Focal Passage: Hebrews 4:14-5:6
“You just don’t understand me!” As the parent of a teenager, I heard this phrase on more than one occasion. I uttered it to my own parents a time or two. Even today, I want to be understood. We all do. We all want, dare I say need, someone in our lives who understands us. Yet, there is something frightening about that, too. Do we really want someone who understands everything about us? Someone who knows us deeply and intimately? Someone from whom there are no secrets?
The writer of Hebrews tells us that nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight, but that everything is laid bare before the One to whom we must give an account (Hebrews 4:13). If that is the case – and it is – how can any of us every bear up under the divine scrutiny of a holy God? The writer anticipates our anxiety and so reminds us in Hebrews 4:14-16 that we have a High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses, one who has been tempted in every way, yet without sin. He reminds us that Jesus knows us deeply and intimately. He knows our weakness and our struggle. But, thank God, He is not powerless to help us!
Jesus provides grace and mercy to us in our time of need. Just as other high priests deal gently with those under their care (Hebrews 6:2), Jesus does as well. While other high priests offer sacrifices on their own behalf and those under their care, Jesus offers something better – a one time sacrifice that – by faith – makes us right with God.
Sadly, too many Christians want to receive such an awesome gift of forgiveness and then, inexplicably, not extend the same grace to others. Yet, the best way to demonstrate Jesus to others is to demonstrate his grace and mercy. If Jesus knows all about us and sympathizes with us, let us make it our ambition to sympathize rather than criticize. And, the next time you hear someone say “you just don’t understand me,” point them graciously to the One who does.