10 It was appropriate for God, for whom and through whom everything exists, to use experiences of suffering to make perfect the pioneer of salvation. This salvation belongs to many sons and daughters whom he’s leading to glory. 11 This is because the one who makes people holy and the people who are being made holy all come from one source. That is why Jesus isn’t ashamed to call them brothers and sisters when he says,
12 I will publicly announce your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you in the middle of the assembly.[a]
13 He also says,
I will rely on him.[b]
Here I am with the children whom God has given to me.[c]
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who holds the power over death—the devil—by dying. 15 He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death. 16 Of course, he isn’t trying to help angels, but rather he’s helping Abraham’s descendants. 17 Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way. This was so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, in order to wipe away the sins of the people. 18 He’s able to help those who are being tempted, since he himself experienced suffering when he was tempted.
Hebrews was written for a community of Jewish Christian converts who were experiencing persecution and began to doubt whether they should continue to believe, or go back to their previous lives. Under all the social and religious pressures of their day, they were thinking about calling it quits and giving up the struggle.
Today’s scripture is a beautiful explanation of why, when we’re discouraged, we need to hang on to our faith and rely on God.
Like those early Christians, we too face social and religious pressure that can make us doubt or tire of the struggle to follow Jesus. Wouldn’t it be easier to just walk away? But then this scripture tells why we need to persevere, because God loves us and were not alone in the struggle. God loves us so much that God sent his special child Jesus, into the world as a human, so that Jesus could be one with us, all human kind. Jesus experienced all our joys and sorrows, and Jesus faced death on our behalf. God knows what we’re going through because Jesus experienced suffering and temptations just as we do. We call this the Incarnation, divine love in human form, walking among us on earth.
Jesus totally relied on God and in God’s redemptive plan for the world. Jesus became our Savior, who out of his great love for us, took the sins of the world onto himself and died for us on the cross. Jesus reconciled us to God and gave us eternal life. Through salvation we are made new and join God’s eternal family. Death and fear are vanquished by God’s love through Jesus. No longer alone, we are set apart and made holy, as Jesus is holy, to grow and serve in the world as God’s children.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
This Lenten season, do you feel like giving up? Maybe you have doubts, you’re tired or discouraged. Jesus was faced with the choice to follow God or walk away from the cross. But every day Jesus totally relied on God. This is our example we follow, to put our trust and ourselves into God’s loving arms, to let the love of God fill and renew our souls, to try again and say, “I will rely on you, God.”
Prayer: Holy and loving God, there are days we doubt and struggle. There are days we feel like walking away. Fill us with your Spirit, strengthen our faith and like Jesus, help us to rely on you. Amen.
As We Begin Lent
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.