14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
This morning I took 15 minutes to really reflect and meditate on this collection of verses. This is something that I am aware that I don’t do often enough- I have a great habit of reading three to five chapters of the bible each day every day, but there is something different about spending the same time on a shorter section of scripture and I am realising I need to work out how I can do both!
As I pondered on the significance of these verses, I realised how poorly equipped I am to truly understand the gravity of what is written!
Firstly, it says that Jesus is a high priest in service to God. I am so far removed from first century Hebrew culture that, even if I understand the role of the high priest as it is written in the Torah, I still can’t really fathom the spiritual and emotional significance that the high priest had in Israel.
Next, it says that he made atonement/sacrifice/propitiation (depending on which translation you read) for our sins. In my comfortable 21st century Australian existence, I don’t really have any true experiences to understand what this kind of sacrifice is. I have read the bible dictionary on these words and my head can explain them to my heart, but we just don’t really do atoning sacrifice in our society all that much.
And finally it echoes Hebrews 4:15 and suggests that Jesus can really identify with every single one of us because he has suffered in the same way and been tempted in the same way. My tendency though is to assume nobody can really understand me, because i am unique and nobody has the same set of experiences as me. I think this is a common feeling amongst people today.
But the weight of this passage is huge! The only way I have even begun to appreciate it, is because I had the privilege of being able to get up early, watch the sunrise and spend a longer moment reflecting on God’s word.
Lord help me to make your word a priority, not just digesting it in large amounts, but also appreciating it in smaller nights for longer.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware