Summary: What a comfort to know that in every fear, Jesus will never leave you and he is always talking to God about you.
Jesus the Priest: Still Intercedes for us!
Jesus is Different, Part II
Last week, we went to the Mall of America for a day since it was Spring Break. It never occurred to me until after we were long there that with the Mall and the NCAA Tournaments in town, we were the perfect target for a terrorist attack. Obviously other people thought of it, however. While I was walking through the little Lego store near Campy Snoopy, there was a loud crash. A woman next to me blurted out, “What was that?” I turned to see wide eyes and a horrified expression. My first thought was, “Why in the world did you come to the Mall of America if you expected terrorism. Sales at the Gap can’t be that great!” But my second thought was compassion. I realized that this woman was stumbling under the weary weight of fear, and there is nothing more terrible.
Fear has become epidemic in our country. Teen people recently took a poll of teenagers who overwhelmingly declared that their number one fear is terrorism. They are not a generation that thinks much about the future, but when they do, they say they expect another terrible attack as bad as September 11th or worse in their lifetime. Adults are terrified of old age and death. Just peruse the cosmetics aisle and see how many “anti-aging” products are for sale these days. Check out the thousands of health web sites on the internet; hypochondriacs check daily to find out what’s killing them. People are afraid of living insignificant lives, lives that won’t make a single difference in this cosmic clutter. Folks are terrified of failure--at the office or their lives. People are afraid of rejection by their loved ones, their parents, or their God. We live in a culture of fear, a culture that feeds on fear and markets it to sell us everything from movies to treadmills. What are you afraid of?
More importantly, what do you do about it? Do you just close your eyes and hope they go away? I think back to that woman in the Mall of America. President Bush assured us that the government is doing all they can to prevent terrorist attacks. Besides, there were lots of guards at the Mall; there were even scores of soldiers at the motel where we stayed. Why was she still afraid? Wasn’t that enough?
No, because all these assurances come from men, human, frail, accident-prone men. What in this life can possibly dispel all our fears? What can possibly give us unassailable assurances? Nothing, right?
But Jesus is different. You need not fear if you belong to him. Let’s see why.
Hebrews 7:23-28 23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
He will never leave.
How many parents can identify with this? When Maddie was born, we found a doctor who was compassionate and supportive. Guess what? We could never get in to see her; we had to see the other doctors that nobody seemed to want. If we had to cancel an appointment in July, they looked for an alternate starting in October. As good as she was she couldn’t always be there for us; too many people put too many demands on her time.
The same thing was true of the Old Testament High Priests who served for God’s people in the temple at Jerusalem. They were good men, dependable men, but they couldn’t always be there. They served many people; they needed to sleep and eat; they eventually got old and died. In fact, Josephus, the Jewish historian, counted 83 high priests from Aaron, the first high priest, to the last one serving when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. The priests were constantly changing.
This is where Jesus is different. Verse 24 says, “Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.” Since Jesus burst death’s bonds on Easter, death has no more grip on him. More continuous than the continents, more resilient than the Rockies, more permanent than the pyramids, Jesus will always be around.
Now, if he were an old grump, a tyrant or psychopath that thought would be terrifying, but that Bible tells us different: “A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3) That means Jesus is not only always here; he is always here for you. When you are bruised by the beatings of life or smoldering with fear, he will be there for you. That makes him different than anything you’ll ever find on this earth.