One of the church’s old standards I haven’t heard sung in many years is the hymn “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus.” The composer, Charles Weigle, spent most of his adult life as an itinerant evangelist and gospel songwriter.
One fateful day after returning home from a crusade, he was greeted by a note from his wife. It said she had grown weary of the evangelist lifestyle and was leaving.
Years of despondency engulfed him. Charles contemplated suicide. Gradually, the clouds parted. His faith and ministry once again flourished, prompting him to write:
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.
You may recall that the hymn’s first stanza opens, “I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus.” Sometimes that’s how I feel as a preacher. Rather than exegete yet another passage of Scripture, there are days I simplify want to testify, to tell you what I think of Jesus. My Hebrew professor in seminary lovingly termed them “Jesus sermons,” the kind in which your chief aim is to brag about the Savior.
Today, it’s my great joy to be able to do both—to exegete and brag. The Book of Hebrews, scholars tell us, started out as a sermon. The theme of this sermon is Jesus. He is its opening text in 1:1-4. His superiority to all that preceeded Him is the sermon’s body, and the invitation to look to Him (vv. 12:1-3), to come to Him (v. 13:13), is its conclusion. Hebrews is a Jesus sermon through and through!
Ironically, in one of the book’s most memorized verses, we can miss seeing Jesus altogether if we’re not careful. The verse is Hebrews 4:12, and our text is verses 12-16.
Jesus Is the Living Word that Sees into Your Heart
This living Word, whom we meet in the written Word, is alive, not dead; active, not dormant; acute, not dull. His insight into every aspect of every human life is sharp. He easily discerns what you’re thinking from what you’re intending. You can’t hide a thing. Everyone is naked before Him, everything exposed (v. 13).
Exposed in Greek is tetrachelismena—think tracheotomy. It means to bend back the neck. The idea being that the Word pushes back your head to expose your face so God may peer deeply into your eyes. With your head in that position, your throat is exposed. God easily could strike you down and justifiably so for all the rot and rancor He sees in your soul. However, take heart. His eyes are as pitying as they are piercing.
Jesus Is Our Sympathetic High Priest who Has Been There
He is our great high priest, greater than Aaron. He has passed through the heavens and enjoys full access to God, unlike Aaron who only could pass through the veil for limited access. He is Jesus, fully human; the Son of God, fully divine.
To say negatively what is phrased positively in verses 2:17-18, our High Priest isn’t insensitive or unsympathetic to our plight. He knows how it is to suffer temptation (v. 2:18). Because He never succumbed to any of it, never gave in as we so often do to find temporary relief, He can be said to have suffered temptation to an extent unlike any other. He wrestled with temptation until He wore it down and won!
Because Jesus is God, He suffered God-sized temptations. Who can begin to imagine how those must have been for Him? Has Satan ever tempted you to turn stones to bread or offered you worldwide rule? Probably not. You’re too easily satisfied with far lesser prizes, as am I.
Jesus suffered temptation but never succumbed, so He can sympathize. He knows how it is, whatever we’re experiencing today, and He cares. He sees you. He knows where the fault lies, but He loves you anyway. His door is open. He’ll meet you with mercy and grace. You simply need to step inside. No one ever has, or ever will, care for you the way Jesus does.