A Lent Reflection for Tuesday, February 28th
By Jillian Evans
Lectionary reading: Psalm 32; Genesis 4:1-16; Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Selected passage: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 NIV
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 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. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
5:1 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” 6 And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
For years, I struggled with always doing the “Christian thing” in every situation. It felt confining to me. I just wanted to break loose from those shackles and do something out of the ordinary. I proposed in my heart that I was going to try to just be myself and let the chips fall where they may. Soon thereafter, I was waiting for a parking space at the gym when a woman came around the corner and pulled in as I was lining up my car to back into the space. I was angry and I thought that this is the day that I will step outside of myself and confront her once I was in the gym. I knew she would be taking the same class as me and I envisioned myself “accidentally” hitting her with my dumbbells or step board. As it turns out, she left the class before it was over. God knew my heart and kept me from being sinful that day. I allowed myself to feel my feelings so I did not feel the constraints that I normally would have. I learned from this situation that God wants me to be the best me that I can be and that did not include feeling stifled. He let me be me and I let Him be God and in the end, we were both happy.
Have you ever been chided for not reacting to a situation as a Christian should? When we take up the cross and carry it every day, some days seem heavier than others. In the selected passage, We are reminded that Jesus empathizes with our weaknesses. Jesus walked the earth like us and was tempted to sin just like us. We will suffer temptation in this life to do wrong. It’s how we respond to the temptation that matters. Even if we falter, verse 16 tells us to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” As humans, we will fall short but God’s grace and mercy are sufficient and abundant to cover us.
The next time you are feeling “less than Christian,” contemplate how God sees you. If it helps, journal about both the situation and how you think God feels about you.
Thank you for creating me in your image. Thank you for giving Jesus to be the example of how to avoid sin in the face of temptation. Though I may not always live up to this example, I am confident in your grace and mercy. Thank you father for accepting me as I am and loving me always.
In Jesus Name, Amen
About the Author
Jillian Evans is a Spiritual Director in Chicago, Illinois. She is passionate about children’s ministry and has spent over half her life in ministry to children and their families. She and her husband are recent empty nesters with a son and daughter in college and one daughter who is a college graduate working in Washington DC.