Sunday, July 28, 2019

Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:14-5:10

 We continue with our focus on Hebrews. So far, the author of Hebrews has shown that Jesus is more than a Prophet and more than the angels. He is our brother, and he claims us all as his sisters and brothers. That makes us brothers and sisters of each other, as well as of Jesus. Since we are siblings, we are urged to heed the words of the Prophets and take good care of each other.  

The image in Hebrews this week is that Jesus is a great high priest. This is the group in charge of temple worship. It was the responsibility of the high priest to oversee the sacrificial rituals at the temple.

High priests and other priests of Jesus’ time often sought the position, not out of a sense of calling, but out of a desire for power and wealth. Just like people today, they could be obnoxious about their power and resistant to those who threatened them. They are portrayed as full of themselves and gloating with their power.

On the other hand, Jesus was declared the high priest because of his sacrifice on our behalf. He suffered and died so that we all could know we will live after we die.

Jesus is a high priest who rejects power and wealth in favor of obeying God. The throne Jesus sat on is not a fancy chair but the back of a donkey. He went from there to the cross, and his final resting place was a tomb that couldn’t hold him. Now, his throne is at God’s side, and in our hearts, at the same time.

Jesus knows how it feels to be human. Jesus has lived the full range of emotions; he has been a child, a teenager, a student and a teacher. He has a different view of women and children than others because he pays attention to everyone.

He knows health and illness and disability, wealth and poverty. As he spent time with people, we can see that unlike the other high priests of his time, he is more like a pastor, showing compassion and grace, forgiveness to all, even to those who will betray him and execute him.

We can approach his throne with boldness, knowing he will accept us as we are. Jesus’ throne is not a piece of gold furniture, set high on a dais. Jesus’ throne is wherever we need him to meet us. At the kitchen table, in a restaurant booth, in the car, on a church pew, on a park bench. We can dare to tell Jesus anything, our fears, our worries, our anger, our frustration, and even our joy. Jesus will not reject us, will not condemn us. He will not shame us for what we tell him.  

Jesus the high priest comes to us with love and humility, and a true understanding of what it is like to be human. When we approach Jesus, for any reason, we will be met with God’s heart, full of love and grace, acceptance, forgiveness.

I wonder where you will meet Jesus this week. Where will his throne be in your life? Will you boldly tell him what is going on in your heart? Will you trust him with your deepest secrets? Hint: he already knows, and he encourages you to talk with him about them.