We are at the half-way point! I first want to congratulate you for getting this far! But we are not done. Over the course of the past 4 weeks, we have learned a lot about the love God has for us. But there is more to learn!
Please stay with me on this journey as we will continue to look at the mighty ways in which God loves us! As we close out week 4, our scripture takes us to Hebrews. I like the NIV, The Message, and The Voice, so let’s look at all three today side by side.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 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. 15 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.16 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. (NIV)
The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain
14-16 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. (The Message)
14 Since we have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God who has passed through the heavens from death into new life with God,let us hold tightly to our faith. 15 For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. 16 So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. (The Voice)
The Voice offers a nice observation with these verses: By God’s word, everything finds a rhythm, a place. It fills, empowers, enlivens, and redeems us. But it also divides and destroys. It pierces and exposes our disobedience and unfaithfulness.
Let’s also look at the NIV Study Bible Notes for these verses, because they also give a great observation of what Jesus did, how he felt, but the difference in the what He did and what we do.
4:15 tempted in every way, just as we are. See 2:18. The author stresses the parallel between Christ’s temptations and ours. He did not have each temptation we have but experienced the whole range of our temptations. yet he did not sin. The way in which Christ’s temptations were different from ours was in the results—his temptations never led to sin (see Mt 4:1–11 and notes).
As tempted as Jesus was, he still experienced a wide range of emotions – emotions you and I feel all the time. But Jesus did what we cannot…He did not sin! And because of that, we were saved by His death. If that is not love by the Father, then I don’t know what is. Can we love like this? Not now, but I believe in the new world and following the return of Jesus, we will be able to love like this. But until then, keep the love of God in the fore front of your mind. It will make you stop and really think how you are treating (loving) others.
I don’t know about you, but after 4 weeks of this study, I have strongly been convicted of what I expect from God, and what I freely give to others like God does. Yikes…it’s not even close. I expect everything from God, but I decide who is worthy of my love. Thing is, by doing that, I’m claiming I’m bigger than God, and that I am more powerful, and that I know best. What right do I have to even beginning to think I can pick and choose, especially since God has never said one personal in all of time isn’t worthy…it is us that make that choice by going against God.
Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner. And I know I am in need of grace and mercy. I know that this is a free gift from You, and yet I also know that I abuse this gift by judging others to determine whether they are worthy of my love. Forgive me Lord for I am so wrong to think I am above You, or that I know better than You, or that someone is not worthy of my love. You’ve loved me unconditionally as a sinner and gave me the ultimate gift of the death of Jesus in order to secure my salvation, yet I don’t always act appreciative or show my love for what You did. Lord, help me to always remember that I am no better than anyone, and that if I refuse to give my love to another child of Yours, that I am simply turning my back on You. Help guide me to always see how important Your love is and that without I have no chance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.