On Tidings of Comfort and Joy
"Therefore, since 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 cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16 NASB)
Have you ever wondered why Christmas is such a big deal? What on earth is so important about the incarnation of Christ when our salvation and reconciliation to God is actually accomplished through His crucifixion? What is the link of significance between the atoning work of the Son of God and the human life of the Son of Man? It has always perplexed me that God could have placed Christ into the world as a fully-grown human man, ripe for the immediate fulfillment of the plan for redemption, but He didn't. Christ arrived as a lowly, vulnerable infant and progressed through the same phases of growing up that any human being must experience (Luke 2:40, 52). What is it about these characteristically human aspects of Jesus' life that adds a special element to redemption we have in Him? Hebrews 4:15 offers a clue to this when it says that "we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" (NASB). The fact that Jesus lived a life full of sorrow and happiness, hunger and provision, land and water, and youth and maturity, all without giving into the temptation of evil, is well worth celebrating. God Himself came down to earth and experienced the full spectrum of human life in a way that enables Him to actually sympathize with us in our own humanity as we struggle to seek and know Him. A weary world rejoices, indeed!
Father, thank you for the birth of Christ. I praise Your plan for redemption through Him! I am so grateful that I have a high priest who is not far off, but who knows what I have to go through as a human being in this world. Help me to follow His example of a life well lived—in pursuit of You and in rejection of all that hinders me from knowing, obeying, and loving You.
What aspect of your life do you tend to forget that Jesus can sympathize with? How does this knowledge affect the concept of casting your burdens on God (1 Peter 5:7)?