Hebrewsby Robert M. Solomon
Like Adam and Eve after they had sinned, all human beings stand exposed before God. Instead of running away and hiding from Him in shame, we can make a better response. We can approach His ″throne of grace with confidence″ (Hebrews 4:16), simply because of what Jesus has accomplished for us. Jesus is thus the ″great high priest who has ascended into heaven″ (v. 14). There He continues His high priestly ministry by representing us before God the Father. He is our Advocate (1 John 2:1), occupying the most privileged seat in heaven, at the right hand of the Father, and interceding for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). It is astounding that the Son of God (Hebrews 4:14) is our Advocate and Intercessor!
Not only do we have the best ever High Priest, He also has perfect empathy towards us. He is able to ″to feel sympathy for our weaknesses″ (Hebrews 4:15) because He was tempted in every way-and was yet without sin. His endurance was ″more . . . than ordinary human suffering″, simply because He never sinned even though He was fully tempted.16 Those who give in to temptation (most of us) do not know what it takes to endure fully. Only the sinless ″can experience the full intensity of temptation″.17 When we appeal to Him in our suffering and trials, He looks at us with understanding eyes, and we can know that His heart is with us.
It is for this reason that His throne is where we ″receive mercy″ and ″find grace″ (Hebrews 4:16). The Jewish readers of this passage would have remembered the mercy seat (on the ark of the covenant) in the old tabernacle, where God met with their sinful forebears through the blood of sacrifice that was sprinkled on it (Exodus 25:21-22). Now, through the sacrifice of Jesus, we can also approach God's mercy seat in heaven to receive mercy (not receiving the punishment that we deserve) and grace (receiving blessings we do not deserve). We are urged to ″hold firmly″ to this faith centred in Christ (Hebrews 4:14).
16Bruce, Epistle to the Hebrews, 86.
17Stedman, Hebrews, 62.
We have in Jesus the best High Priest, one who has the highest seat in heaven, has empathy for us, and offers mercy and grace. Think about what this means for you and turn it into prayer.
Is there any struggle in your life that you are facing alone, unable to obtain understanding and empathy from others? Bring it to Jesus, your High Priest, Advocate, Intercessor, and Friend.