. Every movement of Jesus on our behalf in the presence of God can have its corresponding movement in the heart of man.
And how is this effected?—In virtue of His union with us, and our union with Him. Jesus is the Second Adam; the new Head of the race. He is it in virtue of His real humanity, having in it the power of true divinity that fills all. Just as Adam was our forerunner into death, and we have all the power of his sin and death working in us and drawing us on, so we have Jesus as our Forerunner into God’s presence, with all the power of His death and His resurrection-life working in us, and drawing and lifting us with divine energy into the Father’s presence. God has no delight in a fellowship with anything but the image of His Beloved Son.
There can be no true worship or drawing nigh to God except as we are like-minded to Christ, and come with His spirit and disposition in us. And this is now His work, as High Priest bringing us nigh to God, that He breathes His own disposition in us, and we draw near to God, in living union with Him. Yes, Jesus, with His divine, His heavenly life, in the power of the throne on which He is seated, has entered into the deepest ground of our being, where Adam, where sin, do their work, and is there, unceasingly carrying out His work of lifting us heavenward into God’s presence, and of making God’s heavenly presence here on earth our portion.
And why is it we enjoy this so little? And what is needed that we come to its full enjoyment? And how can Jesus truly be to us a great High Priest, giving us our actual life in the Holiest of All? One great reason of failure is what the Epistle so insists on: our ignorance of the spiritual perfection-truth it seeks to teach, and specially of what the Holy Spirit witnesses of the way into the Holiest.
And what we need is just this, that the Holy Spirit Himself, that Jesus in the Holy Spirit, be waited on, and accepted, and trusted to do the work in power. Do keep a firm hold of this truth, that when our great High Priest once for all entered the Holiest, and sat down on the throne, it was the Holy Ghost sent down in His power into the hearts of His disciples, through whom the heavenly High Priest became a present and an indwelling Savior, bringing down with Him into their hearts the presence and the love of God.
That Pentecostal gift, in the power of the glorified Christ, is the one indispensable channel of the power of Jesus’ priesthood. Nothing but the fullness of the Spirit in daily life, making Jesus present within us, abiding continually, can keep us in the presence of God as full experience. Jesus is no outward High Priest, who can save us as from a distance. No, as the Second Adam, He is to us nowhere, if He is not in us. The one reason why the truth of His Heavenly Priesthood is so often powerless, is because we look upon it as an external, distant thing, a work going on in heaven above us. The one cure for this evil is to know that our great Priest over the house of God is the glorified Jesus, who in the Holy Spirit is present in us, and makes His presence and power in heaven by the Holy Spirit to be as real within us here as it is above us there.
He is Priest over the house of God, the place where God dwells. We are His house too. And as surely as Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He moment by moment ministers in the sanctuary within. Wherefore, brethren, having—not only in gift, not only in the possession of right and thought, but in our hearts, in our inmost being—having a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near. Let Jesus Himself on the throne, in His power and love, be the one desire, and hope, and joy of our hearts. He will maintain His work in us as wonderfully as He has accomplished it for us.
1. Having a great Priest! You know a great deal of Jesus, but do you know this, that His chief, His all-comprehensive work, is to bring you near, oh, so near, to God? Has He done this for you? If not, ask Him, trust Him for it.
2. It is Jesus Himself I want. Himself alone can satisfy me. It is in the holy faith of Jesus, the compassionate sympathizer, in the holy love of Jesus, who calls us brethren, that we can draw near to God. It is in a heart given up, with its trust and love and devotion, to Jesus, that the presence of God will be felt.
3. We have such a High Priest! Yes, say, I have Him; in all His power and love He is mine; and yield to Him to do His work. He abides continually: therefore we can abide continually too in the blessed life, in the secret of God’s presence.