“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, KJV 1900)
I have had bosses who were so distracted, impatient, or arrogant, that I could never go to them for help in time of need. If I struggled with a task and asked for help, they would bark back at me. Perhaps they would give me a look of disdain. So, I would always be timid about going to these bosses to find help in my time of need.
The author of Hebrews has been writing about the supremacy of Jesus over the priests. In the past two blogs, we looked at two reasons. One of these is that Jesus passes through the heavens to take up His role as the great high priest in the Most Holy Place, to be our eternal mediator. The other is that He is the sympathetic great high priest who has gone through the same temptations we have, which gives us a comfortable approach to Him.
These two thoughts combine with the conclusion that we can always come to the throne of grace with boldness to find mercy and help in our time of need. Because He is our eternal high priest, He is always available to be our advocate and intercessor. Because He is sympathetic, we have confidence to approach Him.
Let us consider the Jewish-Christian audience to whom the author wrote this letter. Their background would be much different than ours. They came from a religious system that was steeped in an understanding that righteousness came from following the religious practices of circumcision, festivals, Sabbaths, and dietary restrictions. They would have to endeavor to follow the codification of the Law established by the elders. It is likely that many had family members and friends still practicing Judaism. It is also likely that they were bombarded with arguments from some of these, trying to persuade them to quit Christianity and come back. It probable that they were undergoing various forms of religious persecution. For many who intellectually assented to the truth of the gospel, the temptation to fall back into their former religious system was ever present.
This temptation to fall back along with all the other temptations they might encounter could be more than we might understand. Yet, often when we are struggling in a trial, there is a temptation to say, “What’s the use? This Christian thing is just not working. Why not give it up? Eat drink and be merry.” In these times of temptation, it is great to know we have a sympathetic high priest to whom we may go with boldness.
The author tells us to go with boldness to the throne of grace to find mercy and help in our time of need. The word translated boldness in the KJV, parresia¸ refers to boldness, confidence, and courage in speaking. We are encouraged to go to Jesus and speak openly, honestly, and with bold confidence, when we have struggles. It is ok to be like the man that had the boy with the unclean spirit who went to Jesus for help and cried out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24, KJV 1900)
When you are tempted to give it all up, cry out to Jesus for help. Do so boldly and confidently. He tells us that He will give us mercy and help in our time of need.