Articles‎ > ‎

Jesus, a “Forerunner For Us”

posted Sep 22, 2012, 8:59 PM by hbchurch org   [ updated Sep 22, 2012, 9:01 PM ]

Hebrews 6:20 says that, “...Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchize-dek.” The simple definition of forerunner is “one who runs before.” Without a careful examination, one might think this is just another way of saying that those who go to heaven will be following His lead. But if we dig a little deeper we can learn and appreciate much more about His role as our high priest.


   The word translated forerunner in this verse appears only once is all of the N.T. Even though there were other men in the past who were leaders or predessors (Moses, John the Baptizer, et al), only Jesus could be called a forerunner in the sense of His unique role as H.P. Students and scholars of the original language (here it is Greek) have made some interesting and instructive obervations about this word. Take note of the following:

“Jesus has gone into the inner shrine behind the curtain ‘as a forerunner’ on our behalf …”  (Exegetical Dictionary of the N.T.)


“Jesus has gone in there as the forerunner ‘on our behalf’ Heb. 6:20. In rendering prodromos in Heb. 6:20 it is important to avoid an expression which would suggest that Jesus simply 'ran on ahead.' The implication of prodromos in this type of context is that of a precursor, that is to say, one who goes on ahead in order to show the way or to pioneer on behalf of someone else. Heb. 6:20 may therefore be rendered as 'Jesus went on ahead of us in there for our benefit.'”  (Louw and Nida Grk-Eng Lexicon)

“...the formally surprising prodromos, which thus far is not attested elsewhere in this context, was chosen with care. This forerunner is deliberately not called ‘our forerunner’ but the forerunner ‘for us.’”  (Theological Dictionary of the N.T.)

   Donald Hagner’s comment in his commentary on Hebrews captures the intended force of the figure in these words: “… ‘forerunner’ (prodromos) ...conveys the idea not merely of one who precedes, but one who prepares the way by the work he accomplishes, making it possible for others to follow (note: on our behalf)…”


   All that Jesus both did and does is for our benefit (on our behalf), and as our Great High Priest we have confident assurance that He can help us persevere. Praise His Holy Name!  kd