How the Book of Hebrews Shows Us That “He Get Us”


Faith Church kicked off a sermon series this past weekend exploring a truth about Jesus that has been placed on billboards and TV commercials over the past couple of years:“He Gets Us.” I decided to do a series of blog posts on that topic as well. I’ve been reminded of how the idea that Jesus “gets us” is a key idea found in the New Testament book of Hebrews. My friend Thomas Fennema, who serves as an elder at Faith Church Cedar Lake and is a gifted writer and deep thinker, loves this book, so I asked him to offer some thoughts on the book and this idea to start this series of posts. I’m glad he agreed to do so, as I believe that his thoughts and perspective could help us all. Thanks for writing this, Thomas. – Pastor Brian 


I love the book of Hebrews. It seamlessly ties together the Old and New Testaments while painting a powerful picture of Jesus as preeminent over everything else. Hebrews shows us how Jesus is a better word, a better Moses, a better rest, and the executor of a better covenant. The letter begins by looking far away, “Long ago, at many times, and in many ways…” (1:1), but it quickly brings God very near through the person of Jesus Christ, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (1:2). By looking back and by looking forward, we get a stunning picture of the majesty of a loving Savior who didn’t just die for us, but also ministers to us in our weaknesses and temptations. He knows what we are going through because he lived it too. He lived with us and for us, accomplishing everything we could not, and he continues to rule and reign today. He is a perfect prophet, a faithful high priest, and a mighty king. While supreme over all things, he also meets us where we’re at because he’s been there too. He gets us.

What does that mean, though? Does Jesus really understand me in all of my struggles and weaknesses? That’s one of the questions that Hebrews can answer for us. We live in a broken world, and this letter acknowledges that “we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” (2:8). Yet we are encouraged because we see Jesus who was made low “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (2:9).  Jesus suffered so he gets us in our suffering. It’s actually the reason he can call us brothers and sisters (2:11). Jesus understands us much the same way siblings understand each other. They share parents and we and Jesus both share the same Father.  Hebrews tells us that Jesus had to become like us in every way. In our humanness and in our suffering.

He Gets Us in Our Temptations and Weaknesses
One of the ways Jesus suffered was when he was tempted. It’s a strange thing to think about, but Hebrews is clear, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (2:18). Of course, Jesus didn’t give in to temptation, but he knows the weight of it. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan himself (see Matthew 4 and Luke 4). He was starving and alone, and the devil took advantage the same way he tries to take advantage of us. Often, we are ashamed in our temptations, but we have a Savior who’s been there too. He can help us when we’re tempted because his own temptation made him merciful to those who are suffering in it. So we can go to him. We should run to him. He gets it, and he won’t leave us alone in it.

But Jesus was strong and we are weak, right? Yet Hebrews assures us “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” (4:15). Jesus gets us in our weaknesses because he’s been there. He invites us to receive mercy and grace when we are in need. We turn to him because he’s been there. He gets it. He gets us. So we don’t face our temptations alone in our weakness and shame. We can confidently call on him to help us through it. We constantly fall short, but we have a Savior who wants to lift us up. He wants to help because he understands how hard it is to do this life. Jesus sees us, he hears us, and he helps us. Hebrews actually says “He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness” (5:2). I don’t usually think of Jesus in this way, but I do think of myself this way. What confident hope there is in knowing Jesus has been there too!

He Gets Us in Our Trials and Sufferings
There are times, though, when it doesn’t always feel that way. Sometimes we feel helpless and alone in deep suffering, and sometimes it feels like God isn’t listening. This is where it gets personal for me. I have three children. My oldest is a girl who was born with a genetic progressive neurological disorder that affects every organ system in her body. When she was diagnosed, I felt lost. She was given a prognosis of three months to ten years when she was three. It made every day feel like the shadow of pain and loss was hanging right over our heads. I stopped having dreams for the future because I knew what tomorrow could bring. God, however, has been gracious, and my daughter is now eighteen! A few months ago, though, a small cold sent her into a rapid decline. Now, I watch my daughter slip away in slow motion and it is numbing. I don’t want to do this. We’ve seen doctors and tried new medications. No change.  We’ve pleaded with God to work a miracle. No change. We’ve had her anointed with oil and bathed in prayers. No change. Does Jesus understand that? Does he get me in this? I hate to ask those questions, but it’s hard not to when you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death. And I know Jesus tasted death, that he suffered loss, but does he know this kind of pain? Thankfully, God’s word doesn’t shy away from questions like these.  

In writing this blog, Hebrews 5 hit me right in the heart. “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (5:7). I read this and immediately saw Jesus in Gethsemane. He’s alone. His friends are supposed to be praying, but they’ve fallen asleep as Jesus looks forward to a tomorrow filled with suffering and death. He is weeping with tears that fall like drops of blood. He is crying out to God that he doesn’t want to do this. And it says that God heard him, but we know that God led Jesus to the cross anyway, even though it meant the death of his Son. If there is anyone who understands what I am going through, it is Jesus Christ. And so I cling to him. He gets me. Even in my mess. Even at my worst.

We don’t always get the answers we want from God. We don’t always like his plan. The letter to the Hebrews is a poignant reminder, though, that he has been there and he is here now, sitting in our sorrow with us. Chapter 11, sometimes called the roll call of faith, tells the story of heroes of the faith who persevered through trial and tribulation. It reminds us that all of them “did not receive what was promised” (11:39). Sometimes we can only see the promise from afar, but the promise always has been and always will be Jesus. We are encouraged, then, to fix our eyes on Jesus. He gets us, he understands, he’s been there too. What greater promise is there than to cling to a merciful and faithful high priest who fights with us and for us and who will someday call us home to wipe every tear from our eyes?

Remember He Gets Us and Will Get Us Home
This life is hard and it is fragile. We are weak and suffering is inevitable. But this is not our home. There is a kingdom we belong to where the one who rules and reigns also meets us in our darkest moments and gently whispers ‘I know.’ Fix your eyes on Jesus. He gets you. He gets us.  He is coming back and bringing with him the kingdom he promised. Our lives can be shaken, but his kingdom never can. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (12:28-29).

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