Thursday of Lent V – Hebrews 5:1-10

1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
    after the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

We had a good idea, but would they listen to us? We were writing a grant proposal. We firmly believed in what we were trying to do, but they had the money and in order to do it, we needed some of that money. And so we had to craft a grant application. It was tedious and a great deal of work. Finally, the day came. We put all the documents together into one file on the computer, attached them, and hit the “submit” button. What would they do? Would our proposal be rejected? Would our project die for lack of support?

Soon we received word from the grantor. We had made it past the first step. Now there was more work to be done. They had questions, lots of questions. Again, we furiously wrote and researched and crafted our responses. Again, we submitted. Again, we waited.

The writer to the Hebrews in this passage brings us to see one of the aspects of Jesus’ incarnation which we too often forget. Jesus was really a human being. He was not some serene, superior sort of man who was never beset by doubt, fear, or anxiety. How the infinite God can also be finitely human is a mystery which is beyond any of us to understand. He shared in all our frailty and weaknesses. He did not sin, but he was tempted. He learned how hard obedience is through suffering. He offered up cries, tears, and prayers to One who saves from death and He was heard. God did raise him from death to perfect life and His eternal role as our high priest.

We may not understand it, but the writer to the Hebrews wants us to hear the good news of it. Jesus gets you. He understands you. He knows you. He deals gently with the ignorant and wayward because He Himself is beset with our weaknesses. We got the grant I wrote about above. God heard the prayer of Jesus. Jesus, risen from the dead, knows what it is like to be a human, facing death, tempted, afraid, and in pain. Pray to him today. He is ready to listen.

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