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Accept The Help

Accept The Help

11 December 2019

Accept The Help
Jim Stephens

Reading: Philemon, Hebrews 1-4

14 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. 15 We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. 16 So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. (Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG)

These are such encouraging words to me today! I taught from this scripture in a message I spoke in two of my favorite churches recently. It’s about a God who lived as a man so he could experience what I experience and understand how I think and feel. It’s about Jesus, my High Priest—the one who represents me to God and God to me. And it’s about the reality of my daily struggle with the battle between religion and faith.

Once again I’m reminded:
• That Jesus is in touch with my reality.
• That Jesus has been through weakness and testing—experienced it all.
• That I can walk right up to Jesus, my High Priest, without fear or intimidation.
• That Jesus is freely offering mercy and help.
• That Jesus loves me just as I am, not just as I ought to be (because I’ll never be just as I ought to be…)!

Like the Jewish Christ followers this book-letter was originally written to, I still wrestle with simple faith in what Jesus has done versus performance-based religion. For them it was Jesus plus ritual religious practices. For me it’s more Jesus plus doing all the things on the “Good List” and not doing all the things on the “Bad List”. In Eugene Peterson’s introduction to The Message translation of Hebrews, he says, “We become fussily religious or anxiously religious. We get in the way!”

The reality is that Jesus knows the struggle—been there, done that—and he really understands. Jesus offers mercy when I mess up and gracious help when I’m trying to get it right.

Prayer:

Father, Thank you for mercy and help so freely offered in the hands of Jesus. Today I renew my faith in Jesus alone and my determination to turn away again from performance-based, “Jesus plus” religion. I receive the mercy and accept the help at the hands of Jesus. Again. Today. Amen.

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