Well, then, since we have a great high priest who has gone right through the heavens, Jesus, God’s son, let us hold on firmly to our confession of faith.
For we don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us at the moment when we need it. [KNT]
(This section is a major transition in the letter, and gives a great 50,000 foot view of what has been said thus far. The author is concluding his exhortation, and getting ready to go into the great exposition of Jesus’ high priesthood.)
We have a very compassionate and understanding high priest. Due to Christ’s divinity He has made relationship with God possible. Due to Christ’s humanity He can literally sympathize with our weaknesses. He does not judge us as if we had no difficulties whatsoever, but compassionately knows what we go through.
Frequently, I praise our daughter Gabriela for how well she does in her school work. The reason for this is because of the great difficulty she must overcome due to her eczema. Though we have confidence that she can overcome it and excel at her work, that is not our demand. We take into account the obstacle to concentration she faces, and let her know we see it, and are so proud of her.
Do we have a proper view of the God who Jesus revealed to us? Is He not full of compassion, mercy, understanding, and grace? Instead of a solemn reckoning when I meet Jesus, I envision it more of Him smiling and telling a story like, “Man, one of my customers in the carpentry business was such a pain in the tukas! Every single thing I made was never good enough for that guy. I had to pray a lot every time I interacted with him. I understand your frustrations. I had many myself.”
And because we have such a wonderful, loving high priest, we can approach God with bold frankness. The verb in verse 16 is present tense meaning it is an ongoing approach of God. Let us constantly draw near to Him. May we not forget the context from the old covenant. Before Jesus, the only person allowed into God’s presence was the high priest, who entered the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle once a year on the Day of Atonement. He offered a sacrifice on that day to win forgiveness for all the people, yet they were still locked out of God’s magnificent presence. But under Jesus’ high priesthood, we find ourselves in a vastly different situation. We may enter the very presence of God on a continual basis, and do so with great confidence because of the door Jesus opened for us. There, we find grace to help us when we most need it.
We have full access to God. We have actual help from Him who overcame the world, who went through all afflictions while not giving in to sin. But it is only help to us if we so choose to confidently approach Him who first drew near to us.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria