TEXT: Hebrews 4:14-16
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Charles Spurgeon said, “If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word – prayer.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Someone asked me, “Do you pray for the dead?” I said, “No, I preach to them!” I think every pew in every church is death row. Think about that! They’re dead! They sing about God; they talk about God, but they’re dead! They have no living relationship (with God). In the early church, signs and wonders and miracles followed. They cast out demons, blindness and paralysis. That’s normal Christianity! We’re so sub-normal, if we ever became normal, they (the world) will think we’re abnormal. Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “Seeing then that we have a GREAT High Priest”. Aaron was a “high priest,” but Jesus Christ is the GREAT High Priest. No Old Testament priest could assume that title. But in what does our Lord’s greatness consist? To begin with, Jesus Christ is both God and Man. He is “Jesus, the Son of God.” The name “Jesus” means “Saviour” and identifies His humanity and His ministry on earth. “Son of God” affirms His deity and the fact that He is God. In His unique person, Jesus Christ unites Deity and humanity, so that He can bring people to God and bring to people all that God has for them. Not only in His person, but also in His position Jesus Christ is great. Aaron and his successors ministered in the tabernacle and temple precincts, once a year entering the holy of holies. But Jesus Christ has “passed through the heavens”. When He ascended to the Father, Jesus Christ passed through the atmospheric heavens and the planetary heavens into the third heaven where God dwells. How much better is it to have a High Priest who ministers in a heavenly tabernacle than in an earthly one! But there is another aspect to Christ’s position: not only is He in heaven, but He is enthroned. His throne is “the throne of grace”. The mercy seat on the ark of the covenant was God’s throne in Israel, but it could never be called “a throne of grace.” Grace does not veil itself from the people. Grace does not hide itself in a tent. Furthermore, the common people were not permitted to enter the holy precincts of the tabernacle and the temple, and the priests got only as far as the veil. The high priest alone went beyond the veil, and only on the Day of Atonement. But every believer in Christ is invited, and is even encouraged, to “come boldly unto the throne of grace”! What a great throne it is because our Great High Priest is ministering there. Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, is enthroned in heaven. Something else makes Him great: He is ministering mercy and grace to those who come for help. Mercy means that God does not give us what we do deserve; grace means that He gives us what we do not deserve. No Old Testament high priest could minister mercy and grace in quite the same way. When an Israelite was tempted, he could not easily run to the high priest for help; and he certainly could not enter the holy of holies for God’s help. But as believers in Jesus Christ, we can run to our High Priest at any time, in any circumstance, and find the help that we need. Now because of the superiority of Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest, over Aaron, two important conclusions can be drawn. First, there is no need in giving up our profession just because we are going through testing and trial. The word translated “profession” means “confession.” These Hebrew Christians were tempted to give up their confession of faith in Christ and their confidence in Him. It was not a matter of giving up their salvation, since salvation through Christ is eternal. It was a matter of their public confession of faith. By returning to the Old Testament system, they would be telling everyone that they had no faith in Christ. This kind of unbelief would only bring reproach to Christ’s name. After all, the great purpose of salvation is the glory of God. It was the glory of God that so concerned Moses when Israel broke God’s Law and made the golden calf. God offered to destroy the nation and to begin a new one from Moses, but Moses refused the offer. Instead Moses interceded for Israel on the basis of God’s glory and God’s promise; and God spared the people, even though He disciplined them for their sin. The second conclusion is this: there is no need to go back because we can come boldly into the presence of God and get the help we need. No trial is too great, no temptation is too strong, but that Jesus Christ can give us the mercy and grace that we need, when we need it. “But He is so far away!” we may argue. “And He is the perfect Son of God! What can He know about the problems of weak sinners like us?” But that is a part of His greatness! When He was ministering on earth in a human body, He experienced all that we experience, and even more. After all, a sinless person would feel temptations and trials in a much greater way than you and I could ever feel them. Christ was tempted, yet He did not sin; and He is able to help us when we are tempted. If we fail to hold fast our confession, we are not proving that Jesus Christ has failed. We are only telling the world that we failed to draw on His grace and mercy when it was freely available to us.
Here are three things that we learn about prayer from this passage:
First, we can approach the throne of grace boldly and with humble confidence because our high priest is none other the son of God Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14 reads, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” The Bible also says in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Matthew Henry said, “We have an account of the excellency and perfection of Christ, as to his office, and this particular office of our high priest. The high priests under the law were accounted great and venerable person; but they were but faint types and shadows of Christ. The greatness of our high priest is set forth, by his having passed into the heavens. The high priest under the law, once a year, went out of the people’s sight within the veil, into the holiest of all, where were the sacred signals of the presence of God; but Christ once for all has passed into the heavens, to take the government of all upon him, to send the Spirit to prepare a place for his people, and to make intercession for them. Christ executed one part of his priesthood on earth, in dying for us; the other he executes in heaven, by pleading the cause, and presenting the offerings, of his people. The greatness of Christ is set forth by his name, Jesus—a physician and a Saviour, and one of a divine nature, the Son of God by eternal generation; and therefore having divine perfection, able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him.” We no longer need to look to a priest or some other religious leader to bring our requests before God. Through Jesus Christ, we can now commune with God himself. Scandals over sin within the Catholic Church, various Protestant denominations, and involving many high-profile Christian leaders, have weakened many Christians trust in the clergy. But our trust should never be in a fallible human priest or pastor in the first place. Our trust should be in God alone. Because Jesus is the only priest who knows God directly, and is our only gateway to knowing God, we can have confidence in addressing our prayers to God in the name of Christ Jesus.
Second, we can approach the throne of grace boldly because we have a high priest who knows us. Hebrews 4:15 reads, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” While also being God, Jesus lived as a man while he was here on earth. While he was here he experienced all the struggles that are natural to the human experience – hunger, thirst, weariness, and the temptation to sin against God. Jesus, being God, of course could not have committed a sin, but he understands the struggle that we go through in our lives. John MacArthur said, “He knows the gamut of temptation yet He can stand apart in absolute pure moral evaluation and be a fair judge. All our temptations Christ felt, and He didn’t feel them with our blunted perception but He felt them with His infinite sensitivity. Mark this thought, sinlessness alone can estimate sin, did you get that? It is sinlessness alone that can estimate sin. And so Jesus Christ didn’t sin. He couldn’t sin, He had no capacity to sin. But that doesn’t minimize His temptations they were all the more terrible because He would not fall, He could not fall, He endured them to the extreme. And He’s a good one to stand back and evaluate us because being sinless He has a sensitivity to sin, and He can see it for what it is where we always cannot. I like what it says in Hebrews 12:8 it says, “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” You want to talk to somebody who knows what sin is about you talk to Jesus Christ, you don’t even know what that’s about in the fullest sense you haven’t been able resist to the point of blood. Jesus Christ knows sin, and He knows your weakness and He understands it. You say, well what does this have to do with me? This just simply means that after you’ve come to Jesus Christ you have one that you can go to who completely understands in every way, in every capacity. In fact the Apostle paul put it this way in First Corinthians 10 he said in verse 18, and this of course is a classic statement, “But there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not tempt you above that you are able, but will, with the temptation, make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Jesus Christ knows the path. Someone has well said, In a trackless wood the one who goes first blazes the way or breaks twigs so others may follow. When Jesus passed through this world He gathered up so many thorns in His own feet that by this we may know the way for us to take.” When someone is charged with a crime, if they do not have the means to hire a defense lawyer, they are assigned one by the government. These defense attorneys usually do not know their client, and do not care about the outcome of the case on a personal level. They are just doing the job they have been assigned. But Jesus knows and cares about us personally. He understands our struggle with sin. So we can approach God’s throne of grace boldly because we know that our defense attorney, if you will, knows us on a personal level and is ready to defend us before God.
Third, we can approach the throne of grace boldly because we have a high priest who knows our need. Hebrews 4:16 reads, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” This final verse encourages us to make our petitions before God in prayer, looking towards Him to meet our needs. Bryce Morgan said, “I’m sure that most of us, when we hear a message or read something on the subject of prayer, most of us start to slide down in our seats, or start to feel guilty all of a sudden. Why? Because the reality is that most of us struggle with prayer. We simply do not pray as we should. And usually we come up with all sorts of excuses for why that is. I’m too busy, or I can’t find a quiet place, or I can’t stay focused, or whatever. But what we see here is that prayer, drawing near to God, is so often driven by a sense of need, and a sense that God is the only one who can meet that need. The simple truth is, oftentimes, we don’t really see a need to pray because we don’t see our real needs. If you look back on your life and think about those times when you prayed the most, you will probably find some pressing need that was very pronounced, some need that was driving you to your knees: a sick family member, a broken relationship, a national tragedy. But if these are the only kinds of things we would describe as ‘needs’, then yes, maybe we won’t feel motivated to pray; maybe only in those really stressful times. But shouldn’t we be needier than that? If we are living the life God has called us to live, then we will be praying very regularly. Why? Because that life, the life of faith is a life sustained by the mercy and grace of God. I keep coming back to the title of that old hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour”. When we think we can deal with challenges and truly impact others and find real answers and make a lasting difference, all on our own, why would we pray? But when we recognize how much we need God’s mercy and grace, we will cry out to him in every circumstance. And if we feel led to cry out to him, the author is telling us here, that we can cry out with confidence.”
Because of the sacrifice provided on the cross, we can approach God’s throne of grace through our high priest Jesus the Christ with confidence and boldness, throwing ourselves upon his mercy to find help in our times of need.
John Newton wrote:
Behold the throne of grace!
The promise calls me near:
there Jesus shows a smiling face,
and waits to answer prayer.
That rich atoning blood,
which sprinkled round we see,
provides for those who come to God
an all prevailing plea.
My soul, ask what thou wilt;
thou canst not be too bold;
since his own blood for thee he spilt,
what else can he withhold?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.