Saturday, March 30, 2013

Believe As He Did

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
-- Hebrews 4: 14-16

On Holy Saturday we could be caught up in the colorless sanctuary and the institutional encouragement within our denominational boundaries to not read any gospel passages today in order to abide in the abandonment of Christ in death and to not dare speak an Alleluia short of midnight Sunday morning.  Well, whatever brings you closer to Christ.  If it simply makes you more religious, abandon such prescribed practices.  If it brings you into a deeper encounter with the God who has not abandoned you, go for it.

I read from the Daily Office this morning Hebrews 4: 14-16.  It caught me.  Our great high priest knows what it is to experience weakness and to be tempted and to not sin.  Alleluia! (Oops)  So, approach the throne of grace boldly and find mercy and grace in our time of need.

He knows what it is to be weak and suffering and abandoned and hurting and lacking because of what it is to be human and to be dead.  He knows what it is to be tempted and did not sin.  Yea, we could reference sin as sex outside of marriage or abortion or cheating on taxes or stealing or murder, etc.  I don’t think this is the point from all of Hebrews 4.

Hebrews 4 and 5 speaks of entering rest with God by trusting him.
While the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest . . .
-- Hebrews 1: 1-3a

We who believe enter that rest.  Jesus experienced weakness and testing but did not sin.  Jesus didn’t doubt what was to be done through him.  He said he was to be raised from the dead on the third day and all who believed in him would also know resurrection life.  The temptation was to doubt, especially knowing death on Holy Saturday.

Our temptation in light of Hebrews 4 is to doubt God, to doubt that God knows what it is to go through what you’re going through in this season.  Lay hold of the confession that he is our great high priest who knows what it is to be like us in our testing, to not believe God the Father.  He did not sin by doubting.  He now invites us to come boldly into the throne of grace trusting that a way has been made for us.  He invites us to come to the throne of grace and find help in our time of need.  This is outrageous!  This is good!  This is our God!

Great God, holy Father, we worship you wholeheartedly.  We trust you because you invite us into the throne room to receive all we need this day.  I simply say, “I thank you, and I love you.”  Alleluia!

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