Pentecost 21

October 18, 2015


Text: Hebrews 5:1-10


          When I was approached a few weeks back about the possibility of our worship service including the skit that was presented earlier in today’s service, I must confess I did so without seeing how well that skit might interface with the lectionary Scriptures for today. Well, as you may have noticed from the Scriptures, the interface is far from seamless, especially since it was suggested to me I might want to focus the service on angels.

          The only book of the Bible out of the four we read from today that has much to say about angels is Hebrews. Moreover, what it says about angels is that Jesus is far superior to the angels, yet became human, a little lower than the angels, in order to become the source of salvation for all who obey him, a high priest who intercedes before God on our behalf.

          The part of the skit that I believe connects best with today’s Scripture from Hebrews, is not that we’re dealing with angels, but rather the idea that in Jesus we’re dealing with someone who understands our weaknesses and gives us a second chance. As you recall in the skit, Rosaline, the angel who was trying to earn her wings, listened to the Devil and blew her chance. Or so it appeared. Instead of receiving whatever punishment might have been expected for her failure, she was treated with understanding of her weakness and given a second chance and the help she needed to get it right.

          This is what Jesus does for us. The writer of Hebrews tells us Jesus is our great high priest. High priests, we are told, are able to deal gently with the wayward and ignorant because they themselves are also prone to weakness and sin. In coming to be one of us, Jesus also experienced weakness and temptation as we do (although without sin) and suffered because of our sin. Hebrews reminds us that in the midst of his earthly suffering “Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who could save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. After he had been made perfect, he became the source of salvation for everyone who obeys him.” He deals gently with our weakness and sin, forgiving us and helping us to become the people he wants us to be.

          A lot of people seem to have the idea that God’s response to our sin and weakness is to kick our butts. But that’s not the God I see in Scripture in Jesus Christ. In Christ there is compassion and forgiveness and second chances. He understands what it’s like to be human, because he lived as a human on this earth. He understands what it’s like to be tempted, fallible, and weak. Let us turn to him for forgiveness in our sin and weakness, and seek his help to become the people he wants us to be.


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