To listen to yesterday's sermon, just click on http://www.grayroad.com/index.cfm/pageid/723 and then select the sermon entitles "What Does the Temptation of Jesus Reveal?" In our study of Mark 1:12-13, we learned that Jesus is the submissive, sinless, successful Savior. Mark wants us to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (1:1), and Jesus' temptation reveals just that.
Our primary application is to see Jesus as submissive, sinless, and successful as our Savior. We must see Him as He is. This is part of why we need to continually study the Bible...we never grow past it or stop learning. We need to maintain an accurate knowledge of God, of Christ, of sin, of ourselves, of mankind in general, of salvation, of the church, etc. As we learn the Word, it is the role of the Spirit to open our eyes and minds and hearts. As a result, we see, we understand, and we respond. We love God more, the joy of our salvation grows, we are conformed to the image of Christ, and much more.
So, as we look at this text, the primary goal is to see Jesus as He is...to have our vision of Him renewed. "Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art; Thou my best thought by day or by night; Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light." As a secondary thought, I want us to meditate briefly on Hebrews 4:14-16.
Here is the text of Hebrews 4:14-16: "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. 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. Let us then with great confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
So much can be said about these verses, but I want us to see how Jesus' sinlessness magnifies everything in this short paragraph. Why don't we make a list to help us "connect the dots?"
1. Jesus is a great high priest. This is obvious...it's right there in verse 14. What makes him a "great" high priest? It seems that we have a good idea from the next sentence.
2. Jesus is a great high priest because He has passed through the heavens. This doesn't just mean that Jesus ascended. He passed through the heavens as the high priest would pass into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people year after year. Unlike the other high priests' work, which had to be continued year after year, Jesus' work is a finished work, and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father because the work is completed for our salvation. He is a great high priest.
2. Jesus is a great high priest because He sympathizes with our weaknesses and has shared in temptation. The text says He is a great high priest that has passed through the heavens. Then, the writer goes on to clarify what he means by "great." Jesus identifies with us...He identifies with us in our weaknesses and temptations. Some believe that God couldn't possibly understand what they're going through. In Jesus Christ, we don't have a distant, aloof high priest. We have a GREAT high priest, who has experienced the weaknesses and temptations of being human. He truly understands. As one song puts it well, "He did not keep Himself away, He was no stranger to my pain. He walked a mile in my shoes."
3. Jesus is a great high priest because He passed through the heavens, sympathizes with our weaknesses and temptations, and He never sinned. Jesus' work as our high priest could not have been perfect and complete were it not for His sinlessness. Jesus' identification with us in our weakness and temptation would not be as great if He was corrupted by sin. However, He is great...His work is perfect and complete...His identification with us is real and comforting...because He is without sin. Being fully human, He stood apart from the rest of humanity before and after him. He is a unique high priest...He is a GREAT high priest.
4. Because Jesus is a great high priest, let us hold fast our confession and draw near to the throne of grace. Our confession of the faith is certain and eternal because it is based squarely on the person and work of Jesus...not on our upbringing, not on our personal experience, but on the real, historical Jesus...the sinless, great high priest. So, as we move about in our social circles, in our work environments, and in our families, let us hold fast our confession. Also, let us draw near to the throne of grace. Because Jesus was sinless as He experienced weakness and temptation, He is our great source of strength and help in our times of need. So, let us not be apathetic in approaching prayer. We have a great high priest who understands and has an abundant supply of mercy and grace at His disposal.
Jesus is a great high priest who has passed through the heavens. He knows our weakness, He has been tempted, and He is sinless. As we begin another week, then, let us be strengthened in our faith...so that our confession of Christ is bold and our prayer lives are bold as well.