For we have not 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 sinning. 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. (Hebrew 4:15-16)
One of the first times I really heard this passage, several things about it struck me as completely perfect for my life in that moment. And even if I don’t remember the specific state of my life, I am able to point to several parts of this passage that have a perennial blast of truth.
Lately, I’ve been feeling my weaknesses. Honestly, I probably haven’t even acknowledged the full depths of my weaknesses, but I see parts of them and that is enough. It isn’t in just one aspect but in several aspects that I feel a weakness that can only be remedied with the strength of Christ. Yet so many times I do not let Him give me that strength. Instead, I wallow in my weaknesses.
But the beauty of it all, despite my wallowing, is that Christ sympathizes with my weaknesses. He understands the beautiful-awfulness of being human because He is one. And if we are prone to believe He doesn’t quite understand our temptations or failings, the book of Hebrews is there to correct our misunderstanding. He sympathizes. He understands. He never sinned, but He understands how we fall into sin. He “in every respect” has experienced temptation, but in every respect He has remained true and faithful, unlike us. In short: He gets it and that is such a relief.
Knowing this about Jesus we can “with confidence” go to Him. He knows and understands our weaknesses and He does not wish that they should be a barrier, a separation between Himself and us. Despite this giant difference between Christ and me, He wants to bridge the gap. So we are drawn to Him. And Hebrews emphasizes that it is not that we are drawn near to cower in fear or receive harsh punishment. Instead, we “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” He knows our predicament and He desires to help us. What a beautiful gift and grace that is! Like a father who desires to help remedy his child’s problem, like a teacher who desires to show the correct answer, like a doctor who wants to replace infirmity with health, Christ desires to meet us in our affliction and grant wholeness.
The words of Sacred Scripture, written hundreds of years ago, are still alive and filled with a powerful truth that can convict, challenge, inspire, fill with hope, and grant grace and peace. It is truly the Living Word of God. It sets free, binds up, and heals. It is the mercy of God, written out and passed down through the ages.