1996-06-13 - Our Highest Priest
Hebrews 4  For we do not have a high priest who can not sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
This is one of the most well-visited verses certainly in the book of Hebrews. But I was struck freshly by several points.
Most of us know and have a great appreciation for the way Jesus and the Father have chosen to workout our salvation. The Son put on human flesh and 'dwelt amongst us'. The phase literally means to 'tabernacle' with us. The tabernacle was a temporary tent that served as the Temple. What an amazing type of the incarnation, the earthly life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus knows our temptations, since He personally experienced them. 'Yet without sin', since He had no sin nature, the power of sin was unable to take hold. Sin had no power over Him. We still struggle against the flesh even though we may count it as dead. We live in the new life that Christ has given us, and yet our flesh literally wars with us for control. We have glimpse of the true reflection of Christ we would all like to provide, and at other times we stumble and fall...hard. When we see it happen to others, I pray we can remember the last time we fell, and show the compassion that person is desperately needing. Jesus did.
Verse 16 just blows my mind. 'Let us therefore draw near...', WOW. The Creator of the Universe, and every tiny cell will allow me to slip quietly into His presence. More than that, 'with confidence to the throne of grace'. We can enter the throne room of God, knowing that we have His favor. To enter the earthly throne rooms of earthly kings without the king's direct invitation could mean death, and yet the King of Kings makes no such dictates. He desires to spend time with us, to show us the magnificent things He has in store for us in His creation and in His word.
'That we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need'. We are told that the hairs of our heads are numbered. Care in such intimate detail is just mind numbing. We hardly begin to get our finite minds around the concept. Many have probably read the story entitled 'Footsteps,' where Christ and one of His children walk by the seashore. If anyone has a copy of this short work, perhaps they could share it. Mercy is simply not getting the punishment we deserve. We, on our own, have earned the punishment of Hell and eternal separation from God. But Christ has taken our punishment for us, WHILE WE WERE STILL HIS ENEMIES. An old hymn comes to mind that starts "And this is love, that I have first loved you." Grace is the undeserved reward given to someone. Christ literally took our old, devastated lives and gave us His perfect, sinless, matchless life. Love heaped upon love. And by this, He has opened a narrow way by which we can be saved from what we deserve.
Lord, help us to reach out and take hold of the depth and awesome power that is harnessed on our behalf. If we can take that deeply to heart, it can change our lives and make the difference that the world is seeking. Thank You for not giving up on us and starting over, but standing by Your promises. Help us to take advantage of the special times of fellowship that You often provide. Amen
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.