Summary: Jesus is Our Great Sympathetic High Priest who is at the heart of the faith we profess.
"The Faith We Profess"
General Dwight Eisenhower has been quoted as having said about plans and assumptions in war: "Before the battle begins, plans are everything. After the battle begins, plans are nothing.” At certain moments in life we are brought back to basics, to the absolute truths of life and faith. When things around us, assumptions and plans, seem shaken and forever changed, we look for what are firm foundations and absolutes.
Since Sept. 11, we are hearing that Bibles are selling in dramatic numbers. People are searching for what is solid and dependable. What seemed sure a month ago, in many cases has now been called into question. Today, let us return to basics and look at the faith we profess.
The writer of Hebrews has given us a wonderful passage of Scripture in Hebrews 4 that sets forth for us the firm foundation of our faith – Jesus. The writer tells us that:
I. Jesus is Our Great High Priest (4:14).
A. The image of Jesus as our High Priest is used.
B. The High Priest was the only one allowed to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to make intercession for the people – blood.
C. Jesus is the very Son of God – God who became man – John 1:1, 1:14.
D. Jesus having died and rose again, ascended to heaven where He is our Great High Priest, personally interceding for us today. We need no earthly mediator, for we have Jesus!
II. Jesus Cares for You (4:15).
A. Jesus is not unable to sympathize with you.
1. “sympathize” – “to feel together with”
2. “weaknesses” – not sin here. All of what it means to be human – fear, thirst, hunger, grief, loneliness, disappointment.
B. Jesus has been tempted – yet did not sin! He understands temptation and feels what you feel.
C. We must help people to know the caring, sympathetic, compassionate Jesus. This is unique to the Christian faith we profess. Our faith is not about cold, lifeless principles, but a Savior who personally loves and cares for every person.
III. Jesus Stands Ready to Provide for You (4:16).
A. On the basis of what has been said, the writer drives us to come before the throne of Grace.
1. We may enter the Holy of Holies – Jesus
2. We may do so through prayer – anytime etc.
3. We may do so boldly -- “not passing over anything or holding anything back”
B. Jesus will provide:
1. mercy – He will forgive & help us try again
2. grace – based on His character, not ours
3. timely help – “just in the nick of time” He will meet our need with His perfect provision
The faith we profess is focused on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith.”
1. He is our Great High Priest – death, burial, resurrection, ascension provides the way to have eternal life for you.
2. He cares for us personally – not cold, distant, angry God. He knows how we feel, what we feel! With you today!
3. He offers practical help – strength, mercy – today. What is your need? Is this the faith you profess?