Lightning flashed across the landscape, lighting up the hills and penetrating the valleys. Thunder roared and rolled, sometimes thumping like a giant hammer on the earth around us. All night and all the next day, nature's anger focused on our vulnerability and threatened our peace of mind. It felt like a time of judgment and nothing we could do or say quieted the storms that raged all around us. In the violent intensity of that storm, I found it very easy to recall the prayers I had learned as a child to ask the Lord to protect me ... "in the name of Jesus."

Just so, a storm several thousand years ago taught a whole nation to ask for protection through someone who would speak for them. As the crashing thunder and piercing lightning of Mt. Sinai terrified the Children of Israel, they begged Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us or we shall die!" (Exodus 20:19 NLT)

And it was here that they learned the greatest lesson of salvation. They learned that they needed someone to speak for them if they were not to be wiped out as sinners in the presence of the holiness of the Lord. They learned that they must have someone to stand between their vulnerability and the perfection of God.

Just as they needed a priest then, we need one now. Nothing has changed. "And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him." (Hebrews 10:21-22a NLT)

Jesus himself is the High Priest in all our storms. "He has become our eternal High Priest in the line of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 6:20) He who said, "Let the children come to me ..." has made it easy to recall the prayers we learned as children. We draw near in our storms and hear the voice of the One who speaks to God for us. He brings us grace, mercy, and help in our times of need!

Nothing has changed.

That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 2:14-16)