Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister, LHBC
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
Back in the Old Testament God divided His people into 12 tribes, one of which being the Levites. The Levites were one of the most important tribes in all of Israel because they held the responsibility of leadership for the Jews. This is the tribe where religious authorities came. They were divinely assigned to be caretakers and overseers of the tabernacle as well as the ones responsible for furnishing it. This is also the tribe where all priests came from, the individuals that held responsibilities in the people’s public worship. This responsibility acted as their inheritance, so where other tribes received land, the Levites were not allocated specific territories. The Levites instead were distributed throughout the land in forty-eight cities. Of these forty-eight cities, six were designated cities of refuge.
According to Mosaic Law if an individual committed murder they were to be put to death by the hands of an avenger, a family member charged with avenging the victims death. If the death committed was accidental or unintentional the offender could retreat to one of the six cities of refuge and find safety until the case could go to trial. If at the trial the murder was deemed unintentional, the attacker would be permitted to stay in the city of refuge safely until the death of the high priest. Once the high priest died the attacker could return to his home. If the attacker left the city of refuge before the death of the high priest, however, the avenger would have the right to kill him.
In Hebrews chapter 7 we see Jesus referred to as the Great High Priest, the priest that is not bound by death but holds the position permanently. In a perfect picture of the good news of the gospel Jesus becomes for us that City of Refuge. Sinners seek refuge in Jesus from the destroyer of our souls. Just like in the Old testament where the guilty sought refuge in a city set aside for that purpose, we can flee to Christ to escape the condemnation from the law.
The key difference between the Old Testament cities of refuge and Jesus Christ, our person of refuge, is the trial that we face. In the Old Testament asylum seekers had to argue their case and prove their innocence. But when we run to Jesus He argues our case for us and takes the punishment that we deserve. The good news of the gospel changes heaven’s courtroom from a criminal trial to an adoption ceremony, and only Jesus can do that. To Him alone we must run. And just as the cities of refuge were open to all fleeing for safety, Jesus Christ offers safety and forgiveness to all those that come to Him seeking refuge from sin and death.
Have you come to the City of Refuge? If not, do so today! Put your faith in Christ Jesus, the perfect High Priest who takes away the sin of the world and offers refuge to the broken! And if you have placed your faith in Christ Jesus, who are you inviting in? Let’s go today and share that great news of refuge offered only from Jesus to all those we meet!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, You alone can break the chains of sin and death. I pray that the message of the gospel, the message of You our Great High Priest, is forever on my lips! Lord, open my eyes to those around me who need to know of the City of Refuge that is only found in You! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.