Note from Jesus
Dear Beloved Sibling,
Yes, I know some of you who read this have trouble thinking of Me as your older brother. Through the Father's grace, that is Who I AM to you. I taught My disciples to pray to "Our Father..." (Matthew 6:9). As My beloved writer of Hebrews emphasized in the verses you will read today, My disciples are also My "brothers and sisters." You have been born into My family (John 3:5-8). I "took on flesh and blood" and lived among you, as one of you so you could be part of My family.
My concern was not for My comfort and prestige. My focus was not on any heavenly messenger or angel. My concern was for you. My focus was on those I wanted to become My brothers and sisters. I came to honor the Father and to "destroy the one who held power over death." I came to free you from fear. I came to share your world. I came to assure you that you could come to the Father through Me and always "find mercy and grace to help when [you] need it most"!
I AM your great High Priest. I not only offered a sacrifice for you, but I offered Myself as the once-for-all-time atoning sacrifice for your sin. I brought "reconciliation" between you and the Father.
I AM your great High Priest. I AM now "approaching God on behalf of" you.
I AM your great High Priest. I AM acquainted with "suffering." Like you, I also offered up "prayers and pleas, groans and tears" to the Father.
As your great High Priest, I can promise you these things:
- You don't have to fear death. I have conquered death and the devil who uses it to wound and maim and destroy.
Your sin is forgiven. You stand before God as righteous and holy.
You can be sure that I can help you when you are tested. I was tested as you are, yet I did not sin.
When you are facing trials and temptations — even if you succumb to these temptations and sin — you can come with confidence to the "throne of grace." You can come confidently knowing that you will "find mercy and grace to help when [you] need it most."
Today's readings come from chapters 2, 5, and 4 in your book of Hebrews. I have put them in this order so you can have a deeper appreciation of what it means for Me to be your merciful and faithful High Priest! Read these passages in this order several times. The first time, jot down all I did and endured to experience mortality. You can be confident that I understand human weakness, not just as God the Son Who is omniscient, but as a mortal man, God in human flesh. Now, when you read through these verses again, jot down all that they mean for you as you approach the Father seeking grace.
It only makes sense that God, by Whom and for Whom everything exists, would choose to bring many of us to His side by using suffering to perfect Jesus, the founder of our faith, the pioneer of our salvation. As I will show you, it's important that the One Who brings us to God and those who are brought to God become one, since we are all from one Father. This is why Jesus was not ashamed to call us His family [His brothers and sisters], saying, in the words of the psalmist,
I will speak Your Name to My brothers and sisters
when I praise You in the midst of the community.
And in the words of Isaiah,
I will wait for the Eternal One.
Look, here I am with the children God has given Me.
Since we, the children, are all creatures of flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood, so that by dying He could destroy the one who held power over death — the devil — and destroy the fear of death that has always held people captive.
So notice — His concern here is not for the welfare of the heavenly messengers, but for the children of Abraham. He had to become as human as His sisters and brothers so that when the time came, He could become a merciful and faithful high priest of God, called to reconcile a sinful people. Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested.
The job of every high priest is reconciliation: approaching God on behalf of others and offering Him gifts and sacrifices to repair the damage caused by our sins against God and each other. The high priest should have compassion for those who are ignorant of the faith and those who fall out of the faith because he also has wrestled with human weakness, and so the priest must offer sacrifices both for his sins and for those of the people.
When Jesus was on the earth, a man of flesh and blood, He offered up prayers and pleas, groans and tears to the One Who could save Him from death. He was heard because He approached God with reverence. Although He was a Son, Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. And once He was perfected through that suffering He became the way of eternal salvation for all those who hear and follow Him, for God appointed Him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 5:1-3; Hebrews 5:7-10)
Since we have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God Who has passed through the heavens from death into new life with God, let us hold tightly to our faith. For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most.
Response in Prayer
O Father God, I cannot fully understand the complexities and deep truths about Your identity as Father, Son, and Spirit. However, I can understand this: You are God. You loved me so much that You became my God Who is near and Who understands. You are God Who has not only created my mortal flesh but also lived in it. You are God Who has promised to be near, merciful, and gracious. You are God Who hears when I cry out in my struggles. So I come to You now and lay my burdens, my fears, and my brokenness before you. I pour out my soul's cry to You. In Jesus' name, I thank You and pray to You. Amen.