One of Us / by Andrew Fairfield

Dear friends,

It’s been a while since I last sent out a devotional! Molly and I are so grateful for the flexible way the congregation has allowed me to take time off for parental leave, but now I’m hoping to get back into my regular rhythm.

This week’s scripture readings include Hebrews 5:1-10, a masterpiece of Greek literary writing -- which, of course, makes it a bit of a pain to read in English. We don’t know for sure who wrote it (some people think it may have been Priscilla, one of Jesus’ first Seventy Apostles), but we do know to whom it was written and why. It was written to a Jewish-Christian community, probably in Jerusalem. And it was written because people were starting to say some pretty crazy things about Jesus.

In particular, people were starting to talk about Jesus like he wasn’t human. They were saying he only looked like a person, but really was so divine as to be nothing like us. They wanted to make sure everyone understood that he didn’t really suffer and die like a criminal.

We still get tempted to lift Jesus up to heaven without remembering that his feet walked here on earth. You’ll still hear people say “well of course Jesus could forgive his enemies and die on the cross, but that’s not something regular people like us can do!”

Today’s passage from Hebrews 5 reminds us all that for Jesus to be our high priest, for Jesus to be the one who saves us and reconciles us to God, Jesus must be human. Our sadness, our weakness, our temptation are known and understood by One who walked with us two thousand years ago and who still walks with us today, inhabiting the bodies of all those who turn their hearts towards God’s love.

Let us all rejoice that we are held and loved by Christ who truly knows what it is like to be one of us.

Grace and peace,