High Priest in a Manger: The Nativity As Seen Through Hebrews 4

‘Tis the season to be jolly…

…or so they say.

To exalt why we exist, to know freedom abundantly…

…yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before.

But if you’re like me these days…drained, disoriented…wondering when and where you are…unsure of most things status and standing…lend an ear.

‘Cause while I don’t have all the answers, I’m also not one to hide what I find. Even if it means going back to certain wells time and time again.

That said, a few weeks ago, I was glancing through Hebrews 4 when it hit me: While verses 14-16 are often attributed to genealogy and lordship, they also hold value in light of Christmas.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s read together…

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Upon first look, it’s fair to say there’s not much Bethlehem and Messianic prophesy referenced in this passage. Granted, one could say the “great high priest” achieves the latter, but either way, odds are you’re not thinking Luke 2 when reading Hebrews 4.

However, when we take a deeper dive, we begin to see the significance of what “great high priest” means for us today. For instance, after emphasizing Christ as Word and the trust/rest dynamic in v. 14, note the critical turn in v. 15. As the Message translates, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.” Rather, He is able to understand our weaknesses and temptations because He not only conquered them but experienced them!


From here, we begin to see how this passage pertains to Christmas. Before the Son of God could bear our sin in His body, the Son of Man had to be born into it. Before He could redeem us from the curse of the law, He had to establish His plan of grace. Before He could save us through the Cross, He had to love us through the manger. You get the picture.

Yet, even before the manger, Christ had to be our high priest relating to us before the beginning of time. In this way, His sovereign authority could craft a divine pathway for our eternal relationship and our fearless approach beforehand. After all, nothing takes God by surprise.

Of course, the theological layers run deeper, but for now, consider this. When we celebrate Christmas each year, we’re essentially saying…

… “Lord, I’m taking hold of your mercy, I’m entering your rest, I’m accepting your help, I’m renewing my mind…all because you loved us to know our flesh as flesh. And from that relatability, I can receive you in confidence as the center of my ability, humility, stability, tranquility, etc.

I love how the Amplified breaks this down…

Therefore, let us with privilege approach the throne of God’s gracious favor with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy AND find His amazing grace to help in time of need…an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment.”

Ahhh, at the right moment. Isn’t that what we’re always searching for? The right time, a right moment, the right one, even? And yet, so often we miss the fact Jesus is all these things. A perpetual reality punctuated by the incarnation, Jesus was our hope as a high priest before He became hope as a baby. Now we can live with Him in heaven forever all because once upon a time, a hope once deferred became the hope we cling to today.

Accordingly, for all you in despair, in a rut…a funk, whatever it may be, know this: Jesus came at the right moment so He could intervene for you at the right moments. Past, present, future…He never stops being a shining light of David directing our hearts to where His rest lies. As Paul states in Ephesians 2:14, “He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” All the more so, His light could enter, penetrate the darkness, and shatter the mold.

And so…as we wrap up another year, my prayer is that you’ll embrace this season and boldly enter into God’s best, His rest, and His next. For when you see the Cross behind the manger, you understand Christmas; however, when you see the priest in the manger, you’ll know the courage that can be yours as you invite into your weakness. How awesome it is to know Christ made Himself vulnerable so we could be vulnerable back? Not to mention with each other as we share the good news of His love in all we say and do.


‘Til next time, may you know the hope that is yours and the breakthrough that will be yours this Christmas season.

Love you guys…

~ Cameron


Cover photo creds: Renovare


What Pastors & Superman Have in Common

We see our pastors as many things.

Counselor, motivator, preacher, scholar…the list goes on.

But let’s be honest: sometimes, it’s easy to imagine them as something far greater than they really are…

…like a super-hero straight out of a Marvel comic, loaded with heavy artillery, always on guard to defeat the darkest forces of evil.

However, regardless of what we like to think, pastors aren’t superheroes.

They don’t shoot lasers out of their eyes, webs out of their wrists or leap buildings in a single bound. They don’t possess Asgardian power, cyberpathic links…or the ability to save the world with incredible displays of Bible trivia and prophetic insight.

On the contrary, what pastors share with our dream heroes are much less enviable.

But though they may not possess earth-shattering superpowers or battle alongside valiant sidekicks, they still carry enormous responsibility.

For instance, not only must pastors fearlessly lead while warring behind closed doors, but they also must demonstrate consistent self-sacrifice, willing to die for not only what they stand for, but whom they stand for.

Sound, familiar?

So while we may think our pastors are protective guardians living largely in extravagant estates complete with lavish interiors and ritzy paraphernalia, the reality is our pastors are silent sufferers…dirty shepherds wrestling with the same ups and downs as everybody else.

They aren’t any more perfect.

They aren’t any less weak.

Yet, all the while, it’s one emergency after another: a hospital call, a parishioner’s broken marriage or an untimely death…their life and desires put on hold as they faithfully tend the needs of the flock.

Thus, the idea of pastors having it easy…couldn’t be further from the truth.

‘Cause when we go behind the scenes, we don’t find clean-cut lives saturated with serenity, but rather ones messy and muddled….filled with desperate tears and inherited heartbreak.

Sure, the world may think pastors have to have it all together in order to be effective…in order to be qualified…that somehow, it’s up to them to do the “saving”. But sometimes, we forget how important it is for our pastors to struggle…to battle…to contend…to model by way of vulnerable action…all the while operating as the living embodiment of Galatians 6:2.


So as a young pastor, learning this firsthand, I encourage you to pray supernatural strength and endurance (Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4, James 1:12-18, Colossians 1:11, 1 Corinthians 10:13) over your church leaders, understanding no matter how heavy the load, they’ll almost always carry a greater bullseye on their back.

 And if you’re in a place of leadership, I challenge you to pray for your staff and team members to stay the course…to keep trusting God even when you feel invisible.

 ‘Cause when we talk about our pastors and ministers,  there will be inevitable down days when they feel like anything but a superhero.

 Yet, we don’t have to be indifferent bystanders, disengaged from supportive action.

But rather, we can be empowered by praying for our leaders to be empoweredand we can be encouraged by encouraging the people who make it their mission to encourage us…remembering even when we feel alone and misunderstood, there’s a God inspiring pastors and non-pastors alike to war for one other.

 ‘Til then, rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).

Image from Kevin DeYoung