Project 119: Hebrews 4:14-16

 |  Project 119  |  Mary Splawn

Today's post is written by Isaiah Cruz. Isaiah serves in our Christian Life Center and is a student at Beeson Divinity School. 

"Let Us Draw Near"

Have you seen kids who are caught doing something they shouldn’t have been doing? Perhaps you have seen a toddler who itches to touch whatever you tell him not to touch. What would his reaction be if you caught him red-handed? You might witness a complex mixture of emotions, but one thing is certain: he would feel exposed and embarrassed. He would know he had done something wrong.

The fact of the matter is that God is holy, and His Word is, as we saw yesterday, “discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV). Like a toddler, when we think about our own sinfulness, we quickly realize we are also exposed before God’s sight (Psalm 139:7).

Let’s go back to the toddler. If you ask him why he disobeyed you, you will either get an excuse, silence, or unrealistic promises. When the holiness of God confronts our sins, we can either respond with excuses, indifference, or huge promises that we will never sin again. However, that is not the way grace works.

During this season of Advent, we celebrate the beauty of the incarnation. We confess that Jesus became man. Because Jesus became a man, He can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV). Unlike us, Jesus defeated every temptation and relied on the Word of God for His sustenance (Hebrews 4:15; Matthew 4:4).

For a spiritual toddler like me, that seems intimidating at first. How can I possibly imitate Jesus, seeing that He is perfect and I am not? Take comfort. We have been washed by the blood of Jesus and are now adopted children of God. Through Jesus, we have access to “the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV), where Jesus continues to advocate on our behalf.
You don’t have to react like the toddler when you are confronted by your sins. Go boldly to the Father and ask Him for forgiveness, being confident that you will “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV). Like this closing prayer, may our prayers be filled with the language of this passage as we come boldly to the Father during this Advent season: “Grant these our prayers, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen” (Book of Common Prayer, 1979 edition).

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV):

14 Since then 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 is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.