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.
The common phrase “walk a mile in his moccasins” is thought to have come from a poem entitled “Judge Softly” by Mary T. Lathrop (1838- 1895). An American poet, a temperance reformer, a suffragist, Mary also served as a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church. Her poem (partially below) urges heartfelt compassion for others:
Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps, Or stumbles along the road. Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears, Or stumbled beneath the same load. Just walk a mile in his moccasins Before you abuse, criticize and accuse. If just for one hour, you could find a way To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse.
What heart-raising encouragement we receive from the Spirit’s word in Hebrews 4. Our own High Priest, the One who represents us before God the Father, has walked in “our moccasins” all the miles we walk. As a human being, Jesus was tempted, tried, tested “in every respect” as we are. Vivid language describing Jesus’ comprehensive experience with all the emotions which are stirred up in us when the tough stuff makes living difficult. Everything we face He’s already faced down. He gets it, all of it.
Having shared in it all, He is completely capable of joining us in the struggles (both internal and external), providing the mercy and grace we actually need. He can pilot us through all our weaknesses and infirmities. In fact, He invites us to come to Him confidently for all the assistance and strength we need. He refuses to find fault when we limp, or if we stumble. His throne is full of grace, not judgment, for those who look to Him.