Thursday, March 2, 2017

HEBREWS 4:14-16

These verses are some most of us can almost say by memory;
I said, "almost."  But they certainly come in handy, like all the time, 24-7.

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a 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."

Now you see Him, now you don't.  Jesus has disappeared up into the heavens.  What if He was still here in bodily form?  He would draw great crowds, bigger than any politician or rock star.  He would be on media that would spread world-wide.  Yet, it was necessary that He go. He sent the Comforter, the Holy Ghost to be with us.  He had a job to do in heaven, not just preparing our mansions, but being our High Priest so that we may draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.

"Since we have..."

"We know the meaning of that word so well in earthly things.  There is nothing that touches men so nearly as the sense of ownership of property.  I have a father, I have money, I have a home--what a world of interest is awakened in connection with such thoughts. And God's word comes here and says: You have,--O best and wonderful of all possessions,--You have a great High Priest...You can trust Him for all you need, know and claim Him as indeed your great High Priest, to bring you to God." (Andrew Murray)

"It is very likely that the words, here, are spoken to meet an objection of those Jews who wished the Christians of Palestine to apostatize: 'You have no tabernacle--no temple--no high priest--no sacrifice for sin.  Without these there can be no religion; return therefore to us, who have the perfect temple serve appointed by God.' To these he answers: 'We have a High Priest who is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God; therefore, let us hold fast our profession...Aaron and his successors could only pass into the holy of holies, and that once a year; but our High Priest has passed into the heavens."  (Adam Clarke) 

"Passed through the heavens..."

"But all the heavens we can think of were only the vestibule through which He passed into...the light that is inaccessible, the very life and presence of God Himself."  (Andrew Murray)

"(The high Priest) passed through the veil into the Holy of Holies carrying with him the blood of the sacrifices on the yearly day of atonement; so our High Priest went, once and for all,...with the virtue of His own blood into the immediate presence of God.  (Benson)

"Jesus, the Son of God."

"The name Jesus speaks of His humanity, and of His work as a Saviour from sin.  This is the first work of the priest--the cleansing, the putting away of sin.  The name Son of God speaks of His divinity, and His power as High Priest, really to bring us to God, into the very life and fellowship of the Holy One." (Andrew Murray)

"Christ executed part of His priesthood on earth, dying for us; the other He executed in heaven, pleading the cause.: (Matthew Henry)

"Jesus, our High Priest, 1.  Left the people at large.  2.  He left Hs disciples by ascending up through the visible heavens, the clouds, as a veil, screening Him from their sight.  3.  Having passed through these veils, He went immediately to be our Intercessor: thus He passed the visible or ethereal heavens, into the presence of the Divine Majesty." (Adam Clarke)

"Let us hold fast our confession"

"There is a danger of dropping it; and that it requires strength, courage, and greatness of mind, and a use of all proper means; and it should be held without wavering." (Gill)

"hold fast, with our whole strength or a resolution, zeal, firmness." (Benson)

"Hold fast, cleave to Him."
(Matthew Henry)

I like this interpretation best, "hold fast, cleave to Him."  Never let go.  Don't give up.  Cleaving is the opposite of leaving; it is becoming one.  How divine to be one with Him!

"Our confession."
This is where our loyalties lie.

I just read a children's version of Queen Elizabeth's reign, how she would spend her summers traveling through her kingdom so that she might sympathize with the commoners condition.  It was called "'a royal progress.' She traveled through the small towns and villages so that she could see how her subjects outside of London were prospering...Besides  the courtiers, and their scores of servants, there were hundreds of carters who drove wagons pile high with baggage and furnishing.  When the queen reached a good stopping place, she took over...It was made comfortable with her own furnishings, and she stayed there a week or two...When the people cried, 'God save the queen!' she would quickly answer: 'God save you all!'"  What this simplified version did not say was how her visits nearly bankrupted those who had to remodel and prepare their castles to entertain her and all her entourage.  It was like a once in a lifetime event.  I even have read in an account supposedly written by one of my distant relatives detailing her visit and what pains they took to entertain her.  Nice try, 'Good Queen Bess,' but oh, how different is our invitation to approach our King.  Yes, He came to visit us in our humble estate, yet He paid for it all when He made His abode with us.  

"Sympathizes, yet..."

Remember how Jesus dealt with temptation in the wilderness?  By quoting Scripture.  Hint, hint. Thus, should we also be equipped to fight off the devil with the Book.  The other time written specifically about His temptation, was in the Garden of Gethsemane.  None of us can even imagine that kind of pressure to give in to His own will, rather than the suffering He was about to face in order to make a way for us as our intercessor.  We can never say, "God does not understand."
He was tempted in ALL ways such as we are.

" God, He has provided support for the body under all its trials and infirmities, and for the soul He has provided an atonement and purifying sacrifice; so that He cleanses the heart from all unrighteousness, and fills the soul with His Holy Spirit, and makes it His own temple and continual habitation.  He took our flesh and blood, a human body and a human soul, and lived a human life.  Here was the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:5); and by thus assuming human nature, He was completely qualified to make an atonement for the sins of the world." (Adam Clarke)

"That not one single feeble soul should be afraid to draw nigh to the great God, or in drawing nigh should doubt as to whether God is not too great and holy fully to understand, or to bear with his weakness.  Jesus the tried and tempted One, has been placed upon the throne as our High Priest.  God give us a glimpse into the heart of our compassionate, sympathizing High Priest!...the tenderness of a fellow-sufferer are combined, and is able to succor him." (Andrew Murray)

"It was needful that the Saviour of men should be the one who has the fellow-feeling which no being but a fellow-creature could possibly have; and therefore it was necessary He should experience of all the effects of sin that could be separated from its actual guilt."  (Matthew Henry)

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace..."
"Let us draw near with boldness"

Look at the invitation we have received!  We are invited to come boldly.  I enjoy reading Regency fiction, a time in England where people bowed, and were awed by royalty, and were governed by strict manners by which they could behave.  To come boldly into the presence of royalty or persons of high rank, would be highly unusual.  One certainly did not approach without an invitation to do so.  Still to this day, one is to back out before the Queen of England after kneeling, or at least bowing, in her presence.  How could we refuse so great an invitation to come boldly?

"The word, 'draw near', is that used of the priests in the Old Testament...The infinite mercy of God's love resting on us, and the almighty grace of His Spirit working in  us, will ever be found at a throne of grace...This boldness is what the blood of Christ, in its infinite worth, has secured for us." (Andrew Murray)

"He is our Advocate, and, while He pleads for His people, He pleads with the price in  His hand, by which He purchased all that our souls could want or can desire."
(Matthew Henry)

"Here the apostle shows the great superiority of the privileges of the new testament above those of the old; for there the high priest only, and he with fear and trembling, was permitted to approach; and that not without the blood of the victim; and if in any thing he transgressed, he might expect to be struck with death.  The throne of grace in heaven answers to this...ALL may approach with freedom, confidence, liberty of speech, in opposition to the fear and trembling of the Jewish high priest.  Here, nothing is to be feared, provided the heart be right with God, truly sincere, and trusting alone in the sacrificial blood." (Adam Clarke)

"That we may obtain mercy, and find grace..."

There is mercy for the taking...Mercy refers to the pardon of sin, and being brought into the favour of God.  Grace is that by which the soul is supported after it has received this mercy, and by which it is purified from all unrighteousness, and upheld in all trials and difficulties, and enabled to prove faithful unto death."  (Adam Clarke)

"To help in time of need."

Hopefully you have not had to call for help, not even had to have made a "911" call.  But how sad it is if a call for help goes unheeded.  Once I saw a terrible wreck, but had to drive on in order to run into a business to find a phone to call for help.  How soon we forget what it was like before we were able to carry our phone with us at all times.  I remember a few other times when it sure would have been handy to pull it out and call 911.  Once we were at a church league basketball game when one of the attendees' hip replacement slipped out of joint while sitting on the bleachers. He was in tremendous pain.  It was the last time I remember really running.  I ran for help.  I wasn't very fast, and it wasn't very far to the phone booth, but it took all I had.  I just know I looked ridiculous "speeding" along in my middle-aged-totally-out-of-condition condition.  I put my coins in the slot panting and was finally able to call for help. An ambulance arrived, but it wasn't a.s.a.p.  God is a little faster than that in answering our calls for help.

"The word is properly rendered assistance, help, or support; but it is an assistance in consequence of the earnest cry of the person in distress, for the word signifies to run at the cry.   So, even at the throne of help can be expected where there is no cry, and where there is no cry there is no felt necessity; for he that feels he is perishing will cry aloud for help, and to such a cry the compassionate High Priest will run; and the time of need is the time in which God will  show mercy; nor will He ever delay it when it is necessary.  We are not to cry today to be helped tomorrow, or at some indefinite time, or at the hour of death.  We are to call for mercy and grace when we need them; and we are to  expect to receive them when we call.  This is a part of our liberty or boldness; we come up to the throne, and we call aloud for mercy, and God hears and dispenses the blessing we need...We may plead with our Maker without fear; and expect all that heaven has to bestow; because Jesus, who died, sitteth upon the throne!  Hallelujah!  The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  All these are reasons why we should persevere." (Adam Clarke)

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