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#418 – Sympathetic Resonance (Hebrews 4:14–16)

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“Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:14-16)

Oh, these verses are so good. They contain such glorious and comforting truth. There’s so much we could talk about in them. But I want to point out just one thing, right in the middle of this passage I just read. Verse 14 talks about, we don’t have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are yet without sin. This verse is emphasizing the humanity of Jesus, how He is like us, how He has experienced temptation and trial like we experience. I would say even to fuller extent than we experience. In a sense we give in to temptation far sooner, we don’t experience the full brunt of it. Jesus experienced the full brunt of it, because he never gave into it.

When we walk through temptations and trials, we have a Great High Priest who echoes our hurts and trials. We can approach His throne boldly and there find grace and mercy in our time of need.

So, the picture we have in Hebrews 4:15 is right now Jesus is at the right hand of God and He is able to sympathize with us. He knows what it’s like when we face temptation and trial. We have a high priest before God who is able to identify with us, who knows what we are walking through. There’s a great musical term called sympathetic resonance. When I first heard about this, I thought what an amazing picture of who Jesus is as our great high priest. So, basically, sympathetic resonance, if you have two pianos in the same room and you strike a note on one. Say, you hit middle C on one piano, the other piano even though nobody’s over there, that same note, middle C in this case will slightly resound. The strings will actually echo what has been heard and played on this other piano. So, you hit one note and this other piano over here will resound with the same sound just automatically. And I think now, that is a powerful picture.

When you and I walk through temptation and walk through trials there is a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God in heaven whose humanity is the same as ours, and He resounds, He echoes our hurts, our challenges, our trials. Which is why verse 16 says, “So, let’s approach His throne with boldness so we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”

So, let’s do that. Oh God, we come before you through Jesus, our great high priest, and we have all kinds of temptations we’re facing in our lives right now, all kinds of trials were walking through. And Jesus, we look to you right now in prayer, and we know that you are able to identify with us in these things. Lord you are not unfamiliar, you are able to sympathize with our weaknesses. As we hurt, we know you know what it is, they’re hurt as a man. As we experience sorrow, you experienced sorrow. As we walk through trial, you walked through trials. We experienced temptation, you experienced temptations.

Lord, we look up to you and we say, help us. You know what this is like, you know what we’re walking through right now. You know what it’s like. So, help us, we pray. We come to you with boldness and we ask for your mercy, for your grace to overcome temptation, to endure in the middle of temptation and to walk through the trials we’re walking through right now. And we praise you for your identification with us.

Oh, this is glorious oh God, that we have a great high priest in Jesus that you have provided, who is able to sympathize with us and to pour out grace and mercy upon us right now amidst the needs in our lives. All glory be to your name. We pray before your throne with boldness in Jesus name. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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