Jesus understands us perfectly. Whatever struggle or challenge we may be facing, we can be sure that He fully understands and sympathizes with our situation: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Moreover, Christ’s understanding nature isn’t some passive kind of sympathy for His people. The author of Hebrews goes on to say that the Savior has granted us full access to His throne as an unlimited reservoir of grace and mercy. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
The One who understands us perfectly will also provide for us perfectly.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Jesus Christ knows our temptations and will lead us out of them.
Most ancient rulers were unapproachable by the common people. Some would not even allow their highest-ranking officials to come before them without permission. Queen Esther risked her life in approaching King Ahasuerus without invitation, even though she was his wife (Esther 5:1–2). Yet any penitent person, no matter how sinful and undeserving, may approach God’s throne at any time for forgiveness and salvation—confident that he will be received with mercy and grace.
By Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, God’s throne of judgment is turned into a throne of grace for those who trust in Him. As for centuries the Jewish high priests once a year had sprinkled blood on the mercy seat for the people’s sins, Jesus shed His blood once and for all time for the sins of everyone who believes in Him. That is His perfect provision.
For Jews, the idea of having direct access to God was unthinkable, because to see God face to face was to die. When God gave His law to Israel at Sinai, He “said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever’” (Exodus 19:9). But after the people had cleansed themselves according to His instruction,
The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.” (Exodus 19:20–21)
After the Tabernacle was built, and later the Temple, strict boundaries were set. A Gentile could go into only the outer confines and no farther. Jewish women could go beyond the Gentile limit but not much farther. And so it was with the men and the regular priests. Each group could go nearer the Holy of Holies, where God’s divine presence was manifested, but none could actually enter there. Only the high priest could enter, and that only once a year and very briefly. And even he could lose his life if he entered unworthily. Bells were sewn on the special garments he wore on the Day of Atonement, and if the sound of the bells stopped while he was ministering in the Holy of Holies, they knew he had been struck dead by God (Exodus 28:35).
But Christ’s death ended that. Through His atoning sacrifice, God the Father is now accessible to any person, Jew or Gentile, who trusts in that sacrifice.
To make this truth graphic, when Jesus was crucified “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” by God’s power (Matthew 27:51). His death forever removed the barrier to God’s holy presence that the Temple veil represented. Commenting on that amazing truth, the writer of Hebrews says,
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19–22)
How can anyone reject such a High Priest, such a Savior—who not only permits us to come before His throne for grace and help, but pleads with us to come in confidence? His Spirit says, “Come boldly all the way to God’s throne—a throne of grace because of Jesus. Come all the way up; freely receive an endless supply of grace and mercy whenever you need it.”
(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews and The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 1–8)