“Hebrews 4:15 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. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
The author to the book of Hebrews argues that Jesus managed to get through the obstacle course of life without blowing it. This means he is the best person to come to for help, support and comfort when we’ve blown it, made a wrong turn, aren’t sure which way to go.
The original Star Trek motto, or the slightly altered motto of Star Trek, the Next Generation goes in part ‘…to boldly go where no one has gone before.” But the author of Hebrews says that “someone” has gone before. **
In these first few chapters , the author of the book of Hebrews warns people to not fall away from faith, to not give up. He (she?) sounds very legalistic, and moralistic until we reach this verse. Suddenly we realize that the author is reminding us that we are not alone on our faith journey. We follow a Jesus who looks just like us, with one exception. He was tested in every way, but did not sin. This is not someone who can’t sympathize with us, but someone who is intimately like us.
Bruce Olson, was a 19 year old missionary to the Motilone-Bari indigenous people of Colombia and Venezuela over 40 years ago. He has spent most of those years living among this small group of people. He lived with them almost 7 years learning their language, their customs, and their stories. He knew that to share what he knew of Jesus, without knowing them, would be premature.
After many of the particular tribal group he was with became Christians, he asked them one day what they thought Jesus looked like. “Like us” they replied. “Jesus is a Motiloni, just like us.”
When I had the privilege of working with homeless people at the St. Francis Center, near downtown Denver, one of our volunteers brought in a large, wooden carving of Jesus head and face, bearing the crown of thorns. It was made of ebony, and Jesus was clearly ebony too. Tom, the donor, said that he needed to see a Jesus who looked like him, and believed that perhaps others might too.
A few days later, an elderly African American gentleman came in and looked up at the image of Jesus. With tears in his eyes he simply said “Thank you. I need a Jesus like that today.”
“Hebrews 4:15 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. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Amen.
** (Before I hear negatives from all the Trekkers please know that I too worship Star Trek! Gene Roddenberry was a saint!)