Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This verse, like so many other verses in the Bible, is like standing on top of Snowdon, looking and seeing different things every time. Wherever you gaze, there’s some word or truth that gives another, different view. Notice these words:
1. Then (therefore)
The previous verses speak of the Lord Jesus Christ as High-Priest. This is the man who, in the Old Testament, represented the people and went into God’s presence on their behalf, with a sacrifice. The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself as a great, satisfactory Sacrifice for our sins, but note what else he says about the High-Priest. He sympathises! “He suffers with us in our weaknesses”. He knows what fear is and what it is to be lonely!! Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid to go to Him in prayer, even if we have never been before.
This is a word that tells us we can be bold with God! We must be careful not to misunderstand this. Jesus Christ told a parable about two men going to pray. The first is a very religious man and is bold before God, listing all the good things about himself. The other man is nervous and prays one short prayer – “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”. Jesus Christ tells us that it’s this nervous man who was in a right relationship with God as he had trusted that God had compassion for him. And this is the confidence we can have as we come to God in prayer. Throughout the Bible we hear that God welcomes sinners who, through grace, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s the same word in Acts 27:17 (support). There Paul is in a boat, and during a storm on the sea and they had to put ropes under the boat to stop it from disintegrating!! It’s exactly the same word for supports that you see here in Hebrews 4:16. The support that embraces and maintains us. These are the eternal arms of Jesus Christ supporting us (Deut. 33:27). The people of Jesus Christ are the ones who are weak and who fail. You may feel like this during the pandemic. But we know that the strong supports of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ sustain us in the storm.
4. Help in time of need
There’s a story in one of Corrie Ten Boom’s books about her as a little girl and her father has bought her a train ticket to go on holiday to her grandparents. Corrie looked forward to going on holiday and asked her father every day – “Have you bought the train ticket?”, “Are you sure the ticket is valid?”, “Can I see the ticket?” But the day came for Corrie to go on her holiday. Her father took her to the station, put her on the train and gave her the ticket through the window not a second before he had to. And that’s the promise for us – grace supports us in our time of need! Our work is to trust!!
Keep safe and well – in body, soul, and spirit.
Dewi Tudur. (Eglwys Efengylaidd Ardudwy)