The world outside my study window is deep in snow. Its lovely. Ever since childhood days in the Alps I have found snow magical. I love it when the clean, cold air that snowfall brings cuts across your lungs so sharply that it brings momentary pain, so pure and penetrating is it. Looking at the sky it seems there is plenty more on the way.
Hebrews 4 leaves me on a perilous knife edge. Its says that the word of God, pure and penetrating, marvellous, intensely brilliant, cuts and exposes. The slightest stain on the snow outside, the smallest animal track, is instantly visible, revealed by pristine purity. According to Hebrews, that is what God's message is doing to me. Nothing in me is hidden before its raw, revelatory power.
On one level that is a terrible thing. I am known completely, turned inside out. There is stuff in my life and everyone else's life that we don't want to be known. According to Hebrews that's just tough. So the question becomes, how do I survive being exposed before this word, this God? How do I deal with being utterly laid bare?
The Hebrews answer is that I need a great High Priest. Someone who represents me to God and sympathises with my weakness. Someone who knows my temptations but never fell to them himself, though he experienced all of them. Someone in heaven who sees all the reality of failed purity in me and loves me. Someone who is merciful and who pours grace lavishly on the undeserving. The revealing word shows that is my deepest need.
And that is exactly what I have got. I like the way the New Living Translation phrases it, it catches just the right sense of desperate need and deep satisfaction that Jesus fulfils it:
That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him (Heb 4:14)
That gets it right - cling, never stop. I have a picture of a child holding on for dear life to dad's coat when danger is near. The danger for me is the conflagration that occurs when the purity and holiness of God annihilates impurity. What is my only hope - clinging. Holding on for dear life, and being held on to by Jesus. Like the song says:
And I am desperate for you, And I am lost without you