Well, the good news is that I walked to a neighborhood Starbucks and got some breakfast. I had taken my Bible and my journal with me so that I could hang out with Jesus while I waited. I had three different passages to read for the day and I felt like the Lord was speaking to me in each one of them. I finally settled on Hebrews 4:15-16. It seemed to jump off the page.
For we do not have a great high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I began to pick this apart and just get more and more excited about the richness of this passage. Have I mentioned that I truly LOVE the WORD. Here goes . . .
Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses.
Who likes to feel weak? Well, we may not like to feel weak, but we all do. I think that weakness can isolate us. We feel like no one understands what we are feeling or struggling with. We can even feel judged or taken advantage of as our weaknesses play out in our life. Jesus - the King of Kings - sympathizes with my weaknesses. He understands. He knows.
Jesus was tempted.
He wasn't just tempted, but He was tempted in all things. All things. He walked this earth. He experienced all different kinds of situations and interacted with all different kinds of people. He understands temptations. He knows.
Jesus is sinless.
What great news. He knows how to hit temptation head on and not yield to it, but instead resist, defeat and overcome it. He wants to help me do this also.
Jesus desires for me to draw near.
He is not repulsed by my struggles. He wants to embrace me and hold me close in order to help me. This nearness to Him moves me in the opposite direction of my sin and temptation. He knows that my nearness to Him is my good.
I can draw near with confidence.
This isn't self confidence. It is the ability to draw near because of the character of Jesus. He is Faithful. His righteousness covers me. I can be confident in the completeness of His work on the cross.
Jesus beckons me to the throne of grace.
Now that is a throne that I desperately need to draw near to. Oh, sweet grace.
Jesus says that I will receive mercy and find grace.
These are the gifts that my Savior so generously gives to me, out of His deep love for me.
Grace and Mercy are the remedy for my struggles.
I love to look at the definition of familiar words. I think that we have a sense of what they mean, but I find the actual definition very enlightening.
Mercy: compassion shown toward an offender; the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone
Grace: favor; a manifestation of favor, especially by a Superior; the condition of being in God's favor.
How do grace and mercy help me in my time of need?
I think it goes back to the love relationship. Jesus' choice to show me grace and mercy when I am at my worst -- teetering on the precipice of failure -- causes me to draw near to Him. As I draw near, sin becomes more and more unattractive. I begin to see it for what it is. Grace and mercy woo me to my One True Love.
I feel like I have had a lot of conversations lately with people who are really discouraged. Some are just tired, some are plagued by insecurity, some jobless, some lonely and all in need of this encouraging word.