Oprah, Our Great High Priestess
This week is when Lance Armstrong is going to meet with Oprah and confess that he took performance enhancing drugs while professionally cycling. What is this? When did Oprah become America’s high priestess to whom all must confess their sins? Further, why is the person “forgiven” after appearing on her show? Go on the show, sit on the couch, shed some tears, tell the country why your life has been difficult, wait for Oprah to give an approving nod, the audience applauds, and all transgressions are forgiven. How did we come to this point in our society? What power does Oprah have that by going on her television show absolves oneself of immorality? Watching this should cause rational human beings to consider the ridiculous nature of this regular phenomenon. Why would confessing sins to Oprah mean anything? She is a human just like us. She has sins just like us. She is not perfect. Is it just because she has a television show? Lots of people have had and currently have television shows. Yet Oprah is the priestess and her television show is the altar.
What we fail to recognize is that we have an innate sense of right and wrong given to us by our Creator God. When we break our conscience, we feel like we need a way to redeem ourselves. Some seek redemption through social justice. Some try to quell their conscience through drugs and alcohol. Others ignore their conscience long enough until that moral compass become quiet and broken. But there is something in us that compels us to find forgiveness. We need someone to tell us that what we have done is okay. However, no human can do that. We can make ourselves feel better by finding other people who have committed the same transgressions. So we start all kinds of anonymous groups so that we can quiet our consciences by knowing that other people have the same struggles and failures. Why being around other people with the same failures makes us feel better is lost upon me. Confessing my sins to another person full of sins does not fix anything and does not make me feel any better. Great, you are bad as me! So both of us are miserable in our brokenness. This is why even a church community is completely useless without Jesus. Joining ourselves to people who are broken just like us and are seeking redemption is pointless unless there is Jesus, the perfect one who can offer redemption and restoration.
Only Jesus can act as high priest for the world because he is the only one who is not in this current sinful condition. Oprah needs a high priest to confess to just as much as the rest of us. To confess to her is illogical and senseless. We need someone who can do something about our sins. We need someone who has the power to forgive our sins, not just “feel our pain” and commiserate with us. We need someone who can cleanse our consciences from the guilt we feel from our sinful behavior. We need someone to tell us that we are okay and restored and those words actually be effectual. It is not enough to tell me, “It’s okay.” I need proof that it truly is okay, otherwise those are empty, hollow, hopeless words that provide no comfort.
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)
Jesus is the only sinless sympathizer who can give grace and mercy to all of us who need it. We confess our sins to Jesus because he is the only one who can forgive us and restore us. Jesus can tell you your sin are okay because he died for you.