Scripture: Hebrews 4: 14-5:6
Key verse: (15) “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.”
Reflection: Every person is tested by life. We all will, at some point, experience struggles that will challenge our faith. We will make mistakes that hurt ourselves and others. Eventually, we will suffer illness and death. In between our first breath and our last, there will be times of joy, failure, celebration and incredible love. Scripture tells us that God knows everything about us – our strengths and weaknesses and our joys and sorrows. Jesus promised to always be with us and today’s passage confirms this reality.
While Jesus is above all and in all, he is one who can sympathize with our weaknesses because God came and lived among us as a human being, as Jesus Christ. Tested by mortal life, Jesus knows both life’s joys and sorrows. He also died our death. So, when the hard times come, we are confident that God in Christ understands the depth of our emotions. When we mess up God in Christ deals with us gently, even when we deserve a harsh punishment or can’t forgive ourselves. Through Jesus, our high priest, sins are forgiven, hope is offered and we can live knowing that he is near, loving and caring about all people.
If you are wondering about the significance of Melchizedek in today’s passage, he was a high priest who blessed Abram in Genesis 14 and is referred to in Psalm 110. He has no lineage that can be traced, so he was considered a priest for all people. How much more is Jesus by comparison? The writer of Hebrews makes a connection between Melchizedek and Jesus in order to point out that Jesus, while superior, is from this same order – one who understands and extends his love, care and forgiveness to everyone, everywhere. With confidence, we can approach the throne of grace and receive mercy and help from God.
Prayer: Loving God, there is no one like you. We give thanks that Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses and understands our frailties. Help us to rely more and more on him in our everyday lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].