Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4: 14-16
This verse hit me like a ton of bricks this week. This is why I love the power of the gospel; the life, death, and resurrection of Christ never ceases to amaze me in its enormous relevance to my own very personal context. What left me in awe about this passage that I have read so many times is Jesus’ thirty years of life before His ministry began. The four gospels do not go into great detail about the years between one and thirty in the life of Jesus.
Everything about Christ’s life on earth from day one was deeply intentional and premeditated from an eternal perspective. What was the intrinsic, intentional motivation of Jesus’ day to day life as a maturing young man? This is what is so powerful about this passage of Hebrews “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus Christ, the all knowing, all powerful, Creator of both the most intrinsic, microscopic neutron and also the same Creator of the galaxies that are too vast to be measured, came down to earth to live a sinless life, identifying himself completely with the weaknesses and temptations of humanity.
What baffled me in this passage is that Jesus understands the depravity, weakness and temptations we are subject to because He entered our world. For thirty-three years, He lived among us, gathering data and experiencing the nature of fallen humanity. Not even a second of Jesus’ time on earth was wasted or without intention. Not only did Jesus’ life pass the test that Adam failed, but in doing so He acquainted Himself deeply with the life that all of us live as a result of the fall. He entered our world and His understanding is first-hand and complete.
I was so deeply convicted once again by the incredible and perfect example of the life of Christ. He spent over thirty years living, identifying, being tempted so He would know us. At this point this knowledge not only comes from His attributes of being omniscient but also His experience, through His incarnation.You may be a bit inquisitive as to why I would be convicted by this. Allow me to explain; Christ spent 90 percent of his life and ministry on earth identifying with and knowing us. I am humbled to say that my own personal ministry with the students at The Village, at times hardly parallels with Christ’s ministry on earth.
I pay much tribute to my “intuition” and “spiritual discernment” that a student hardly finishes telling me of their personal dilemma or crisis and I have already listened, assimilated the information, and come up with a plan for action, all the while quite impressed with my ministerial gift and spiritual discernment. I was convicted with this passage in Hebrews because if my ministry philosophy paralleled with Christ’s, then after carefully and actively listening to my student’s personal crisis I would begin to engage in knowing the student and the crisis better. My goal would be to take inventory of my student from a 360 degree angle in order to most accurately bring them to the knowledge and truth found in the Scriptures.
“Since Christ is our model for personal ministry, we too want to understand people so that we can serve him in their lives. We too must be committed to entering their worlds.” – Paul David Tripp
Let me encourage you, parents, student pastors, youth leaders, and all those called to this great commission, to parallel your philosophy and strategy of ministry with that of Christ. To engage, to listen, listen some more, ask open ended questions that reveal the heart, and in this to know your student well that you may lead them well and accurately to the inspired word of God where through the ministry of the Holy Spirit true transformation and reconciliation is found.