Friends in High Places
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
The writer of the Hebrews talks about a peculiar paradox. He talks about a High priest who is Holy but also can empathize with this congregation. Traditionally, the High priests are picked from the specific tribe - Levi. They live peculiar lives and are completely set apart from the rest of the tribes of Israel.
Naturally, over time we see that priests live lives that are separate from the lives of their congregation. The more the congregation grew, the more difficult it was for the priest to understand the needs of each of his flock and tend to them individually. The High priest was God's representative among the people.
By the time of Jesus and his disciples, the High priest even wielded political power and controlled how the people thought and acted and lived in aristocratic circles instead of being a bridge between God and the common man.
But the High priest mentioned in Hebrews is not an elitist. He is the great High priest. The one above all. But He has not removed himself from his flock. Instead, He stoops down to feel what they feel. He is pained when they are hurt. He weeps when they mourn.
We should count ourselves infinitely blessed to have such a High priest. Jesus, our Lord continues to mediate for us as our priest in Heaven even though He suffered through the same trials and temptations we face and emerged victoriously.
An earthly High priest would have used this victory to look down upon his flock and create an inferiority complex between himself and the congregation. But our Lord is gracious. He knows that we are unable to rise up to his presence and so He repeatedly comes down to lift us up to Him.
If you are alone or hurting. If you feel that life is too heavy and the people around you just do not understand. If you see that the seemingly Holy people around you have resorted to judging your failures instead of offering a comforting reassurance, let this be the day you know that you have a High priest. He will not abandon you at your lowest. He has walked the same paths. He knows the way out of this mess.
Jesus, your High Priest, is more than just a mediator to the Father to rescue you from your circumstances, but also a true friend who will comfort you in your pain.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:15-16