Jesus: Apostle and High Priest
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus. Hebrews 3:1 ASV
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God (as an apostle), and went to God (as a high priest). John 13:3 (ASV)
In John Chapter 13, it is easy to miss the significance of the simple phrases: come from God and went to God, and how these phrases relate to the apostleship and priesthood of Jesus. Literally, the word apostle (ἀπόστολος) means “one sent forth” (ἀπό, apo, from; στολος, stello, to send). Thus, an apostle is a person who is sent as a messenger or delegate to represent someone. In the case of the Lord Jesus, He was sent from God to proclaim His good news to sinners who are lost and without hope in this world. In contrast, a priest is someone who comes to God on the behalf of a person or persons.
In John’s Gospel, chapter 13 and verse 3 represent a turning point. In the first twelve chapters, we have Jesus coming as an apostle from God to man. But, here Jesus sets aside His role as an apostle and takes up His role as priest.
As our priest, the first thing he does is wash our feet. Here we are viewed as having our bodies already washed and cleansed from our sins. However, as we travel life’s journey our feet become defiled from the evils of this world. As a result, since our bodies have already been cleansed, we need only to have our feet washed.
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. John 13:4-5
In John Chapter 14:2-3, Jesus tells us that His departure to heaven is necessary for Him to prepare our heavenly abode. We are promised that we will have His peace while He is away. In Chapter 15:26, we have the promise that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will be sent to be with us during His absence. Chapter 16:13 instructs His disciples that He will send the Spirit to guide them into all truth. In John Chapter 17, we have the Lord’s Prayer in His role as our faithful high priest.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee. John 17:1
In verse 11, Jesus prays that His own are kept in unity while they are in this hostile world.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. John 17:11