The world feels like it is spinning out of control and the ground beneath us feels like shifting sand. Who has the answers? How do we manage life and maneuver new routines being confined to our houses? Listen, there is no easy answers or formal script. We are living in uncertain days not knowing what to do and asking, “How long O Lord?” So, we must turn out hearts to God and hold on to Jesus.
EXAMINE Hebrews 4:14-16 3 reasons to hold on to Jesus…
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 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.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
We must hold fast to Jesus because of His identity. (Hebrews 4:14)
In the OT, the high priest was important. He mediated between God and humanity. In our culture, we know little of a high priest. Instead our mediators to make sense and categorize our worldview are talk show hosts, news media, even entertainers and athletes. Many are seriously troubled because of how much media they are currently consuming inside their homes, and then facing awareness sports are postponed indefinitely. So, our high priests are insufficient… and the same was true of the OT high priest.
- OT high priest was imperfect. He was a sinner before God, needing to offer sacrifices for himself.
- OT high priest was inadequate. He offered sacrifices repeatedly and could never offer full forgiveness.
- OT high priest was incomplete. Sacrificial system pointed to the Messiah (Isa 53).
- Jesus’s priestly work is infinite. He alone is the “great” high priest. Every other high priest lived and died for another to become high priest. But, Jesus lived, died, and rose again – “He passed through the heavens.” Jesus is alive and His priesthood will never stop and endures forever.
- Jesus’s priestly work is intimate. While every other high priest served God, Jesus was the Son of God and the second member of the Triune God. The priestly work of Jesus enables us to be identified with God as one of His children – sons and daughters of God.
- Jesus is the architect of creation and therefore in control of our every circumstance. Our current circumstances are reminding us how much we are in control, which is not very much. We are not in control of who gets the virus, when our children will return to school, how many different stores we must visit before we find tp, or so many other circumstances. But Jesus is in control and we can trust His sovereign care.
- Rest in Jesus… the safest place is to trust in Jesus who is preparing an eternal hope and home for us. Don’t let fear and panic rule your life, let faith and preparation. Walk in wisdom and live in trust of One who is trustworthy. In a word: “breathe.” Breathe in God’s presence, God’s power, God’s goodness and grace, and God’s care for you.
Psalm 55:4-6, 16-17, 22 “My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest… But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice… Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
We must hold fast to Jesus because of His empathy.
- OT High priest was impersonal. He could not sympathize with people because he had no answers.
- Jesus is personal. Jesus endured our struggle and faced sin temptations but did not fall. Jesus was tempted to worship
- comfort and pleasure (Matthew 4)
- covet the power of the Pharisees, tax collectors, wealthy individuals, or Roman Governors
- conflict with parents how and when to develop his career path (Luke 4; Jn 2).
- complain when foolish disciples were slow to learn or failed to provide support (Mat 8:26; 26:40)
- crow and boast rather than serve (Mk 10:45)
- cave to women who wiped his feet or clung to him (John 12; 20:17)
- counter revenge against wrongful accusations and murder (Luke 23:34)
- Jesus knows the battle of temptation and passed every test. Therefore, Jesus does not roll His eyes in annoyance or ignorance of what we are facing. He can relate to us and offer us help in navigating the storms and struggles of life.
- Hebrews 7:25 “He always lives to make intercession for us.”
- 1 Cor 10:13 “He will provide a way out.”
- Look for His ways.
- God speaks through His word, so we must open and read it.
- God speaks through His people, so we must listen for those He sends to us.
- God speaks through circumstances, so we must be attentive with His wisdom to make decisions.
We must hold fast to Jesus because of His invitation.
In light of having a great high priest in Jesus, we have an invitation like no other.
- We can be tempted to feel trapped, but do not be tricked.
- We can drown our distress in earthly comforts and sensual pleasures, but we should not compromise for items that promise to please but fail to fulfill.
- We can be tempted to feel isolated or abandoned, but do not believe those lies.
Instead, the author of Hebrews exhorts readers in the plural – “Let us…” The implication is that faith in God unities you with a church family. If you have faith in God but say, “I don’t need church” then you have misunderstood faith and the gospel.
Further, the invitation is to not live in compounded panic but confidence in God.
- παρρησία = plainly, publicly, boldly
- This season is revealing the fragility of life and systems, the vanity of our priorities for what truly matters, and the reality that our world needs divine intervention. All of us have limitations and weaknesses. All of us have a level of stress and concern for what we are facing. Our hearts need help. And help and hope are available in Jesus Christ.
We can approach the throne of grace – not wrath, judgment, indifference, or detachment. The Creator of Heaven and Earth cares for you. God loves you with a never-stopping, never-giving up, unbreaking, always and forever kind of love. We approach God by His mercy not our merit.
When we pray to God through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive
- Grace: Getting good that you don’t deserve.
- Mercy: Not getting what you do deserve.
- Help: God gives us the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Comforter (Jn 16:7).
- God’s help is sometimes yes, sometimes no (because He knows best), and sometimes not yet.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 “pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
One of the things that is going on now is community helping each other. My neighborhood – Chartridge – has been helping in all sorts of ways.
- Decluttering with toys, puzzles, sport items, etc. to share or sell with others.
- Neighborhood scavenger hunts
- Decorations to support Healthcare workers (pink heart)
- Offers to pickup RX, grocery store items, TP!!!
You gotta know someone who can get you the inside track on TP around here.
We have a connection of the highest degree who can get you an insurmountable treasure – His name is Jesus. With Jesus, the supply line of life, love, grace, forgiveness never runs empty.
- His death on the cross paid fully and finally for your sin. There is nothing left for you to pay but to show gratitude in trusting His words and following His way.
- His resurrection life gives us the confidence that we never have to fear any disaster, disease, or even death. There is eternal joy before us.
- His gospel gives us the Holy Spirit to walk beside and sustain us in every step we take. We are not alone.