Sunday, February 24, 2013

6:04 PM

Hebrews 5:2 - "He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness."


It has been said of Christians that we are the only army in the world that shoots our own wounded.  And sadly enough many times that is true.  We are sometimes quick to condemn and quick to judge.  We can be quick to listen to the sermon and say, "well the pastor let old so and so have it today didn't he?"  We are good at seeing the speck in other people's eyes while ignoring the planks in ours.  Or to be more truthful I am.

We are quick to point out others faults and we can be quick to deal harshly with other because of that.  The Bible however says that a "high priest can deal gently with other people, since that high priest himself also deals with weakness."  The writer of Hebrews makes a good point doesn't he?  We should be graceful in our dealing with other Christians because we are sinners just like they are.  We all are "beset by weaknesses" and therefore should come along beside of each other and encourage each other.  We should pray for one another, love one another, and deal gently with one another.

Sometimes that is hard to do though isn't it?  And yet the writer of Hebrews says this is what a high priest did and he stood as an example to the entire congregation of Israel.  Beyond that and more importantly however Jesus is our great high priest.  He is not beset with weaknesses, in fact He is perfect, but He understands us because He has been through what we go through.

Hebrews 4:15 says, "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."  He has been through all that we go through, yet He went through it without sin.  He has been through temptation, difficulties, relationship problems (see how His family treated Him at certain times).  He has experienced pain and loss and all of that.  He understands what we go through, so when we struggle on this journey of life He is able to deal gently with us.

Think about how He treated the thief on the cross.  The thief looked at Him and said, "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom."  And Jesus said, "today you will be with me in paradise."  He dealt with him gently didn't he?  The thief just moments earlier had been mocking Jesus and making fun of Him, but now when he turns to Jesus, Jesus treats him gently. 

Why? Not because of how good the thief was.  Not because of the thief's good deeds.  Not because of all of the religious things the thief had done (presumably he wasn't religious at all). Jesus treated him gently because of the grace of God.

A high priest had many duties in the Bible and one of those duties was to be a Godly example to the people.  Jesus is our great high priest and what an example He is too us.  He stands strong against sin, He loves, He heals, He prays, He encourages, He shows the importance of the word of God.  He is our example and He deals gently with us, so we ought to deal gently with one another. 

Sometimes that is hard to do isn't it?  Sometimes it means forgiving others, sometimes it means not arguing, sometimes it means loving when we don't feel like loving.  We must deal gently with one another.  Why? Because Jesus did, and because Jesus taught us to, and because the Bible says "they will know we are Christians by our love."

The world knows we are Christians by our love.  Not by the fish magnets on our cars, not be our Christian T-shirts, not by the amount of money we spend at Lifeway.  They won't know we are Christians by our Chris Tomlin CDs or our church attendance.  They won't know we are Christians by us knowing every word to every hymn in the 1973 Baptist hymnal (even though that would be extremely impressive), they won't know that we are Christians by any of those things.  They will know we are Christians by our love, so we deal gently with one another, for the glory of God.

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