Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. That’s why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was. (NIV)
Metaphors matter. How we view, imagine, and picture God influences the way we live.
Recently, I met with a young man who was severely distressed, depressed, and had attempted suicide several times in the past several months. After listening to his story, I asked him a question: “How do you see or picture God?” Without hesitation, he answered, “God is my CO (Commanding Officer).” He went on to portray and picture General God who gives commands and of good soldiers who obey what’s expected of them.
As a soldier, you would never walk up to your CO and vent all your feelings. You wouldn’t have a dialogue. There would be no extended conversations. In the throes of trying to deal with emotional trauma, General God isn’t a metaphor that’s helpful.
Today’s New Testament lesson reminds and invites us to consider Jesus, the Son of God. Christ is pictured as our great high priest. A priest is a person who intercedes for you with God. He stands in the gap and effectively communicates your needs, desires, and feelings to a gracious and loving God.
When you are too emotionally tired to face another day, Jesus our great high priest, has our back and is graciously present with us.
Soldiers don’t have confidence to approach General God with their abject weakness or their ongoing temptations. There is only the giving and receiving of orders and strategies to be implemented. Far too many Christians have such an understanding of God and think there is something wrong with them when they cannot live up to be the kind of soldier that would make others proud.
Grace and mercy, however, are found through the confidence of approaching our great high priest. It is Jesus who thoroughly, completely, and mercifully has a first-hand understanding of what you are dealing with and is able and desirous to help.
As our permanent high priest, Jesus is uniquely positioned to hear us, empathize with our situation, and care for us in ways which truly aid us.
It’s easy to get discouraged. It takes no effort to find yourself on the outside of happiness and on the inside of a black hole. Living in this broken world can sting and hurt like hell. Yet, we have a Savior who has brought deliverance from hell by taking on hell itself. Jesus, the pioneer of our salvation, knows better than anyone what brokenness feels like. Christ absorbed all the sin of the world on the cross.
Jesus is presently, this very moment, sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven, awaiting your approach with merciful eyes, a compassionate heart, and listening ears. Jesus is our risen and ascended Lord. Christ is so much more than a military officer. Jesus is our ample and able great high priest. He is awaiting you now….
Ascended and living Lord Jesus, you are my colossal high priest. You live to intercede for me. What a privilege! May you strengthen my nascent faith today and bolster my confidence as I consider your grace and mercy in this messed-up world. Thank you for your kindness, empathy, and ability. Amen.