Tuesday, April 16, 2019

EmmDev 2019-04-16 [Lent2019] Trials and Trouble: Hebrews

Trials and Trouble: Hebrews

We've been on the "Via Dolorosa" (the Way of Suffering that Jesus walked for us). We've explored how Paul, James and Peter approached the problem of pain in the light of Jesus' suffering for us. Our last perspective on this comes from the anonymous author of the letter to the Hebrews.

The letter is an amazing journey. It starts off talking about the fact that God has always spoken to His people: Through the prophets, the angels, the Law of Moses and the circumstances of history. But, says the Hebrews writer, God has now spoken through the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Messiah, God's Son.

This Son, he asserts, is greater than the angels. He is greater than Moses and the Law. He is greater than the Levitical Priesthood, both in His ability to obtain forgiveness and in His ability to identify with our brokenness and pain. Having no brokenness of His own, He can take on ours completely.

And so the writer confirms: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Heb4:15-16)

So, when trouble comes our way, the Hebrews writer urges us to "fix our eyes" on Jesus our perfect Priest, Intermediary and Intercessor:

  • He didn't have to go to the cross, but He chose to. (The "joy set before Him" was fulfilling the Father's Will and thereby obtaining our salvation
  • He endured the cross. This required tenacity, strength and courage.
  • He scorned its shame. He saw beyond the temporary suffering to the greater goal and so must we.
  • He sat down at the right hand of God. You only sit down when it's done. He pushed through to the end.

The bottom-line of the Hebrews writer's approach is this: When people who are faced with suffering ask "Where is God?" The answer is: "He's in the middle of it. The cross is the place where He speaks to our pain. When we look at Him facing the cross, we know that we are not alone and He shows us how to get through it."

Read the beautiful passage below and pray with me: "Dear Lord, when I'm in pain I tend to lose perspective and think that no-one has it as bad as me. But I'm not completely innocent like You were. I'm never a complete victim like You were. And yet You suffered and endured so that I'm not alone and I can get strength from You. Please help me to look to You when I struggle. In the name of the One who walked the Via Dolorosa. Amen."

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.      (Hebrews12:2-3)

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