Before having a meaningful conversation with people from a different country, we need to get acquainted with their culture. Such is the case here – the letter to the Hebrews was written by someone extremely familiar with Jewish tradition. Most likely the author of the letter to the Hebrews was Jewish; so a Jew is addressing issues with fellow Jews in writing.
In this letter, the Hebrew author is broaching the subject of salvation – which is the one topic the whole world seems to be disagreeing on, starting with the question as to whether or not we need to be saved, and, if we needed saving, how to be saved. No easy discussion! Should you ever bring up “salvation” in an otherwise friendly exchange of thoughts, that conversation could quickly turn sour.
Looking at the language of this letter, we quickly see that insider-vocabulary is used, similar to family talk, which we wouldn’t apply around strangers. Hebrew understanding of priesthood is connected to sacred traditions and deeply held beliefs. Priests were understood to be the mediators who stood between God and people, interceding on their behalf. This is where the author of the letter is coming from when pointing out that we have a perfect mediator in heaven who intercedes for us daily.
Let us forget about ethnic boundaries for a little while – whether we are steeped in Hebrew tradition or identify more with people that skirt rituals and priests altogether – and imagine having a strong advocate who intercedes on our behalf. Advocacy is of great value in situations when we cannot speak for ourselves. Such situations occur when we have to appear in court. In the court room we need an attorney who speaks on our behalf. The Son of God, Jesus perfectly fulfills that role. I dare say, we all could use someone who has our backs, and if that “Someone” is the Son of God, our chances for acquittal are positive.
God saves us every day – He can do that because He has the foresight to see what comes our way. All the while He checks ancillary things like our body temperature, the numbers of hair we carry on our bodies, our current mood; – God knows everything about us and He uses that to our advantage.
God has very big hands – both for saving and for holding. The One whose hands hold the universe hold us close to His heart.