Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We are Redeemed

In my Lay Speaker's school I was given the assignment to write on Hebrews 4:14-16. So, here is what I came up with. Critiques are welcomed!

Hebrews 4:14 to 16
We are Redeemed

Hebrews 4 verse 14 says, “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.”

The ancient Jews appointed High Priests who were only of the Tribe of Levi. Only they could enter the Holy Place in the Temple to speak to God on behalf of the people, and they could only do this one-day a year. What makes Hebrews 4:14 so revolutionary for Christianity is that Jesus has become our permanent High Priest, constantly speaking to God for us, redeeming us with his blood, loving and caring for our needs and forgiving us for our sins. He doesn’t do this from behind a curtain in a Holy Temple once a year, he does this constantly and forever as he has “gone through the heavens” and as the Son of God, as a part of the Holy Trinity, we never need to go through another. No more priests to mediate for us, but now we have the ultimate mediator, the Holy Son of God, the final sacrifice for all humanity and for all time, and we must praise Him and His Glory for this awesome Gift of Grace. We must hold fast to our Christian understanding that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. To remember that Jesus was fully human and fully divine, that he lived and died solely for the redemption of our souls, so that we may accept the personal relationship that God offers us, that we are all saved by His sacrifice and that our sins are covered in the blood of the lamb. Forever forgiven, forever in God’s Grace, we are Justified in His sight, and through this personal relationship with Him we move to become Sanctified.

Hebrews 4 verse 15 states “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.”

The Jewish traditions of ancient days involved Priests who were to remain Holy and clean, to be separate from the mass of humanity, to live very detailed, religious lives as man seeking God. Jesus, our new High Priest, is not separate from us, but is one of us. Remember Jesus was fully Divine, a part of God, but He was also fully human and experienced all that we do. Jesus was born, grew up, studied for his ministry, lost a parent, experienced hunger, tiredness, worry, betrayal, sadness, mourning, anger, suffering, abandonment, and even death. Jesus was fully human and as such He experienced the same feelings and loss we all have, as well as joy and laughter. Oh yes that too. Throughout his ministry we learn of him attending weddings, dinners, and enjoying the company of his friends and disciples. Yes, he was fully human, and because of this He is able to relate to us because he experienced all the same joys, disappointments, highs and lows that we do. He knows fully what it means to be human, and because of that he can understand us and our problems. You could say that He knows us, everything about us, understands us, and knows all the sinful things we do and say, and yet loves us anyway. That’s God’s Grace. Jesus was human, but despite all the human experiences he went through, he was without sin. Thus he was the perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. My sins and your sins. He took them all upon himself, and because of this, we may have eternal life in relationship with God. Our sins are forgiven, our debt is paid.

Finally we have Hebrews verse 16. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. “

As children of God, brothers and sisters of Christ, redeemed by His blood, we should live with Confidence in the future, hope for the ages, and step boldly into the world to proclaim the Good News, for we receive mercy and grace through him that helps us in the most troubled times in our human lives. He is there when we mourn, grieve, hurt, suffer, sin, and die. He is there in the best times of our human lives as well. He is with us when the newborn takes its first breath, when we get married, have children, experience all the joys of our lives. Jesus is an active High Priest who is always and for all time speaking on our behalf, looking out for us, loving us, protecting us, and forgiving us. So take this thought as I finish, Jesus is all we need in this life. He is the Word that creates, loves, forgives, and justifies. He lives within the hearts of all Christians everywhere, and his light shines in the brightest of days and the darkest of nights. His faithful love and grace are yours and mine, forever. Amen!