“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
There is a fantastic new ad campaign running in various markets across the country right now called, “He Gets Us.” Its goal is to get people interested in Jesus. Actually, it goes beyond that. People are generally interested in Jesus. People aren’t interested in the church, but they don’t connect the two like they should. That’s often the church’s fault. This campaign aims to address that. And this is a good thing too, because Jesus is someone worth being interested in. The writer of Hebrews offers us some really powerful reasons why. Let’s take a look at this together.
This short passage starts out with a “therefore.” That means the author is explaining and extending something he said before this. Let’s take just a second and find out what this therefore is there for. Last week, we worked through most of the first part of Hebrews 4. The author there was continuing his analysis of Psalm 95 that began back in chapter 3. The focus in the first part of chapter 4 was the importance of our entering into God’s eternal Sabbath rest by our faithfulness to Christ. The challenge ended with a reflection on the power of the Scriptures to help hold us accountable to that faithfulness.
By the time you reach the end of that particular line of argument, it can feel a bit like you’ve been drinking from a firehose. There’s a lot there to try to apply to our lives. Or, to mix metaphors on you, it can feel a bit like you’ve been punched in the gut. We need to be faithful today and not put it off until tomorrow. And we need to submit ourselves to the Scriptures so they can help with the task.
That’s a lot to try to take in at once. How are we really supposed to do something like that? If we’re being honest, sometimes it feels like we fail at the task more than we succeed. There are days we make some positive strides forward, but then we hit a wall or trip over our own spiritual feet, and suddenly we’re back where we started. If faithfulness is the goal – if indeed perfection is the goal – then after a while we start to wonder why we are even trying in the first place. Who can manage to keep with such a challenge? Why would God set something like this before us in the first place? Was this just a way for Him to be cruel? Here’s a standard that will guarantee you my rest…good luck meeting it.
Yet such a thing does not fit with the revealed character of our God. He has never been one to call us to something and then not make a way for us to get there.
And this case is no exception to that rule.
The author of Hebrews says “therefore.” Because of this incredible challenge to faithfulness and the unyielding, sometimes intimidating, standard of the Scriptures we have to meet, let us hold fast to our confession. That is, since we have this great challenge to remain faithful, let’s remain faithful. Done and done. Right? Not so fast. I left out something rather critical.
He says “therefore” and immediately follows that with “since.” In other words, in light of all of that and because we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. Is this starting to click a bit more for you? We are called to hold fast to our confession precisely because we have this incredible help in Christ. He is our great high priest. He is the one who stands in between us and God, actively interceding on our behalf. He is playing both sides of the field. To the Father He is passionate in our defense. To us, He is both challenging and encouraging.
And how can He do all of this? Because He knows what we go through. He was tempted and tried just as we are. He struggled and strove. He faced persecution and hatred and betrayal and abandonment. He knew weakness and relied on God the Father for His strength. He had a complete and total experience of humanity. He was human in every way. This all means that He understands us. As the ad campaign puts it, He gets us. And because He gets us so well, He can help us effectively. He knows just what to say to God to secure our pardon. He knows we struggle with faithfulness and reminds His Father that He died to pay the price for the fruits of our struggles. And, on top of all of this, He loves us. He loves us so much He was willing to lay down His life so that we might have ours.
And because we have this intercessor who is so committed to us and so uniquely perfected for His position, we have another “therefore.” “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness.” We can go boldly to God because we have Jesus standing in the way. He’s not standing in the way to block our path, but to help us along “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”
Jesus gets us. And because He gets us, He can help us. More than that, He wants to help us. He wants to help us get to God and enjoy that rest He’s been preparing for us since creation was complete. As a result, let us pursue faithfulness with conviction and courage. With His help, we will receive the object of our aim.