Hebrews 4:14-5:10 (NIV)
Jesus the Great High Priest
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
2 Corinthians 1:20 (New King James Version)
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
HERE is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” sung by Chris McDaniel. To think that Jesus lives forever and prays for us! As the Word of God says in Romans 8:33-34 — “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
I first heard this story when my husband and I were stationed in Korea in the mid-80’s. As I was preparing this portion of Scripture for the blog, imagine my surprise to read that very story in the book The Better Covenant by Milton Agnew. “Grace to help us in our time of need,” indeed!
Dr. Ted Gabrielsen was appointed to the small Salvation Army Hospital in Yong Dong, Korea. Only of shell of the building had survived the North Korean occupation. While various nurses and interns had tried to keep some medical work going, it had been without a Salvationist doctor for nine years. Everything steal-able had been stolen, and the rest had rusted through.
Ted had great difficulty in impressing upon the Korean nurses the danger of handling penicillin carelessly. The drug had never been used here before. It is a very effective germicide, but if the common staphylococcus germ is exposed to it in less than lethal doses, the germ becomes increasingly resistant to the drug at every doubling of its numbers, which takes place every few minutes by cell division. Thus, within a few hours, it becomes a veritable dinosaur, which cannot be killed by thousands of units. It is vital, therefore, not only that penicillin be used in adequate amounts to kill infection, but just as vital that every trace of it be cleaned up afterwards.
A New York State hospital had to be closed down because the “golden bug” had gotten loose, and had killed every baby in the nursery. The germs looks golden in color under the microscope.
Little wonder that a terrible staph infection broke out in the Yong Dong hospital. Before it could be identified, everyone in the hospital—patients and nurses—had it, including the doctor.
Ted frantically called his brother-in-law, Major Paul Rader, in Seoul, 130 miles to the north. “We’ve got the golden bug down here, Paul! Penicillin is totally ineffective at this point. Unless I can get some hexachlorophene within the next few hours, we’ll at worst have some deaths, and at best I’ll have to have one of my most important fingers amputated to save my own life, and that will be the end of my surgical career. Please hit every drug outlet in Seoul. If you can’t get the pure drug, get Dial soap; it’s loaded with it.”
A few hours later, Paul had to phone the heart-breaking news that no one had hexachlorophene, and they hadn’t even heard of Dial soap. The bottom seemed to fall out of Ted’s heart as he listened. But before he hung up, Paul said, “By the way, Ted, there’s a box here with your name on it which came today.”
Ted didn’t have much interest in any big box, but he said, “OK, pry it open and see what’s in it.”
Paul fairly screamed into the phone when he saw the contents. “Ted,” he yelled, “it’s Dial soap—a whole case of it!”
Ted shouted back, “Get it down here as fast as you can! We’ll give this place the greatest scrub dubbery it ever had in its life!”
They lathered up the whole case and made poultices for the infections and scrubbed down everything that could have been contaminated. There were no deaths, and Ted did not lose his finger. They had prayed as they scrubbed, and wondered all the while where the soap had come from.
Months later, the story became known. The inventor of Dial soap had made an appointment to see the president of a chemical house. He arrived a little early, so he started to chat with the receptionist, and before long he brought up the virtues of his brainchild, this Dial soap. Just as the buzzer signaled to show him in, the receptionist said, “Say, if this stuff is so all-fired good, why not send a case of it to my cousin Ted? He’s a Salvation Army surgeon in Yong Dong, Korea.”
He took time to note the name and address. That’s all there was to it. Months later the case arrived at the very moment of need. Had it come a few weeks earlier, it would have been dissipated on ordinary chores. Had it been 24 hours hours later, it would have been too late.
God’s timing is always perfect. There is thrilling comfort to Hebrews 4:16: Let us then fearlessly … Draw near to the throne of grace … That we may receive mercy /for our failures/ and find grace to help in good time for every need — appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it (Amplified).
1Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.
by George Herbert
(1593-1633, Welsh poet and Anglican priest)
Holiness on the head,
Light and perfection on the breast,
Harmonious bells below raising the dead
To lead them unto life and rest :
Thus are true Aarons drest.
Profaneness in my head,
Defects and darkness in my breast,
A noise of passions ringing me for dead
Unto a place where is no rest :
Poor priest ! thus am I drest.
Only another head
I have, another heart and breast,
Another music, making live, not dead,
Without whom I could have no rest :
In Him I am well drest.
Christ is my only head,
My alone only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me e’en dead ;
That to the old man I may rest,
And be in Him new drest.
So holy in my head,
Perfect and light in my dear breast,
My doctrine tuned by Christ (who is not dead,
But lives in me while I do rest),
Come, people ; Aaron’s drest.
5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.”
6And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Spurgeon
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”
We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might.
But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering” — it is, that He can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He suffers in me how; He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings who God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”
Images courtesy of:
throne of grace. https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/4-5-throne.jpg
flag of South Korea. http://www.jmu.edu/international/images/SouthKoreaFlag.png
Aaron dressed in high priestly garb. http://www.guidedbiblestudies.com/topics/priest7.jpg