14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We have a great high priest, and his name is Jesus. As we continue through Hebrews, the importance of this statement will become more and more evident. The writer is talking to people who knew the role and position of the high priest. This high [priest is not just any priests. He is the one who anoints and swears in all the other priests. He is the one who instructs the priest on how to do the sacrifices correctly. They did not just kill the animal, but there was a sequence of events that took place that contributed to the transference of sin from the one giving the animal to the animal. There was a specific way to kill the animal; The high priest had to make sure this was done properly all the way through, an oversee you might say.
The high priest had another duty as well. It was the high priest who went into the Holy of Holies once a year with a blood sacrifice for the nation of Israel, to atone for all of Israel’s sin. Only the high priest could do this on the day of Atonement. No one else dared enter the Holy of Holies lest they die. In this place was the ark of the covenant, which was the most sacred item in all of Israel’s history. The tablets of stone with the ten commandments, Aaron’s rod and some manna were in that ark, and they remain there this day. It would be an archeologists dream to find that Ark. Jesus has atoned for our sins in this same way as we will discover.
Jesus also faced the same earthly temptations as we do. Some of them are written. In Matthew 4 we read about his temptations in the wilderness. He was tempted to walk away from the cross when praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have no doubt there were many other temptations that came across His path as he walked this earth. But He never gave in to any of those temptations. This goes to prove that there is no sin in being tempted, as even Jesus was tempted. Those who teach temptation is a sin deny that Jesus was w sinless sacrifice. The key is that we don’t give in to those temptations that would cause us to sin. We must walk away, using the word of God to strengthen ourselves against those temptations. Jesus sued 3 verses out of Deuteronomy and the devil left him! We should know the promises that God gave us as well.
Verse 16 is one of the most widely mis-used verses in the Bible, in my humble opinion. It is often quoted by those who believe in a prosperity gospel message. They say we can come boldly before the throne of God and claim things are ours, as if God is a magic potion or gift giver of all that we desire in this world. They say we should come boldly and ask for that Cadillac, or that vacation home, or to have riches or fame. They say we should boldly hold God to His promises to bless us and give us the desires of our heart. They say we should boldly proclaim that we can ask what we will and it shall be done. After all, each one of these is a scripture promise that he has given us, right?
But the writer makes a big distinction in this verse about why we should come to the throne with boldness. It is not to ask blessing on ourselves, or for worldly goods, or for material things. It is to ask for mercy and grace. We come boldly before His throne to obtain mercy. Mercy for sins, trespasses and iniquity in our lives. Boldly means confidently. Paul was telling the Jews that they could come to God’s with confidence when they need to obtain mercy in their lives. And who among us does not need His mercy. I need it every day. There are words that I say and things that I do every day that are displeasing to Him. But as a Christian, I do not have to worry about those things. I can confess them to God, come boldly asking for mercy, and He will supply that mercy. That is one reason to come boldly.
The second reason is to find grace in time of need. We have no business asking God for grace because it is a free gift. It was given to us at the cross 2,000 years ago. It is given ti us every day in the sunrise, the rain, the air we breathe. Grace is always all around us. His grace is not what we are asking for here. We are asking Him to give us grace toward those who have needs. Grace that we can give out, not Him to us. As a society in the US, we have such a sense of privilege that we think we need things other countries only dream of. I need a big screen TV! I need cable. I need a great car. I need, I need, I need. We confuse need for want way too often. Then we cry out for God to shower grace on us so we can get these wants. Instead, we should be asking Him for grace so we can bless others with these things! Let this be your prayer: “Lord, give me the grace to deal with that person who offended me”. “God give me the grace to offer to help that person financially.” “God, let your grace be apparent in my life to that neighbor who is lonely and full of sorrow.” These are prayers we can come boldly with! Let us always remember whop God is. He is not some slot machine where we can pull an arm and have Him give us what we want. He is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God of the universe. He has no obligation to grant our prayers on our timetable or in the way we want Him to. He will always do what is best for us. When we come boldly before His throne, We should come in all humility, down on our knees in deep reverence. Remember, He loves the one with the broken and contrite heart, and He hates pride. Always keep this in mind when approaching His throne.