Our High Priest

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin .”Hebrews 4:15

When we are challenged by the difficulties of life, it may help to meditate on the verse above. Jesus, although God, was also fully human and experienced many of the same situations that we do. For example:

  1. He was betrayed by a friend (Judas)
  2. He felt overwhelmed by His mission (in the Garden of Gethsemane)
  3. He grieved when His friend Lazarus died
  4. He was rejected in His home town
  5. He was tempted by the devil in the desert
  6. He became angry with the moneychangers in the Temple
  7. He allowed Himself to become weak and be arrested
  8. He suffered when he was beaten
  9. He was ridiculed by the guards
  10. He appeared to be a failure when he died on the cross

How did he manage to endure all this without sin? He prayed; He turned to the Scriptures; He trusted God; He kept His mind of His mission and His goal, instead of the esteem of the world.

We’re not perfect, like Jesus. We will sin. But we can follow His example, and be comforted.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Being a Good Steward of our Pain

A couple of our authors have blogged in the past about pain, both emotional and physical.  Henry Nouwen, who was a Dutch Catholic priest, writer and theologian believed that pain is something we can use.  He said:

“Your pain is the concrete way in which you participate in the pain of humanity.”

According to Nouwen, we have two choices when it comes to pain.

  1. We can focus on the specific circumstances of our own pain, which can easily lead us into anger, resentment and even vindictiveness.
  2. We can move from my pain to the pain. We can realize that our particular pain is only a share in humanity’s pain.  This view allows us to forgive and enter into a truly compassionate life.  It makes our suffering easier to bear.

The second option is the way that Jesus took when he prayed on the cross:

“Father, forgive them;  they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34

If we are good stewards of our personal pain, we will come to understand and appreciate the pain of others.  We can let pain teach us to be more like Jesus.  He suffered pain to save us from the ultimate pain of separation from God.  How are you using your pain?  Have you let it make you bitter?  Or better?