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Jesus, the Great High Priest - Weekday Worship

The first weekday service plan in a series on Hebrews, focusing on Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest who mediates the New Covenant.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The first service of this series focuses on Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest who mediates the New Covenant. Although this is a broad theme which focuses on both Christ's act of salvation through his suffering on the cross and his ongoing mediation, it is the main theme that runs through the whole book of Hebrews. Here are some selections from Hebrews which serve as key texts for these themes:

Christ as the Great High Priest
Hebrews 1:3
Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Hebrews 10:19-25

Christ as the Mediator of a New Covenant
Hebrews 8:6-7
Hebrews 9:11-15
Hebrews 12:24
Hebrews 13:20-21

* * * *

Gathering Music: "Prince of Peace" (The leaders are singing while others enter) copyright 1994 by Marc Imboden, available through CCLI

God's Greeting from Revelation 1:4b-5 (NRSV)
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Song: "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" PsH 487, RL 364, TH 647

The Prayer for Illumination

The Reading of Hebrews 4:14-5:10


Prayer (adapted from one composed by a student)

Christ Jesus, you are the great high priest. You have gone before us and opened up a way for us to follow, and because you are our high priest, we are able to enter into the presence of the Father. Thank you for coming to earth and experiencing temptation and suffering far more than we experience so that you could intercede for us. We ask you, O high priest, to intercede for us now as we bring our requests before the throne of grace.

We pray for many in our community. We pray for those who are sick, for (names).. Give them perseverance and patience and health. There are those in our community who are mourning. We pray for the families and friends of (names). Lord, this loss of life is difficult to understand, and we pray that you will show your face to those facing loss. Give them comfort and faith.

We thank you for our families. ..

We also pray for the body of Christ beyond this community.

Throughout the world, your people are suffering. (Pray for countries in crisis; eg, We ask for protection for the Christians in Haiti who are being targeted. Keep them safe, bring the violence in Haiti to an end and bring stability to that country. We pray for peace in the Sudan, O Lord. We also pray for your intervention in the AIDS crisis in Africa. Give wisdom to relief workers and governments as they look for ways to combat AIDS. We pray for strength and endurance for the victims of the hurricane in the Caribbean. We pray especially for the family of Asher Mains in Grenada, as they continue to pick up the pieces after the hurricane.)

For all of these and others who are experiencing illness, grief, and harm, please hear our prayers of intercession.

Thank you for everything that you have blessed us with in this place, dear Lord. The changing colors of fall remind us of how magnificent a creator you are, and we praise you.

We give thanks for all of the opportunities to learn and to grow, for professors who care about us and who love you, for dorm experiences and off-campus experiences, for the relationships we build here.

We thank you for those serving you in leadership and ask for your blessings upon their work. Thank you for all the other opportunities Calvin offers us, from music to athletics to worship and beyond.

Most of all, we are grateful that we have been reconciled to you, O God, through the death of Jesus Christ, your Son. We rejoice that he went to the cross for us, rose again, and is now before your throne in heaven above, pleading our cause and leading us to righteousness. In his most precious name we pray, Amen.

Song: "Before the Throne of God Above" (available on CCLI website, with license)

Parting Words: Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Message Notes:

For the message, we suggest that you develop the idea of Christ's High Priesthood, noting that he is given that description in Hebrews 4:14. From Hebrews 5:1-10, you can explain that this is a divinely given role as High Priest-not something he took on himself (5:4,5) but a role to which he was called by God (5:4-6) and for which he was qualified by his obedience (5:7-10). After having explained the foundation of his priesthood, you can return to chapter 4 and show the resulting benefit of it: We can hold firmly to the faith we profess and approach the throne of grace with confidence (4:14-16).

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America;
Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

If you prefer a theme song or hymn that can be a constant for the entire series, we suggest two possibilities:
"Since Our Great High Priest Christ Jesus" PsH 230
"Before the Throne of God Above" (available on CCLI website, with license)

Additional songs and hymns that fit well with this service:
"Alleluia, Sing to Jesus" PsH 406
"Amazing Grace" PH 280, PsH 462, RL 456, RN 189, SFL 209, TH 460 TWC 502, UMH 378
"And Can It Be" PsH 267, RL 451, RN 193, TH 455, TWC 473, UMH 363
"By the Sea of Crysta" PsH 620, TH 549
"Hail the Day" PsH 409, RL 331, TH 290, TWC 258, UMH 312
"In Christ Alone" (copyright 2002 Thankyou Music, available through CCLI)
"Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" PH 376, PsH 568, RN 196, RL 464, TH 529, TWC 558, UMH 384
"My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less" TWC 517
"Now Behold the Lamb" SNC 144
"O For a Thousand Tongues" PH 466, PsH 501, RL 362/363, RN 32, SFL 19, TH 164, TWC 130 UMH 57
"Savior Like a Shepherd" PH 387, PsH 591, TH 599, TWC 522, UMH 381
"Since Our Great High Priest Christ Jesus" PsH 230
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" PH 403, PsH 579, RL 507, SFL 52, TH 629, TWC 622
"What Wondrous Love" PH 85, PsH 379, RN 277, SFL 169, TH 261, TWC 212, UMH 292
"When Peace Like a River" PsH 489, TH 691, TWC 519 UMH 377