Jesus understands Hebrews 4:14-16

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit! O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.

We all know about the privilege of prayer. We all know about the power of prayer. But I am also sure that the second half of that verse is true of each and every one of us sometimes. That each one of us has things we DON’T pray about when we could.

Perhaps there are things which bother us but which we think God wouldn’t care about.
Perhaps there are things which we feel are just too small, too trivial, to bother God with!
Or perhaps there are things we have prayed for so often and not received any answer, so we don’t bother to pray about those things any more.
Sometimes we think God can’t possibly understand our problems – our worries – our fears – our weaknesses. How could the all powerful all knowing Sovereign Creator God understand the difficulties we face? So we don’t pray about those things.
Perhaps there are things we are ashamed to pray about? Besetting sins, where we confess and ask forgiveness, but then fall into temptation again, so many times that we are now ashamed to go and confess, Lord I’ve done THAT again!! In so many areas, the hymn has got it right:-
O what peace we often forfeit! O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.

The whole message of the letter to the Hebrews is encouragement to Christians who are thinking of giving up on their faith. In this passage it give encouragement to those who may have given up praying about things because they think prayer doesn’t work, or God doesn’t care, or God doesn’t answer, or God doesn’t understand. The whole letter says, “Don’t give up!”

But why not give up ?? Three reasons:

Hebrews 4:14 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

We hang on in there because wherever we are, whatever situation we are in, we do not face that struggle by ourselves. We are not alone. Jesus is standing there with us. And more than that, Jesus is our great High Priest. He is even now interceding for us!

Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843), pioneer missionary and preacher, wrote, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me!”
We are able to cope much better with all kinds of suffering and opposition and hard times when we realize how close Jesus is to us. We might not be able to see Him, but just knowing that Jesus is right there interceding for us inspires and encourages us and provides us with comfort and support. Jesus is even closer to us than the next room. Jesus is beside us and even inside us by the Holy Spirit. And at the very same time Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of God interceding for us, pleading our case before our loving heavenly Father. So we should hold on to our faith, because we are not alone. Jesus is our great high priest!

Why not give up?? Because

15 we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Jesus has been tempted in every way. In our series on The Lord’s Prayer when we got to the part, “Lead us not into temptation” that the word temptation carries two related meanings. It means being tempted to sin but it also means facing a trial or a test of any kind. And Jesus has gone through all the kinds of experiences which that word embraces. Temptations, trials, persecutions, tests of our faith, Jesus has faced all of these and come out victorious!

Jesus is “not unable” to sympathise with our weaknesses. What that ugly double negative affirms is that Jesus is more than able to sympathise. He understands completely. Whatever our situation: He knows what it’s like! Because when God became man in Jesus Christ, He shared all our experiences of life!

Remember Jesus’s Birth

Remember Jesus’s temptations

Remember Jesus’s Life

Remember the last week of Jesus’s life.

Remember how Jesus died.

Jesus understands our situation completely. He knows what it’s like!

Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

“He learned obedience” – Jesus the Son of God was always obedient. What this passage is saying is that Jesus learned through experience the costs of obedience – just how hard and painful it can be when we try obey God in a world which is rejecting God.
“Once made perfect” – Jesus the Holy One of God was always morally perfect. He never sinned. What that phrase teaches us is that Jesus discovered from bitter personal experience how difficult it is to live a holy life in a sin-spoiled world. Through those experiences Jesus became perfectly equipped to provide salvation for human beings who are trapped by sin. So we should not give up! He knows what it’s like. Jesus understands.

v.1 HE walked where I walk, He stood where I stand, He felt what I feel, He understands.
He knows my frailty, Shared my humanity, Tempted in every way, Yet without sin.
God with us, so close to us. God with us, Immanuel!

v.2 One of a hated race, Stung by the prejudice, Suffering injustice, Yet He forgives.
Wept for my wasted years, Paid for my wickedness, He died in my place That I might live.
God with us, so close to us. God with us, Immanuel!

So we should hang on in there because Jesus understands completely what we are going through. He has been where we are.

Why not give up? Becaise

16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


All of us have times when we need to come back to God for more mercy. We do things wrong. We say things wrong. We think things which are wrong. We leave undone the good we should have done. Sins of commission and sins of omission. We all need God’s mercy all the time.

1 John 1:8 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

The important thing to remember is that when we do sin, Jesus is there, Jesus the righteous one, Jesus our great high priest, Jesus the advocate who speaks to the Father in our defence. Jesus who has offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins! We can be confident that we will always find mercy when we need it.


Mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve. Grace is getting all the blessings we could never deserve. And as well as grace being God’s undeserved favour, the word also has the sense of God’s strength to live a victorious Christian life.

2 Corinthians 12 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It is only in the hard times of life that we come to experience God’s grace in that way. When life is easy and everything is going well we think we can manage perfectly well without God’s help. It is only in the times of weakness and suffering and difficulties and persecutions that we that discover God’s grace is always sufficient for all our weaknesses. So God can use those hard times to teach us the wonders of His grace. The weaker we are, the more we can experience of Christ’s strength. We sang about this last week.

FATHER, HEAR THE PRAYER WE OFFER: Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength, that we may ever Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures Do we ask our way to be:
But by steep and rugged pathways Would we strive to climb to Thee.

Be our strength in hours of weakness, In our wanderings be our Guide;
Through endeavour, failure, danger, Father, be Thou at our side.

Jesus Christ is our great High Priest interceding for us with the Father. But more than that, Jesus is living within us by the Holy Spirit and He is continually giving us His power and His strength to live for Him and to serve Him and to become more like Him. As well as finding mercy, we can be confident that we will always find God’s grace to help us when we need it!


O what peace we often forfeit! O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer.

So Hebrews encourages us: Hang on in there – hold firmly to the faith you profess! Jesus is with us. Jesus completely understands our struggles. And Jesus will help us in every way we need.
The message translation puts it this way.
“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

This entry was posted in Hebrews.

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