Sketched VII Day 15 Nikki: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why is Jesus referred to as a “great high priest?” (verse 14)

2) How can Jesus sympathize with our weaknesses? (verse 15)

3) What is the throne of grace? (verse 16)

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.

Original Intent

1) Why is Jesus referred to as a “great high priest?” (verse 14)
In Hebrews 4:14, Jesus is described as the “great high priest who has passed through the heavens.”  Pastor Stephen J. Cole describes the importance of the office of the high priest to the Jewish people saying, “Moses’ brother Aaron was the first high priest.  He was the mediator between the people and God. He and his fellow priests offered the sacrifices on behalf of the people. They had to follow a detailed procedure spelled out by God.  Any variance or innovation meant instant death.”  Stephen J. Cole goes on to explain “once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest alone would go into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for all the sins of the nation. . . Jesus is not just another high priest in the line of Aaron.  Rather, He is our great high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7)  A high priest was well respected and revered in Jewish culture, so to call Jesus the “great” high priest was to point out He was greater still than any earthly high priest.  He is the sinless God who sacrificed Himself on our behalf, making Him our great high priest, worthy of all praise.

2) How can Jesus sympathize with our weaknesses? (verse 15)
According to author David Guzik, the ancient Greeks thought “the primary attribute of God was apatheia, the essential inability to feel anything at all. Jesus isn’t like that. He knows and He feels what we go through. The ancient Greek word translated sympathize literally means to suffer along with.”  Author R.C. Sproul suggests “Jesus can sympathize with all our weaknesses because He lived as a human being and experienced the things we experience.” Author David Guzik asserts that not only did Jesus experience every temptation we experience, but because He never gave in to temptation “He knew the strength and fury of external temptation in a way and to a degree that we can never know. He knows what we go through and He has faced worse.”  Jesus even experienced 40 days of being tempted by the devil while He was fasting in the wilderness. (Luke 4:2) Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because He knows first-hand what we go through when we are tempted.

3) What is the throne of grace? (verse 16)
According to author Stephen J. Cole, in the ancient world “a throne was a forbidding place of sovereign authority and judgment.  If you approached a throne and a king did not hold out his scepter, you were history!”  We see this scenario threatened in the book of Esther, when Queen Esther risks her life to appear unbidden before the King as she pleads for the salvation of her people. (Esther 4:16Hebrews 4:16 urges Christians to “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”  In contrast to the naturally fearful approach people would have to a king’s throne, the author of Hebrews describes a throne of grace where we can approach confidently and in expectation of good things. Charles Spurgeon describes His as “a throne set up on purpose for the dispensing of grace; a throne from which every utterance is an utterance of grace; the scepter that is stretched out from it is the silver scepter of grace; the decrees proclaimed from it are purposes of grace; the gifts that are scattered down its golden steps are gifts of grace; and he who sits upon the throne is grace itself.”  We have access to this throne of grace through the work of Christ on the cross. (1 Peter 3:18)  We can do nothing on our own to deserve this grace.  When we accept Christ’s forgiveness and trust in Him, He gives us free access to His unmerited favor.

Everyday Application

1) Why is Jesus referred to as a “great high priest?” (verse 14)
I have been a Christian for over 40 years, which means I have had access to the grace and love of God most of my life.  However, I sometimes find I have become insensitive to the benefits and blessings of Christ and don’t recognize the miracle of His work in my day to day life.  Thinking of Jesus as my great high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) helps me focus on the tremendous sacrifice He made for me at Calvary. In the Old Testament, a high priest would make sacrifices to atone for the sin of the people, but Jesus sacrificed Himself to atone for my sin. I want to remember His holy love and His shed blood are what make my day to day possible. Without Him I would be walking wounded, lost and searching, headed toward eternal darkness. (Romans 6:23) But the sacrifice of Jesus, the Great High Priest, gives me victory and lets me walk in His light daily. (1 Peter 2:9)

2) How can Jesus sympathize with our weaknesses? (verse 15)
When I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy, all of the sympathy and support I received was comforting, but the words and hugs that ministered to me most were from women who had also experienced a pregnancy loss.  I appreciated how they knew and understood the grief I was experiencing.  The fact that Jesus was tempted in every way and can sympathize with my weaknesses is encouraging to me in the same way.  He isn’t just commanding me to withstand temptation.  He knows how difficult it is and how weak I am, and He has compassion for me. Pastor Dave Harvey asks us, “So are you feeling weak today? Smacked around, perhaps, by temptations? Have you just printed some invites to your own pity-party? The good news of the gospel includes a great high priest. A Savior with a love so vast that he drops into the mundane moments of our weakness and temptation and says, “I get you, and I understand.”  Not only does He sympathize, but He also helps me by providing a way out of the temptations I face and makes what I face bearable. (I Corinthians 10:13) We are blessed to have a God who sympathizes with us when we are tempted and helps us withstand temptations when they come.

3) What is the throne of grace? (verse 16)
Grace is the unmerited favor of God.  Nothing I do can earn it or stop Him from bestowing it freely and liberally.  The Lord advises me to come boldly before His throne of grace to get mercy and grace when I am in need. (Hebrews 4:16) I find myself before the throne of grace a lot, because it seems like I am constantly in need of His mercy and grace. I keep a lot of plates spinning, and inevitably they come crashing down now and again.  And when they do, I run to Him for help, and realize I probably should have gone to Him even sooner, or maybe even better, chosen to dwell there longer in His presence.  As assuredly as I fail, He will faithfully help me. Author Susie Larson reminds us When you approach the throne of grace, you can be assured of God’s glad welcome and loving embrace. Why? Because you’re one of His own. Always. Forever. No matter what. Isn’t that just spectacular? Knowing that God invites and welcomes me to pour out my heart to Him and receive from His abundance is truly spectacular!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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