Hebrews 4:15 – 5:8
The author of Hebrews says in our reading today, “let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.”
Again in Hebrews 10:19 the author writes, “we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.”
Paul says the same thing in Ephesians 3:12. “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”
The Greek word for ‘boldly’ is parrhēsía and it refers to speaking out loudly, frankly or bluntly. We are being told to be outspoken in front of God, not shy. Loud, not quiet. Confident, not bowed by guilt and shame.
Coming before God is what we do when we pray. Our prayers should be bold, loud, confident, blunt, frank, honest. It is not rude or insulting to talk to God this way.
This year we are called to prayer and we are called to make disciples. What will you boldly say when you come before the creator of the universe? I hope you won’t be boldly demanding things for yourself, but will be asking him to help make disciples.
Let’s go back to the beginning of everything.
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Then he created two people and gave them one command. Don’t eat that fruit or you will die. They ate. They died. The lights went out and darkness reigned.
In the kingdom of darkness there was little light, but by what glimmer there was Abraham saw God. So did Isaac and Jacob and Moses. And then with Moses the first light was turned on. A bush burned. A column of fire went before the escaping Hebrew slaves on the road to Canaan.
The light grew and filled the tabernacle. It grew more and filled the temple. And then an amazing thing happened. The light became a person and began to walk around.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12)
And then another amazing thing happened. When that light was killed, all of his followers were filled with the light. Instead of one light, there were now many lights.
Romans 8:10 says, Christ lives within you.
A disciple is a follower of Jesus who has the light within them. We are to fill others with this light until the whole world is filled with light again. This light is life, holiness, glory, love, righteousness, salvation.
We should boldly approach God in prayer and loudly ask for more light for ourselves and all who live in darkness in Jinju, in South Korea and in North Korea.
We come boldly, knowing that he listens. We come in trust, not doubt.
We come in weakness. We come with our infirmities. We come as we are, not waiting to be invited, not waiting until we are holy enough or good enough. We come to a God who understands all of our weaknesses.
Jesus understands everything. He knows exactly how it feels. He has experienced the frustration. Jesus has gone through depression. He understands it.
Hebrews 5:8 – “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.”
Jesus has experienced it all. Whatever you are going through, he has gone through. He is in it with us and he knows what it is like, because he already went through it.
So we can come boldly. The feelings we have don’t mean there is something wrong with us. Jesus had these feelings. We come boldly before a loving parent who understands. God is not scolding us for being weak. He is not like your worldly parent who told you to stop complaining and grow up. He doesn’t get angry because you are showing weakness. He understands because he has also experienced the same weaknesses and had the same feelings.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like the Jesus you have been taught about. The Jesus who is God and never sinned. Turn please to Matthew 26:38.
Jesus is so crushed with despair that he wants to die. You feel suicidal? Jesus felt it too.
Boldly walk up to him and share those feelings, and he will say, ‘Yeah, me too!’
Have you ever been betrayed? Have you been betrayed by those you trusted the most?
Matthew 26:40 – His closest disciples let him down in his time of greatest need. Jesus was abandoned by his friends. They ran away.
When you are in the pits of depression, you find it hard to pray. The last thing you want to do is go before God, boldly or otherwise. It is really hard to pray and you don’t feel God’s presence.
It was the same for Jesus. In his trial he was spat on. He was belittled and insulted. He was despised. He was rejected.
When you feel like that, you can know that Jesus felt the same way.
In his trial and on the cross, he became well acquainted with grief.
Perhaps the worst feeling of all is when you cannot even pray.
Jesus knows what that is like as well. In the Apostle’s Creed it says Jesus “was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell;”
In every way, Jesus has suffered like you. We can come before him boldly as loved ones he completely understands. We come without shame, without guilt.
We belong in front of his throne because we have his light in us. We are children of the light and so we can come boldly and ask for more light for ourselves and our friends. We can ask for light for those who still walk in darkness.
Not only can we, but we are told to do this. We are engaged in a battle between light and dark. God knows all of our weaknesses in this battle. God wants us to come to him for a light boost. We are told in Ephesians 6 to be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. He knows we are weak, and he wants to fill us with his power. Look at verse 12.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
We are coming to a heavenly father who understands our feelings and invites us to share them with him. We can draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, knowing that we will obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need. We can come when we need forgiveness and when we feel guilty for our sins. And we can also come when we are being racked and tormented by the feelings of our infirmities.
God won’t be surprised or shocked by our feelings. He has had the same feelings.
“While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.” (Hebrews 5:7)
That is how we are to pray. It is why we can pray boldly. These are not the soft, gentle prayers of a relaxed quiet time with God. These are bold prayers. Loud prayers. Confident prayers. God wants blunt, frank and honest prayers. He wants you to admit before him what he already knows.
God wants his light to shine in you, and in Jinju, and in Korea, and in the whole world.
Let’s be bold in our prayers today. Let’s speak out what is on our heart. Let’s raise our voices to our God who understands all we suffer. Let’s come boldly before our God who has experienced all of our weaknesses.
God not only knows and cares, but fully understands.