November 22, 2020. Day 327: A high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.

Hebrews 4:14-16. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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.

How do you approach God? Or maybe the better question would be, DO you approach God?

Do you see yourself standing across a wide chasm, yelling for God, hoping he might here you? Or maybe you see yourself standing in a long line waiting your turn to get an audience with the King. Or maybe you think you can only approach God in a church building, in your “Sunday best,” and only after you’ve confessed all your outstanding sins. Or maybe you’ve simply given up on approaching God. You’ve simply stopped striving to enter his rest (day 326).

There is no greater spiritual blessing shared with us in our union with Christ then this – we can with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Because of our union with Christ we have access to the glorious God of grace and mercy. ALL. THE. TIME. No time limits. No scheduling. No waiting. No delays. No prerequisite confessions. No offering required. No gifts to bring. And absolutely no chance of rejection. Why? Because we are IN CHRIST!

But let’s back up a step. Because what the author of Hebrews is showing us is that we can experience the gracious presence of God, not only because we are joined to Christ, but because first Christ was joined to us. And he still is. Jesus is still a man. And that’s good news.

Many Christians struggle with the idea that Jesus is still human. They see the incarnation as only applying to Jesus’ time here on Earth. It would seem that when Jesus ascended back into heaven he would shed his human “shell” and return to his pre-incarnate state without a body, and even without his humanity. But this is not the case (in fact it’s a heresy). Jesus remains a man. A human sits on the throne of Heaven. The only faithful human who ever lived. The only person ever to be without sin. Jesus the human is our High Priest. He is one of us.

The Cosmic Man: 1959 cult classic. Skip ahead to the last 5 minutes to see the connection to Jesus.

Our union with Christ and Christ’s union with humanity has the greatest of implications.

Our union with Christ – because we are found in Jesus, the one eternal man who was faithful to God, we too are now judged as faithful to God. His record has become our record. In Christ, we too are counted as without sin. We too have passed through the heavens to the right hand of the Father. We too are seated in the heavenly places, crowned with glory and honor. Amen!

Christ’s union with humanity – Jesus eternally remains one with his covenant people. He is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters (2:11). Because “he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source” (2:10). Now we are met with the deepest of compassion from our high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, one who in every respect has been tempted as we are.

Jesus’ “sympathy” for us is far more than a psychological response to seeing some poor soul who is hurting. Like when we see starving children in the TV commercials. The word sympathize actually means to literally feel what we feel. On Earth, Jesus has felt our pain in suffering, sorrow, and temptation. But, even now, he still feels it with us in Heaven. Christ is suffering together with us. If we stub our toe, Jesus feels it. If we are shamed, he too feels the humiliation. If we are burdened, he places himself under the weight. If we are torn apart by trials and temptations, he rushes in to be torn in two once again for us. As one spirit with us (1 Cor. 6:17), he is experiencing all that we experience when we experience it. And he longs desperately to bring relief. Help in time of need.

Oh what grace. What mercy. What comfort, peace, and joy it is to know that we worship a God who is us. Who is so in love with us that he would want to feel all that we feel. Each sorrow. Each pain. Each temptation. Each shame. And then gently remind us that he still loves us anyway. No matter what.

Now we can draw near to God with all the confidence in the world, knowing that we will only be met with grace and mercy. Never judgment or condemnation. Never rejection or retaliation. Only the very real active help in time of need of knowing that our salvation is secure, our future is with God, and our present is “to live is Christ.”

You

How do you approach God?

You in Christ

How does knowing Christ is one with us give you the confidence to run to God?

Christ in you

What grace and mercy do you need from God today? Will you run to him?

Playlist: Christ Our High Priest

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