Summary: # 9 in a series on Hebrews. Four reasons we should cling to Jesus.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 9
“Reasons to Cling to Jesus”
Mankind today has a problem. That problem is guilt. No one denies that it is a problem but differences abound as to what to do about the problem. Since sin entered the picture in the Garden of Eden man has been dealing with guilt. Man has hidden from it, drugged himself to avoid it, and rationalized it away. The popular answer of our world is to deny or dismiss the guilt.
“A man entered a bar, bought a glass of beer and then immediately threw it into the bartender’s face. Quickly grabbing a napkin, he helped the bartender dry his face while he apologized with great remorse. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “I have this compulsion to do this. I fight it, but I don’t know what to do about it.” “You had better do something about your problem,” the bartender replied. “You can be sure I’ll remember you and will never serve you another drink until you get help.”
It was months before the man faced the bartender again. When he asked for a beer, the bartender refused. Then the man explained that he had been seeing a psychiatrist and that his problem was solved. Convinced it was now okay to serve him, the bartender poured him a drink. The man took the glass and splashed the beer into the barkeeper’s astonished face. “I thought you were cured,” the shocked bartender screamed. “I am,” said the man. “I still do it, but I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.”
[Charles Sell. Unfinished Business. (Multnomah, 1989) p. 223 - www.bible.org/illus/guilt]
Guilt is portrayed as something that is foisted upon us by our parents, the church or society as a whole. People are advised to overcome the illusion of guilt by seeking out the roots of their guilt. By discovering the psychological and emotional causes they hope to mitigate their so-called guilt. There is good news today, we have a means of dealing not only with our guilt but with the sin that causes it!
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
The author begins in verse fourteen by describing how Jesus is uniquely qualified to serve as our High Priest. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God….” The High Priest of Israel entered once each year to make sacrifice for the sins of the nations. In order to enter the Holy of Holies were the blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, the High Priest had to pass through three outlying areas. He took the blood and went through the door into outer court, through another door into the Holy Place and finally through the veil into the Holy of Holies. In the Old Testament the high priest of Israel passed through the courts and veils into the Most Holy Place. Our High Priest has “passed through the heavens” to the very presence of God, where He sits at God’s right hand (1:3).
Jesus our High Priest after He had made the one time, perfect sacrifice for sin, passed through the heavens. We have our perfect and great High priest who once and for all, made the only sacrifice that will ever be needed for sin. Any other priest who attempts to reconcile men and God is in reality a barrier rather than a mediator.
The New Living Translation translates the last part of verse fourteen as,“…Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him.”
In our text today the writer gives us four good reasons to cling to Jesus.
First, We Should Cling To Jesus Because He Can Sympathize With Our Weaknesses. (v. 15a)
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.”
Although it is stated negatively it is a positive attribute that he his describing. We can dare to cling to Jesus because he is capable of unparalleled understanding and sympathy.
The King James Version translates verse fifteen as, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” I like that translation because of the use of the word “touched” by our infirmities. This is notable because under the Old Testament there were so many restrictions about what a person could and could not touch. These restrictions were even greater for the High Priest. But Jesus our High Priest, can not only sympathize with our weakness, but He is the one who reaches out and touches us. Some time when you are reading your Bible, just make a list of all the people that Jesus touched – He touched; lepers, blind men, children, prostitutes, even tax collectors. Today, He extends His hands toward us, still offering the touch of God for all who will come to Him!