Our God, The Lord God Almighty, shows his power to greatest effect through suffering, weakness and vulnerability. Today’s passage likens Jesus to a high priest who intercedes with The Lord on our behalf. Jesus lived and died as a man. He felt happiness and sadness, joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain in the same way as we all do. Therefore Jesus knows our troubles and we, in turn, know what he must have suffered on the cross on our behalf. Paul tells the Hebrews that Jesus pleaded and cried out loudly to The Lord in prayer to be released from the awful prospect of his own death, but then submitted completely and willingly to his part in God’s plan. Jesus was beaten badly, mocked publicly and nailed to a wooden cross and left to die in agony. I say it again, he did this willingly in order to be a perfect and wholly acceptable sacrifice for the whole world’s sins. God’s greatest act of love took the form of the most terrible suffering imaginable. Now I don’t know about you, but I find that is not an easy idea to come to terms with!
Hebrews 5:1-10 NLT
Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honour. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. That is why Christ did not honour himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. ” And in another passage God said to him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
If only we could all learn to embrace our sufferings and accept that God needs his followers to let themselves be weak so that he can show his glory through us. Also, we all need to recognise our weaknesses, our constant vulnerability to sin, so we can see the grace of The Lord who, through the sacrifice of Jesus, has given us a freedom we are not worthy of and a salvation we could never have earned. My goal today is to try to suffer with good grace remembering the it is only by the grace of God that I am saved at all.
Ezekiel 7:19:11, Hebrews 5:1-14, Psalms 105:1-15, Proverbs 26:28