The other day, I was in North Beach and stopped into Sts. Peter and Paul (Catholic) Church. And at the front of the church there is this incredibly ornate altar over which is a mural of Jesus, looking large and triumphant and otherworldly.
It’s a beautiful mural. But I wonder if sometimes our vision of Jesus isn’t a little bit too slanted in this direction. Jesus is magnificent, sinless, perfect, holy, divine, heavenly, far-off, distant, unapproachable. Hebrews 5 helps give us a fuller picture of Jesus.
In this chapter, the author writes that Jesus, as our great high priest, “can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness” (5:2). He doesn’t mean that Jesus is weak in that he was any less than God. But “Christ did not exalt himself” (5:5), and “learned obedience through what he suffered” (5:8). Christ underwent every last bit of human weakness and suffering on our behalf so that he could bear with us in our suffering and weakness. And he underwent all that so that he could become “the source of salvation to all who obey him” (5:9).
As we walk through our day today, I think the Lord would have us remember the fact that Jesus is not just great and magnificent, sinless and perfect, divine and Lord of all. He is our high priest, our counselor, our brother in God’s house, our friend.
He humbled himself for our sake. For the sake of his love for us, he endured far more than any of us will have to. He is our comforter in times of trouble and weakness. He is our salvation.