We've been seeing that the book of Hebrews is simply giving an in-depth look at the person and work of Jesus. As some have been apt to say, “The book of Hebrews is the most Christocentric book of the Bible.”
The author's aim in this has simply been to call his audience to take a closer look at Jesus and see how great he really is.
For instance, this past week I attended a preaching workshop in Columbus. We spent 2 and a half days digging around in various texts of Scripture, talking about their structure and how the Lord would want us to preach these texts. It was a good time.
During the break time there were some of us who went over to the gym and played a little 3 on 3basketball. It provided a good mental break. But there was one guy who I guarded. He was—how shall I say—not exactly thin. He had the build that kind of said that he used to be an athlete, but the glory days have since passed. Do you know what I mean? He wasn’t fat or completely out of shape. He’d simply looked like a guy who wouldn’t be much of a threat on the basketball court anymore.
Boy was I wrong. Since I had sized him up like I just explained, I didn’t think I had to take guarding him too seriously. And the first time he got the ball, he proved me wrong. They passed it to him and he sunk a three point shot, as easy as if it were a layup. I thought to myself, “Well, I better give this guy a little more respect.”
So the next time he got the ball, I played him a little tighter. But he did it again. He swished another three pointer; this time right over me. By this time we are losing and I think, “Alright; Game on!” But no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop the guy. It was almost as if he had heard the conversation that went on in my head and wanted to say to me, “Who is the washed up player now, old man?”
The point of it all was that my first impression was not what it should have been. He didn’t look like someone I needed to respect. What I needed (and what I got) was a closer look at how great he really was.
That’s what we have here in the book of Hebrews. We are getting a closer look at Jesus and we are coming to see just how great he really is. After all, there are a lot of people who don’t size up Jesus the way they should. And it may be due to the fact that the first glance at him isn’t all that revealing. He’s a Jew who died. Sure he is celebrated by many as the Savior of the world, but there’s not much to him. He was born in a manger, he didn’t have any beauty that we should behold him, his whole life was spent running around in a bunch of obscure towns in the back woods of the Middle East. Maybe he did some miracles & all, but there’s a good chance we see him in a rather dim light.
Well, here in the book of Hebrews, we are being given a real showcase of how great he really is. And again, in our passage, he’s coming out to play a little one on one with the high priest. So far we’ve seen that there really is no contest in this match up. Jesus has already been proven to be superior. Last week we saw the first three point shot swish. Our passage this morning provides us with another.
What we have here in this passage is a direct comparison and contrast of the two. In the first 4 verses the office of the high priest is essentially laid out. Then in verses 5-10 it presents us with some facts about the high priestly role of Christ. And there are three things that you are to take home regarding Christ’s high priestly role. The first is the right Christ has to the high priestly office.
I. His right to the high priestly role
The passage emphasizes that a high priest must be specifically designated by God for his job. This is not something that one simply applies for or takes up on his own initiative. The right comes directly from God.
Look at the very first verse. It starts out by saying that every high priest “is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God.” You see here that you can’t simply be elected by running a good campaign. No. You have to be appointed to the position, just like a federal judge.
Verse 4 makes it even more explicit. It says, “No one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.”
You may remember how, back in the Old Testament, God specifically designated Aaron as the first high priest. God told Moses to take Aaron and ordain him to this office.
So the person who became the High Priest had to be chosen specifically by God for the job. And the text goes on to point out that Jesus was just that guy. Look at verses 5-6.
“So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"; as he says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek."
He basically repeats it again in verse 10. It says there that he was “designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” We’ll come back to this whole idea of the Melchizedekian priesthood in chapter 7. That is an interesting area to probe. But the point here is that Jesus is a guy who wasn’t simply voted in by the populous. Neither did he usurp the role. He gained the right by the direct decision of God himself.
Now, why is this a thing? Well, it was important for the fact that in the time that this was written, the guy who was the high priest wasn’t there legitimately. The office of the high priest had been highjacked by political gerrymandering. The Romans had come in and taken over. And in the midst of that there was a family that basically paid off the Romans in order to gain control of the high priestly position. It was a little Chicago style politicking.
After all, the high priest had a cushy job. There was a lot of notoriety in it. You had a lot of influence in the life of Israel, not to say that there was a good deal of money in it.
But the author here makes a great point. In a winsome way, he basically says, “How’s that whole high priest thing working for you?” Go ahead. Go on back to your Judaism and your old high priest. You know downright well that it’s a bunch of corrupt bunk. Talk all you want. You know he’s not a legitimate priest.
It would be kinda like having a president who is reluctant to divulge his birth certificate. It throws doubt on the whole organization.
So chalk one up for Christ. For these zealous Jews, the answer should be obvious. Jesus is the one who is rightly entitled to the office.
But it’s not just the right he has to the role of high priest; it’s his rightness for the position. If you are going to talk about who is the best high priest, you got to think about who best fits the job. And the author here seeks to make sure that Jesus is just the right man for the position.
II. His rightness for the high priestly role
Look at the first verse again. It says that “every high priest [is] chosen from among men.” This is emphasizing the fact that the high priest is one who is a man. And this may not seem like a big deal to us, but it is important that the high priest be one of us. That ensures that there is proper representation.
Think about it this way, who do you want going to Washington DC to represent you? You would prefer someone from Ohio, right? At the very least, you want someone who has lived in this region and therefore knows your values and has an idea what is important to you. You’d probably be a little grumpy if someone from the state of New York went to DC representing you. You’d know that he’d probably not care too much about you and your interests.
The same is true when it comes to our form of church government. Why is it that we have elder rule in our church? Why don’t we have bishops and cardinals? Well, the ultimate answer is because the bishopric is not biblical, I know. But why did the Lord institute the Presbyterian form of government? It was so that you could have one of your own representing you. Presbyterianism is a republican form of government and it is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected. You get to have one of your own members lead you, rather than some joe from Timbuktu who has been appointed by some random bishop in another state.
That’s how it is for the high priest. The high priest had to be a man; he couldn’t be an angel or something else. If he was, he couldn’t represent you and sympathize with you the way he should.
Look at verse 2. It says that the high priest, “can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.” He’s a man, so he knows what it is like to be you. And he can most adequately do the job in representing you before God.
Now look at verse 7. Look at how he starts that off. He says, “In the days of his flesh.” He’s reminding you that Jesus was incarnate. He was a man. He came to identify with you so that he could most properly represent you.
But it goes on to say that during the days of his flesh, “He offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death.”
Now, a lot of the commentators say that this refers to the Garden of Gethsemane. They point out that it was during his trial there in the garden that he had the intensity of prayer that most describes “loud cries and tears.”
I beg to differ though. I believe that these prayers were offered all through his earthly ministry. We don’t have record of it. There is no specific passage of Scripture to which I can point. But we do see him going off to be alone to pray quite frequently. And what was he doing during those times of prayer? He was acting as your high priest. He was interceding on your behalf. And you can be sure that he was offering up prayers and supplications that had urgency and intensity to them because he sympathized with you. Since he came into this world and took on flesh, he knew your needs in and intimate way. And I would suggest that this made him all the more zealous to act on your behalf and petition the Father with vigor and passion.
I don’t think that there can be any question that Jesus was just the right man for the job. He did not just have a right to the position. But his being incarnate authenticated his rightness for the position.
But there is one more thing that distinguishes Jesus high priestly role. And that is his righteousness.
III. His righteousness in the high priestly role
In verse 2 we noted how the high priest was able to deal gently with people because he himself was beset with weakness. You’ll notice that it goes on in verse 3 to say that it was for this reason that he was obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
So, what I think you walk away with is this: The sympathy of Aaron and the other high priests was a sympathy of sin and shame. It was their fallen-ness that was the basis for their identification with the people. That of course, puts a large ding on the office of the high priest: He himself is a sinner who represents sinners. It is like having a lawyer who is a thief representing thieves. There is something inherently wrong about that.
This is where Christ stands in contrast. Look at verse 7 again. There at the end it says that his prayers were heard because of “his reverence.” Then in verse 8 it says that he “learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”
Herein is the contrast: Jesus does not identify by his sin and shame, like other high priests. He identifies by means of his suffering. It was the pain that he experienced that really allows him to connect; and it is His obedience sets him apart as uniquely fitted for the job.
Now, let me quickly comment on verse 8. That is a verse that is a little hard to understand. It says that Jesus “learned obedience through what he suffered.” It is difficult for us to grasp this because we can’t understand what it means for him to “learn obedience.” After all, wasn’t he perfect? If he was sinless, how could he have to learn obedience?
This is where you have to keep in mind that there are two kinds of knowledge. There is a theoretical knowledge and an expereincial knowledge. There is a knowledge that comes by books and there is a deeper knowledge that comes by experience.
For instance, when Adam and Eve were told that they should not eat of the fruit of the tree, they knew that eating of it was wrong, didn’t they? They knew that if they ate it they would be disobeying. God told them and he imparted that knowledge. But that knowledge was basically theoretical, wasn’t it? Once they bit into that fruit, they gained a whole new idea of what it meant to disobey God, didn’t they? They now knew it from experience.
Or, how about this: When you were younger, you might have taken drivers ed classes to learn how to operate a car. You probably listened to the lectures and maybe even read a book about it. So you knew how to drive a car right? Well, yes and no. You still hadn’t gotten behind the wheel of a car. It was a lot different to actually sit in the seat and have to push the pedels at the right time with the right feet. You really didn’t learn how to drive until you did that. Once you gained that experience, then you were qualified to get your license.
That’s the kind of thing going on here. Jesus knew what it was to obey. Being the perfect Son of God, he instinctively knew it. But in his incarnation he gained a whole different perspective on obedience. He learned how hard it is to obey. He learned what it was like to be tempted. He learned how tantalizing sin can. He came to realize in a distinct way how appealing it is to take a shortcut or fudge the truth.
And like we said last week, that really makes him able to identify with you. Having gone through all that makes him feel the same pain you feel.
But in all this he learned obedience in a grand new way. Up until his incarnation, he never knew obedience like that before.
And that is what makes him perfect. And that is what makes him able to be the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.
And this is the final three point shot that seals the deal. It is what really distinguishes him as the only one who is really qualified to be your high priest. He is the only one in all history that has the righteousness. And his spotless life allows him to be both the priest and the sacrifice. It was because of his reverence that he was “saved from death.” That is to say, his obedience allowed him to be raised from the dead and seal for us a victory over the grave.
We joke by saying, “Who is in Grants tomb?” But there is no joke when it comes to the tomb of Christ. Every other high priest lies rotting in the grave. They are all a bunch of corrupt fools.
But there is one who has been raised up out of the grave. And it is this Priest that grants us eternal life.
Vince Lombardi, famed coach of the Green Bay Packers, is renown for his pep talks and quips that urged his players to dig down deep and press on for victory. On one occasion he said this,
“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.”
The book of Hebrews was written to some Hebrew Christians who were being persecuted. And in this book he is seeking to get them to persevere through the rigors by convincing their minds. He seeks to impress upon them how precious Christ is. He shows them that Christ is superior to all and worth dying for.
This is really the key for us too. How is it that we are going to persevere in our day? It is only if we are fully convinced that Jesus really is supreme.
Take, for instance, the story JC Ryle once told of the first martyr under Queen Mary. John Rogers was his name. He was he was being led out to be burned a French Ambassador remarked that Rogers looked as bright and cheery as if he were going to his wedding day.
How could someone face martyrdom with that kind of attitude? Well, it is only if his mind is convinced that Christ is the greatest, most precious thing on earth.
This is the key to our perseverance in the faith as well. We will face the rigors of opposition only if we are convinced that Christ is supreme, and really worth dying for.
Again, that is the purpose of this book. Its purpose is to show us that Christ is supreme and the only thing worth dying for.
So far in our study we’ve seen how Jesus is greater than the angels and greater than Moses. In our passage today, we turn to deal with another stellar figure from the OT: the High Priest. The high priest was one of the preeminent figures in the OT because of all the pomp and ceremony that surrounded him. He has a special function in the life of Israel and he wore special apparel that set him apart and distinguished him from the rest of the people in Israel.
Our passage through, begins by telling us that “We have a great high priest.” And it goes on to show us just how great our great high priest really is. And our passage gives us 5 reasons why Jesus is a greater high priest. Jesus is superior because of where he has gone, who he is, what he endured, what he lacks, and what he provides.
Why is Jesus a greater high priest? He is greater because of where he has gone.
I. Where he has gone
In the first verse it says that Jesus “passed through the heavens.”
This is, of course, in contrast to the ministry of the other high priests Israel had known. Aaron and all his successors all labored on earth in the temple or the tabernacle.
Now, this topic of Jesus going into the heavens will be dealt with in more detail in chapters 9 and 10. But it is mentioned here as something of an introduction. He’s wishes to highlight Jesus’ superiority by reminding us that, unlike Aaron and the temple priests, Jesus actually entered the very presence of God.
So the difference between Christ and Aaron is analogues to the difference between making a telephone call and standing personally before the one with whom you are trying to connect. Or, perhaps a better analogy would be to say that the difference is like difference between playing house and actually being grown-ups who have a house.
The priests on earth were, in a very real sense, playing “house.” They went into the Tabernacle or the Temple year after year to perform their sacrifices. But theses edifices were not the real dwelling place of God. They were shadows and crass mockups of the real place of God’s presence. Even though the temple and the tabernacle were said to be the dwelling place of God, he only dwelt there in a minute or symbolic way. So the men who entered the Holy of holies were never really entering the presence of God in the truest sense of it.
But Jesus isn’t playing house. He entered the heavens, and as a result, he really and truly entered the God’s presence—something no man could ever do.
Why is this important? It is because now stands in the presence of God acting as our mediator. You might say that God the Father has as a constant reminder that our sins are forgiven because Jesus is interceding for us and bearing the scars of his sacrifice.
Charles Wesley once wrote a hymn that reflects on this idea. In reflecting on Jesus’ ascension and his passing through the heavens, he wrote
Arise, my soul, arise. Shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on his hands.
He ever lives above, for me to intercede,
His all redeeming love, his precious blood to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Not one high priest could ever be as great as Christ because Christ goes where no earthly priest has ever been able to go.
Jesus is greater not just because of where he has gone, but he’s a greater priest because of who he is.
II. Who he is
Look at verse 14. Look at what it says there about Jesus. The author identifies exactly who it was who passed through the heavens. He says it was “Jesus, the Son of God.”
He’s distinguishing Jesus here from every other high priest that ever lived by pointing out that Jesus is divine. Now this is a good thing to keep in mind, at least for two reasons.
The first is simply to recollect the reverence that Jesus demands. The Jews probably boasted in their high priest. But the author here really puts them in their place by reminding them that Jesus is not even on the same plane. He draws our eyes up, in other words, to make sure we don’t simply think we are comparing apples to apples. Jesus is unique because of his deity and he is due reverence because of it.
My friend once was in Cleveland and she had gone in to a run of the mill corner convenience store to grab a few things for her road trip. She got in line behind a tall-ish fellow to check out. But of course, you know how it is when you are waiting in line in such circumstances. You look around at all the bubble gum displays, and you marvel at how much a candy bar costs nowadays. You just kill the time by doing all those mundane things. When it was finally her turn to check out, she said the cashier let out a huge sign and started fanning herself. My friend of course was taken by surprise and she asked, “Is everything ok?” The cashier responded, “That was Lebron James!” And she went on and on about how she couldn’t believe that she had come face to face with him and had the opportunity to do the check out for Cleveland’s greatest basketball player. She was about to faint because of the encounter.
My friend just laughed and laughed because, to her, this guy was just another joe checking out in a corner convenience store. Here, she had been elbow to elbow with Lebron James. And all the while she was more enamored with the bubble gum wrappers.
But it all boils down to this: She didn’t recognize who he was, and so she didn’t have the same reverence for him as the cashier did.
That’s kind of what we have going on here. The author is saying, “Let’s not treat Jesus Christ like any other high priest who might be in line at the Circle K. Let’s be sure you understand that this one ranks far above all other priests because he is very God of very God.”
But there’s another reason why the identity of Christ is brought out here. It helps us understand the full implication of Christ’s representation of us before God.
You remember, that’s what priests did. They represented the people to God and they interceded for them. They came before the Lord in order to ask for God’s favor to be given to the people. And that is what Jesus does. And his being Son of god is what makes his priestly work superior in that sense.
Sometimes my kids will be out playing with the other kids in the neighborhood. And sometimes they will want to do something. Maybe they will want to go over to the field or get the hose out and spray it. You know what they do? They nominate one of my kids to come ask me. They say, “Go ask your dad if he will take us to the field.” Why do they do that? Why do they send one of my children on that mission? It’s because he knows that their relation to me gives them a distinct advantage.
And who else has a closer relation to God the Father than the Son? Who is more apt to secure God’s favor on your behalf? Is it some guy who wears a funny hat or God’s own Son?
I think it is pretty obvious then, who is greater.
His being a greater high priest is not just owing to where he has gone and who he is. He is also greater because of what he endured.
III. What he endured
Look at verse 15. It says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are.”
The author here is pointing out that Christ is not so far removed from us that he cannot identify with us. You might get the feeling from what has been said so far that he can’t. He’s off in the heavens and he is divine, so how can he relate to us? He doesn’t seem to have any real connection to me on any real human level.
But the author writes to say that that’s not true. He does connect with us. As a matter of fact, he can empathize quite well because he has endured all the same temptations and trials we have. He is not just the lofty Son of God, but he was the incarnate Christ; the one who took on flesh and lived right here on earth in the midst of all its miseries. And in his earthly life he experienced the full range of human life.
That’s why it says He is able to sympathize with. I like that word; the Greek word is sunpathos. It literally means “the same feeling.” Jesus, because of his incarnation, is able to feel what we feel because he has experienced it personally himself.
We’ve all had the experience of “pain” when we see someone get the wind knocked out of them. It’s because we’ve all had that experience at some point. We can sympathize because we’ve all had the wind knocked out of us at some point.
And this verse is telling us that Christ can have pity on us because he himself has been touched with the same kind of pains, the same kinds of afflictions, the same kinds of temptations.
I actually like the illustration Kent Hughes uses in his commentary. Hughes says that if you have two pianos in a room and a note is struck on the one, the same string vibrates on the other piano, even though no one has touched it. It is called sympathetic resonance.
And Hughes says that Christ has sympathetic resonance. When we are struck, there is something in Christ that resonates. There is a pity that he feels because he has felt it too.
And again, this is all owing to his humiliation and incarnation. In becoming man he experienced every point of human weakness. Hunger, sorrow, grief, rage, scorn. You name it, he felt it.
And, let’s be frank, he felt the most extreme forms of it. In being the Incarnate Son of God he was tried and tempted unlike anyone else.
We usually think of his being tempted as contained to that one time in the wilderness when Satan came to him. But that is not in the least bit true. He knew the enticement of temptation because he faced it every moment of his life. After the transfiguration, when Peter said, “Let’s stay up here on this mountain” do you not think that that was a temptation to Jesus? Did not the safety and security of that mountain entice him? Sure it did. At the bottom of that mountain was a cross.
And make sure you see that it says that he was tempted in all points as we were. Do not miss that part of this text. He was tempted in every respect as we were. So there is not one way in which he cannot identify with us.
Some people like to think that Jesus did not experience everything. How can he identify with me since he was never divorced? He obviously wasn’t in that situation. But keep in mind that he knows what betrayal and abandonment feels like. He was abandoned by his closest friends, which is the very essence of divorce, isn’t it? So he knows how it feels and he can sympathize.
Well, he never felt drunkenness before. You are right. But don’t you think that he had the desire to escape the problems of this world? As he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he wanted to escape. And isn’t that the reason why most people drink? It is to escape their problems? He might not have ever been a lush, but he certainly can identify with the core of that problem.
So, here again we see the excellence of Christ. He is a man who endured much, and therefore he is able to sympathize much. He certainly can sympathize more than some obscure high priest.
At the end of verse 15 it goes on to say that Jesus was without sin. “He was tempted in every way, ‘yet he was without sin.’” It is noting here not just what he endured, but also what he lacked.
IV. What he lacked
Jesus is a greater high priest not just because of what he endured, but what he lacked. Jesus never once sinned, and that makes him greater than all the other priests.
This is something that will be highlighted later on in our study. The author will come back to deal with how the priests had to offer sacrifices for their own sins in chapter 10. But he mentions it here as something of an introduction.
Theologians have typically expanded on this verse by saying that Jesus was not only without sin, but there was never a chance that Jesus could sin. This is a doctrine that theologians call “the impeccability of Christ,” and it is a deduction from his being divine. Jesus maintained an impeccable record because, as the Son of God, he was not able to sin.
The messiah needed to be God in order to sustain the onslaught of temptation and remain guiltless. But as God, there was no way for him to fall prey to temptation. We know from another Scripture that “it is not possible for God to lie.” God cannot go against his nature. So too for Jesus in his earthly life. It was not possible for him to defy his divine nature. So he couldn’t sin. And all his life was then without sin.
Now, many people will then conclude that Christ’s sympathy is not real because of this. They will say that since he was divine—and since he couldn’t fall into temptation, he didn’t really know what the temptation was like.
But we shouldn’t think that his impeccability eased or erased the allure and the enticement of the temptation. He did have a human nature, after all. And every temptation would have had a real draw to it. The appeal would have been the same to him as it is to you.
You can think about it this way. A man who wears a bullet proof jacket into a shoot out, theoretically, cannot be killed. But if a bullet hits him, he’s still going to feel the impact of it. He won’t die. The bullet won’t pass through him. But he’s still going to feel himself get slugged.
That’s kind of a good analogy. Christ, as divine, couldn’t fall into sin. But when the temptation came, he certainly felt it. He knew its power and still was impacted by the enticement of it.
Actually, it would have been worse for him. He would have experienced the infinite degree of it because it ever danced before him!
How easily we fall into temptation. The enticement hardly begins to warm before we succumb to it. But Christ had to continually deny himself the satisfaction of it. And that would have made his temptation infinitely beyond our experience.
So if you say, “He can’t identify with my situation.” There may be some truth to that! He cannot identify with your puny experience because his experience was far beyond what you could ever imagined.
I am speaking facetiously, of course. He does sympathize. He certainly can identify with you in your weaknesses. And his being without sin makes him a greater priest.
But all this really culminates in what he provides.
V. What he provides
Look at verse 16. “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.”
Everything that has been said here has been leading to this point. By his passing through the heavens and being without sin he has become the perfect means of atonement. By this sacrifice Jesus has provided a way for sinners like us to draw near to God.
In the ancient times, the entrance into the holy of holies had a sign that read “Employees only.” Most all the people of Israel were banned and not allowed to come close to it. Only the high priest was allowed to enter, and that only once a year. There was no sense of access for them.
As a matter of fact, they were threatened and told not to draw near. Think about how God appeared on Mt. Saini. You may remember that God told them to stay back. If they even came near the foot of the mountain their lives would be in jeopardy.
But with Christ, everything changes. He allows us to draw near to God. He opens the door to grant us access to God. And this verse says we can with confidence draw near. I actually like the other translations a bit better when they say, “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” That gives you the real sense of the depth of access that we have.
I mentioned before how the word confidence means freedom of speech. We have boldness to come to God because we are not encumbered with fear or interpretation. Instead we can pour out our hearts and show him our need for his grace and mercy.
All my children know that when I’m in my office and the doors are closed, they are not supposed to bother me. They know that this is work time for me and they are to leave me alone. But it never fails that something will happen and our three year old will start wailing. She may get hurt or get in trouble with mommy, and she’ll immediately head for my office. She’s still in that phase of life where she doesn’t understand what those closed doors mean. And she will barge right in wailing both lungs blaring.
I could yell at here and turn her away. But I know that won’t do any good. That will only make the situation worse. The best thing I can do is simply turn to her and begin to comfort her.
That’s the kind of access that Christ provides for us. The only real difference is that God is not as begrudging as I may be with my daughter. When we come to him, wailing and pouring out our hearts, he welcomes us with love and grants us the mercy and grace we need.
 JC Ryle, At the Pulpits of Liverpool.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.