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by Pastor Jeff Morlock
There are lots of things I wish I could do with confidence: hit a golf ball straight, converse fluently with my Ethiopian friends in their native language, comfort people who are in pain or grieving. But the truth is that I do so many things tentatively, uncertain of the right way to proceed, afraid of failing or giving offense. Fear of doing or saying the wrong thing is prevalent today in our social media call-out culture. In a world full of people infected by sin, it is an absolute given that each of us will do or say something that will hurt or offend someone. And when that sin becomes obvious, judgment tends to follow. Judgment from ourselves, from our loved ones, from strangers online. It’s enough to make a person timid. We can become so cautious of once more of doing or saying the wrong thing that we might even hide our true selves, striving to give the appearance of always being completely put together and in control. I find this denial of my true and imperfect self to be exhausting. The dishonesty weighs me down.
But four words in today’s reading make all the difference - the "throne of Grace." A throne indicates power and authority. Grace conveys sympathy and understanding. And these two characteristics are combined in Jesus, our “great high priest.” Under the old covenant the high priest offered gifts and sacrifices to God to atone for the sins of the people. He was the mediator between God and Israel.
Thanks be to God that our great high priest, Jesus, has more than a theoretical understanding of life on planet earth! He faced all our temptations head-on. He has felt every pressure and experienced every distraction. He has encountered every fear and been beset by every anxiety, yet without failure, without sin. As our great high priest, Jesus made a once and for all sacrifice by offering himself up to death for our sin, demonstrating both God’s justice and mercy.
For this reason, you and I can approach the throne of grace boldly. We can admit our need for help confidently, knowing that our fearful, broken-hearted, honest selves will be met with open arms.
Close your eyes and picture entering the throne room of the King of Kings. Seated on his throne, he smiles, arms outstretched, waiting for you. What praise will you offer him? What burden do you need to release? What guilt do you need to confess? What help do you need to request, either for yourself or others? Spend some time telling Jesus these things and listening for what he wants to say to you today.