“Therefore, 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.” Hebrews 4:14-16
There are a number of texts in the Bible that, regardless of how many times you read them, you are always surprised with joy and new insights. Hebrews 4:14-16 is one of those texts for me because of the richness of its message.
The text begins with reminding us Jesus, the Son of God, is our great high priest and He has ascended into heaven. The implication is clear; in order for Jesus to have ascended into heaven He must have been resurrected. This becomes part of the faith that we must hold onto and profess. Jesus who lived and was crucified by the Romans, on the third day, was resurrected and ascended into heaven as our great high priest.
The high priest of the children of Israel interceded for the people before God, first of all in the wilderness sanctuary, and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. But Jesus is our high priest in heaven and lives to make intercession for us before the Father.
And what a high priest we have in Jesus. He understands us and knows our weaknesses and failures because He also has been tempted in all things just like us. But, the difference between Him and us is that, when He was tempted, He didn’t give in and sin while we do constantly. Any one of us who thinks they are striving towards perfection should simply sit down and rethink their last 24 hours.
Because Jesus is our great high priest and intercessor we may approach the throne of grace with confidence. Wow and double wow! What an amazing life altering thought is manifested in this truth. Until the death of Jesus the high priest of Israel could only enter into the presence of God once a year on the Day of Atonement. He would go through the curtain that hung separating the Holy and the Most Holy in order to offer sacrifice through the blood of a lamb for the redemption of the people. But now we may enter into the very presence of God because Jesus has torn down the veil that separated us from God.
That is why we may come with confidence into the presence of God. We come with the assurance of salvation and knowing that the Father accepts us because of Jesus blood that was shed at Calvary and now covers all our sinfulness.
And what is it that we find at the throne of grace? We find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Notice, the text calls God’s throne a throne of grace. Grace has been described as simply the giving of unmerited and unearned love. When we picture God, that is what we need to remember. And because of this grace we have new confidence in our salvation. We have assurance because Jesus has said over and over throughout the Bible, “whoever believes in me shall have eternal life.” And it is in Christ our great high priest that we receive help, mercy, understanding, assurance, comfort, peace and grace to help us in our times of need.
Jesus is our all and all. He loves us unconditionally and never abandons us or forsakes us. He is the great God of relationships that longs to be our friend once again. He has accomplished everything to make it possible for us to come home again and abide with Him in the safety of His love and forgiveness.
The Gospel is so simple when we open our hearts to it. Revelation 3:20 tells us, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone should hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.”
Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks. The Holy Spirit whispers in our ear “go ahead and answer.” We have free will and must decide whether to open the door and allow Jesus into our life or to keep Him out. But, if we open the door and invite Him in we will never be the same. He will eat with us and we will eat with Him. We will have fellowship and friendship with God and the result will be that we may always come to the throne of grace with confidence when we are in need because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that grace through the love of God flows out to us from that throne.
We have nothing to fear when we are trusting in Christ for our salvation. We don’t have to strive, work and struggle to be good enough because we will never be good enough. Instead we put our trust in the goodness of God and the love of Jesus our great high priest who loves us unconditionally. We have absolute assurance according to Hebrews 4:14-16 that we are safe in the arms of God.