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. 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. 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. –Hebrews 4:14-16
It was not until I was in seminary that it occurred to me that Jesus is still a human being. He is fully and gloriously human right now this very minute. He did not stop being human at his death to return to a spirit-state. Think of it: he rules the world right now as a human king!
This is important because he represents us before the Father and he isn’t peering down from a great high place having to demean himself to care about us poor creatures. He can truly sympathize because he became one of us, he’s been here, and he knows exactly what it’s like.
The passage above says that as our “great high priest” he “has passed through the heavens”. That means that he has died and been raised from the dead, exalted, and ascended through the different layers of the heavens right to the heart of God. In his eternal rest, he is very active in his father’s inner courtroom to represent us and intercede for us. Let us hold fast our confession!
And so when we pray, we are not having to garner the attention of someone who is indifferent or unable to relate to us. Instead, we can draw near with confidence through Jesus to “receive mercy and find grace” in our time of need, which is pretty much all the time. What an offer! And that’s the gospel!
Come hear it preached and enacted in the Supper this Sunday!