Read: Hebrews 4:14—5:10

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

In Jesus’ day, the Hebrew people were looking for a Messiah who would be a conquering hero, not a suffering servant. However, for those of us who believe, having a high priest who knows our pain, understands the challenges of our lives, and can empathize with the burdens we carry is indeed a saving grace. Jesus is a Savior, because he understands our plight. Jesus knows brokenness. Jesus is familiar with temptation. Jesus can sympathize with those of us who live in fear and are afraid of death. Because our high priest and judge understands our lives, we should have no hesitation in approaching his throne. Grace resides in the presence of Jesus, because Jesus knows what it is like to have to live in a sinful and broken world. If Jesus did not understand us, then that would be cause for great fear and trepidation. But Jesus knows what it is like to be disappointed by followers and friends. Jesus knows what it is like to be wrongly accused and unfairly convicted. Jesus knows what it is like to have God remain silent in a moment of great trial. Jesus lived and died in our world, and he chose to return to us out of love . . . love for God and love for us. Trusting in such faithfulness, how can we not approach his throne of grace with some degree of boldness? Jesus is a sympathetic priest who is ready to forgive us before we are even aware of our need for pardon!

Has a sympathetic priest or pastor or person of faith ever been gracious to you beyond your expectations?

Lord, knowing the thoughts that run through my mind and the actions of my life, I don’t think I could bear standing in Your presence. I do not possess boldness when it comes to our relationship. I feel hesitant, not believing myself worthy of relationship with You. And yet, scripture urges me to trust in Your grace. You who called Judas a friend and forgave Peter his denial and returned to the disciples who deserted You will likely be just as gracious and forgiving of me. In Your name, I hope and pray. AMEN.