The Throne of Grace

Several years ago I visited the beautiful African country of Rwanda. My daughter was there during her junior year of college working with a humanitarian project for African women. While there, we kept hearing about the endangered mountain gorillas that live on the tall volcanos along the western border. My daughter and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to go on a gorilla safari to see these amazing creatures up close.” But we learned that visiting the gorillas required a special government permit costing almost $1,000 per person. Even if w001e had the money, it would take months to get a permit. We had little hope of seeing the mountain gorillas.

003We were staying in the home of a man named Jean Paul. He was a citizen of Rwanda. He spoke the language and knew the people in power who assigned permits. He also knew us well, he sympathized with our situation, and wanted to help us. He told us that gorilla safari permits were really only expensive for tourists. For the citizens of Rwanda, permits only cost $75. He gave us some forms to fill out and said, “Let me talk to some people.” In a few days he came back with two permits. He said that because of our humanitarian work, the government of Rwanda agreed to give us permits for $75 each. It was an amazing gift. During our long hike to one of the volcanos, w004e were able to get so close to the gorillas that I was able to take a photograph of a beautiful 400-pound silverback male, no more than twenty feet away. Without Jean Paul’s help, we would never have been able to see these magnificent creatures up close.

This story is similar to our new Bonus Verse – Hebrews 4:15-16. It tells us about someone who wants to help us, someone who understands what we’re going through and who sympathizes with our need, someone who speaks the language, who knows the person in power, and gives us a most amazing gift. He gives us access to the throne of heaven. That person is Jesus, our great high priest. Maybe you didn’t know that Jesus was a high priest. The Bible tells us that Jesus is a prophet, priest and king. And this passage tells us that he is our great eternal high priest. Whenever we pray, Jesus gives us access to the “throne of grace.” He gives us access to God. We don’t just pray on our own. We pray through Jesus. He makes our words known to the Father.

My favorite part in this passage is at the very end where it says, “to help in time of need.” If you want to be a fully educated person, you must know where to find help when you need it. There are lots of places where we go to find help: our parents, our teachers. Some people find help from Google. Some read books or talk to experts. But if you want the very best help from the greatest “expert” in the universe, then you have to go to Jesus. Because He understands us better than anyone, He sympathizes with our weaknesses, and He gives us help when we need it.

 “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 4:15-16

By: Stephen Danish, Head of School