5 In the same way Christ also didn’t promote himself to become high priest. Instead, it was the one who said to him,
You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father,
6 as he also says in another place,
You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.
7 During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. 10 He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
Usually, when we talk about Christ’s sacrifice, we think about his death on the cross.
Notice that the writer of Hebrews wants you to think in terms of a very different kind of sacrifice: Jesus’ tears. Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, how he prayed and cried that he might be spared from death. Jesus’ anguish over the cross – and by anguish, I mean not just his physical suffering, but his mental, emotional and spiritual pain – becomes part of the sacrifice he offers to God.
When is the last time you cried? I know, most of us try our best to avoid it. We lock our grief and disappointment up deep inside so that it can’t affect us – so that we can keep functioning. Most of us are experts at this. Most of us feel like we don’t have the luxury of falling apart. It’s not human, necessarily – it’s more mechanical – but sometimes it feels like all we can do.
But Jesus modeled a different way: he let his fear, sorrow, and grief show. He broke down. He poured it out to God as a sacrifice, an offering. Our Savior didn’t try to keep the world’s pain at arm’s length. Instead, he let it in. In those moments, his anguish was every bit as much a part of his humanity as the blood that flowed in his veins. And so his tears – his divinely human tears – became a part of what he offered the world.
Sometimes, we cannot by our strength do great things to fix the world’s brokenness. Sometimes, all we can do is let the world in, even if that means we have to break down over it from time to time. In Jesus’ moments of anguish, he demonstrated what it means for us to be truly human. If our God was willing to do this for us, how can we not do that for each other?
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
We are not machines. When things go wrong in our lives or in our world, it affects us. We break down. And that’s ok. Today, if you need to, give yourself permission to feel the world’s pain, or your own. Give yourself permission to cry. In doing so, you may find that you are recovering a sense of your own humanity.
Prayer: God, so often we hesitate to let any pain in, fearing that we might not be able to bear it. Remind us today that we don’t have to, that you’ve already borne the pain of the whole world. Strange as it sounds, we ask today that you would let us feel even just a little bit of the world’s hurt, so that we might become just a little bit more human. Let the tears that flow be our sacrifice, the offering we make in solidarity with hurting people everywhere. Amen.