When someone comes to our house, one of us has to answer the door. But if you watch such programmes as Downton Abbey, they don’t open their own door, they have servants to do that. The members of the Crawley family are far too important to be greeting everyone on the doorstep. If you get to talk to them, the staff will show you in. No one gets to see the family, without first going through the staff. And if you’re really not very important, the staff will deal with whatever it is you are there for.
5 Every high priest is appointed to help others by offering gifts and sacrifices to God because of their sins. 2 A high priest has weaknesses of his own, and he feels sorry for foolish and sinful people. 3 That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins and for the sins of others. 4 But no one can have the honour of being a high priest simply by wanting to be one. Only God can choose a priest, and God is the one who chose Aaron.
5 That is how it was with Christ. He became a high priest, but not just because he wanted the honour of being one. It was God who told him,
“You are my Son, because today
I have become your Father!”
6 In another place, God says,
“You are a priest forever
just like Melchizedek.”
7 God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshipped God, and God listened to his prayers. 8 Jesus is God’s own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God. 9 Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him. 10 This is because God chose him to be a high priest like Melchizedek.
In the Old Testament, no “ordinary” person was allowed to bring their own sacrifice to God. They were not considered good enough to be able to get that close to him. So Priests were appointed to that task. You took your offering to the Priest, and he would give it to God on your behalf.
Not just anyone could become a Priest, God appointed someone who was “fit for purpose”. But even then, the Priests themselves were not perfect. They still had to bring an offering for their own sin, as well as of those stood outside. Until that was, Jesus…
But Jesus brought something totally different, for he was perfect. He has direct access to God because there is nothing blocking the way between them.
But there is something else that Jesus brings:
Jesus also knew what it was to suffer – and in his case totally unjustly. So when we are torn apart by suffering, both that of our own and that of others that we see, when we wonder what God is doing, and where he is, we can know that he is right in there in it with us. Suffering is a lonely place to be. If we feel that no one understands, it is because they don’t – they are not in the place we are, experiencing what we are experiencing. But when we ask,
Where is God?
he is where you are, where I am. Jesus knew crying and pain, and he cries with us in our pain. God didn’t spare Jesus from suffering, it was part of his lot if he was to be fully human, as he was.
To me, that is what makes him a God worth following. He is not aloof from his creation, but involved in the world. Knowing us, loving us, understanding us and our life. Standing right there with us. That, for me, is what makes the difference.
Thank you God,
that wherever I am,
however I am feeling,
whatever I am going through
you are there with me.
Thank you that you understand
because you have known it too.
Thank you that even when I can’t see you
or feel you,
you are in the midst.