Without the platform of the sermon (something I have chosen to steer clear of in the context of my own community), I have been trying to imagine what ways I have of teaching and communicating my discoveries and insight. Of course, I have been doing the blog thing for such a long time… but often the writing doesn’t come as readily as the words and ideas. Dialog is my way… conversation and questions. Not necessarily answers. I want my thoughts to be given in context and relationally. At this point in my life, it is the best I have to offer.
Yet, I still have this writing medium, and the beautiful thing is that I can use it however I want. Our Sunday night Gathering has been going through Hebrews… interestingly coinciding with the twice in a row similar sermon series as our good friends over at Oasis Church. Tonight, we are dialoging with each other and the author of Hebrews from what he wrote in 4:14-5:11. Here he talks about Jesus being the “great High Priest” and talks about what that means… what it meant for the high priests of the Jewish people and what it means for Jesus. There is much mentioned about Jesus being able to empathize with those he is there to shepherd.
The question I keep going back to is to reflect on the person in my life (at one time, currently, or not yet) who knows me better than any other person. Who is it? What is it about this person that makes them special? If not yet, what do I hope for in this person knowing me? And what does it mean for them to be the one who speaks out in my favor? I imagine someone knowing me better than any others… knowing of my inherent goodness, and the times when I am “ignorant and go astray.” In this awareness, he / she knows their own flaws and can speak in my defense with humility and grace. What more can I ask for? But then again, is my life worthy to be defended? If someone had my back, would there be much there?
As I believe that I am to follow Jesus and be as much like him as possible, there is so much I glean from this passage in my own response to people. Granted, I will never take the sins of humanity upon myself and I will not be able to live without sin. I do long to be a spiritual leader in the way of Jesus and so therefore cannot overlook things in this section of Hebrews. The author speaks of Jesus living into his role in a number of ways.
- In reverent submission, learning obedience through suffering. This is so important for us as the last thing we want to do is submit, suffer, or have to follow some obedience code.
- Awareness of where he fit with God. He was to be a great leader… in the order of one of the greatest priests in the history of the world. Melchizedek, the priest who was affirmed and devoted to God but totally outside the religious system of the Jews.
- Humility. Jesus, and other high priests, are able to sympathize and be gracious with the people because they have experienced the life and temptations of those they are seeking to shepherd. They don’t want to be in the position they are in, but they take it with honor, knowing that it is God that has called them to the position that they have. In this, those that are being shepherded can have confidence, that the one who has their back really does know them and loves them.