Text: Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:1-10
“For we do not have 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 sin.”
– Hebrews 4:15
“So when we come to pray to the heavenly father, we are not shouting across a great gulf. We are not trying to catch the attention of someone who has little or no concern for us… We may and must come boldly and confidently. This isn’t arrogance. Indeed… the real arrogance would be to refuse to accept his offer of standing before the father on our behalf, to imagine that we had to bypass him and try to do it all ourselves.”
- NT Wright
The thing that surprised me most about the ICU wing of the hospital — in the weeks and months we spent there when my father was ill — was the camaraderie of the place. In the elevator and the hallway, at the Starbucks kiosk or the information desk, there was an unspoken understanding extended from one person to the next. That waiting room is another world, and the people there just get it. They know the battle you’re fighting because they’re fighting it, too.
I won’t speak for you, but I personally tend to imagine Jesus’ obedience came easy. He was fully God and fully man, right? I try to read these verses with an open heart, but I end up playing the God card in my skeptical mind. Of course He didn’t give into temptation, I think. He was God. How could He?
But whether or not I fully comprehend it, Hebrews 5 clearly tells us otherwise.
Jesus’ obedience came with tears. It came with desperate prayers and cries for relief. Although he was a son (God’s son!), he learned obedience through what he suffered (v8). It says so right there on the page.
Learning implies coming to know something that was not known before. It implies practice. It implies process. This was no Matrix situation; Jesus did not retrieve instant obedience simply by virtue of being God’s son and calling on the boundless power at His disposal. He forfeited that to be with us, to be one of us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
You know the special bond you feel with someone who has walked the same road as you, experienced the same disappointment, suffered in the same way you’ve suffered? It can make you feel safe, at ease, willing to be open and vulnerable and just you because they get it. They’ve been there, too.
Sister, Jesus knows the battle you’re fighting. He doesn’t just know you’re fighting it; He knows it because He’s fought it, too. He fought it before you and for you. And HE is the very one who sits at the Throne of Grace, ready to receive you and me, just as we are.
You can come to Him as your full self today — not your half self, your filtered and edited self, not the cleaned up version you want the outside world to see. You may think you have to be someone else for them, but with Jesus you only have to be you.
Beautiful daughter of the Most High Priest, your tears are welcome at the Throne of Grace. Your questions and hopes and hurts are welcome before your King. It is not the throne of condemnation and He is not a merciless dictator. Jesus is your advocate, your Brother — and He sits ready to receive you even now. Go.