It is medically documented just how important rest is for you. Rest, we are told, helps to improve brain function; rest helps boost our immune system; rest helps you fight off disease; rest allows the body to regain strength; and the list goes on and on. But the fact is, we often struggle to find real rest in this life. When your home life is in turmoil from one battle after another, rest is hard to find. When your body is racked with pain, it’s difficult to rest. When you struggle with fear, guilt, worry, or depression, or if you cannot sleep at night because of the stress that plays over and over in your mind, rest becomes a large problem.
We may not think about rest being such a big deal until we aren’t able to get it from long sleepless nights, days when our minds race from one thing to another, and dealing with a body that just has no energy. It’s then that we realize the value of rest. The issue of rest is at the heart of Hebrews chapter 4. God’s intention for the children of Israel, when they left bondage in Egypt, was to find rest in the land of Canaan. Canaan’s rest was found in a place for them. It came from being in the place God designed them to be in. But it was a rest that they struggled to find because of their unbelief. If we understand what the writer is trying to teach us, it is the fact that Canaan rest isn’t the real rest the Lord intends for us to have. He is saying that real rest, God’s rest, is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is rest that we find in Jesus when we come to Him as our Savior. Rest from sin’s power and pressures. That’s what Jesus spoke of in Matt 11:28 when He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And there is also an ultimate rest that we will have when we get home. There is a place where we will rest in the glories of heaven, beyond the heartaches and struggles of this life. But thank God, there is an intermediate rest that we can enjoy in Jesus now. When our lives are burdened, when our hearts are overwhelmed, when our minds are so troubled, where and how do we find real rest?
Rest is found in the superiority of our Savior. (vs 14)
Again, the emphasis in the chapter is that rest, real rest, isn’t in a particular place but in a particular person. Emphatically and without apology, the writer says that we have a great high priest, vs. 14. The book of Hebrews stresses time and time again the thought of better things. The Old Testament sacrifices had their place, but the sacrifice of Christ is better. The Old Testament priesthood was good, but what we have now in Christ is better. The Old Testament priests were men who would one day pass away, but we have a great high priest who is eternal.
Rod Matton writes, “We confess our faults to Christ, for He is the only One that has the power to cleanse and forgive us. In Heaven, Jesus is pleading our case and is our advocate. Because this is true, we should rest in our profession or confession of Him. We have no reason to fear or to doubt our faith in Him.” Hebrews 7:25 – “Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” We have a Savior who loved us so much that He was willing to leave heaven’s glory, come to this earth, face all that He faced, die for our sins, rise on the third day from the grave, ascend back to heaven for us, and there He intercedes for us! Rest is first found in the superiority of our Savior.
Rest is found in the sympathy of our Savior (vs. 15)
To many of the days in which Hebrews were written, God was considered to be apathetic to the needs or the plights of men. They had the idea that God was so far distant that He neither cared nor intervened in the lives of men. All of that was proven false with the coming of Jesus Christ. See Heb 2:9, 14-18. Now, in our text verse, we see that our high priest is touched by the feeling of our infirmities. What does all of that mean? The words “touched” and “feeling” both mean to sympathize or to share the experience of another. The word “infirmities” speaks of our weaknesses, our sicknesses, our sorrows, and our difficulties in life. He was “tempted”—He experienced trials, temptations, and troubles just like us. He knows what it is to face this life
and its burdens.
R. Kent Hughes put it this way in his commentary, “Christ’s instrument was just like ours in every way. He took that instrument, that body, to Heaven with him. It is his priestly body. And when a chord is struck in the weakness of our human instrument, it resonates in his! There is no note of human experience that does not play on Christ’s exalted human instrument.” That’s why He is able to help us in our weaknesses because when we need rest, we can find it in the one who is able to give us rest because He truly understands and cares.
Rest is found in the sufficiency of our Savior (vs. 16)
Because of who He is, because of what He has done for us and where He is right now, “passed into the heavens” and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, we can approach Him with boldness or confidence, fully assured that He cares and fully assured that He hears our cries. The words “come boldly” mean with an open outpouring of the heart. We can come with confidence, knowing that we can pour out our hearts, telling Him everything, anything that weighs heavy on our hearts. I’m so thankful that the writer didn’t present it as a throne of judgment, which it will one day be for sinners. He didn’t speak of it as a throne of justice, for if we got justice, we would surely be in hell. He described it as a throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help in times of need. Mercy takes care of any of my past failures, and grace takes care of every present need that I have right now.)
Notice the verse says, “Help in time of need.” That is, that help is always appropriate to the time. It is not according to our clock but to Heaven’s time—the perfect time. God’s timing and God’s help is always right on time. He is never a moment too early, and He is never a moment too late.
He knows right where you are today. Maybe you’re dealing with such things that are making rest hard to find. I’ve been there myself. I know what it is when you’d love to find a place where your heart could find some peace and rest. You’ll find it when you realize that it is in the superiority of our Savior, the sympathy of our Savior, and the sufficiency of our Savior. He has all that you need today. Why not load up your cares and your burdens and bring it all to Him today? You’ll find that His grace is always sufficient for you.
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