Scripture: Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 ESV
Observation: Having encouraged this spiritually immature church to submit to God’s Word that quickens our spirits and exposes our sinful motives, the author of Hebrews reminds these young Christ-followers that the Son of God passed through the heavens (4:14). So what does it mean that he “passed through the heavens”? That Christ left his position of glory to live with and die for us and then return to his rightful place of honor enthroned on high. And in the course of living with us, even though our Great High Priest never sinned, he did face temptations. Thus, he understands our human plight and sympathizes with our struggles to resist sin (4:15). With this in mind, our author exhorts the church to reverently draw near to Jesus in prayer, confident that he will extend his mercy and grace to us to help in our times of need (4:16 above).
Takeaway: The above verse does not support a “name it and claim it” mentality to prayer. It’s not about getting what we want from God, but receiving what God wants for us. Indeed, what is in view here is a prayer expressed in gratitude for what Christ has done for us. He has narrowed the distance between our holy, loving Creator and us. How? By his life, he resisted temptation (and did not sin), accomplishing what humankind could never attain: perfect obedience to the law. By his death, Christ satisfied the penalty for sin that the law could never achieve: bringing complete and lasting reconciliation between God and his people. Therefore, we have every reason to approach his throne of grace with confidence, knowing that he desires to give us what he already knows we need: his mercy and grace.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who lived and died for us that we might obtain your mercy and grace to help us in our times of need. Would you please help us approach your throne of grace with humility expressed in gratitude for and confidence in your loving and merciful Son who sympathizes with our struggles? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling