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False Narratives

Hebrews Series Message Three

Who is the person in your life you have a hard time getting through to?

The person who makes you feel unheard? Misunderstood?

The person who quickly makes you lose your cool because if they simply won’t put in the effort to hear you out?

I don’t do well with people like this. Communication is very important to me, and when I feel like people aren’t trying, it becomes hard for me to keep trying. 

But I once had a friend I always got through to.

Mutual friends put us in the same context a lot, so we accidentally became close friends. One afternoon, we found ourselves on a walk, pouring our hearts out to each other. Life was hitting us from all sides, and we were able to empathize and relate to each other.

And when I say “empathize,” I don’t mean the fake “I know how you feel” that most people offer us in times of trouble. I mean true understanding and a place where all feelings were safe, valid, and accepted as we walked through them together.

We trauma bonded in a way, and from that day forward we were each others’ person—the kind of person who sits on the couch with you as tears stream down your face because life. is. rough.

Who is it in your world that seems to fill that friendship gap?

She was the person that made me know I wasn’t alone.

Grief is very isolating, and I had a lot of it going on, but when I talked to this friend, I knew she was in it with me.

I knew I could count on her. I knew she was trustworthy.

Honestly, I felt misunderstood and ignored by my peers for a lot of my life. I was a really quiet kid, and I got talked over a lot. I had friends who I would actively stop listening to me and engage in a conversation across the table or across the room.

Years of that caused me to write this narrative in my head that I wasn’t worth listening to. That I wasn’t interesting. That none of my friends really cared about me.

When you get a narrative like that about yourself in your head, it can be hard to stop believing it. 

But this friend was able to erase those narratives for me. She didn’t interrupt. She didn’t talk over me. She made me feel valued and worthwhile. 

Until one day she quit on me.

She stopped letting me have my turn to unpack what was going on in my life. She stopped listening. She stopped prioritizing our time together.

Her legitimate empathy turned into a “savior” mentality, and she’d interrupt me every two minutes to tell me what she thought I should do without first listening to what I had already done, how I felt, what I was thinking.

I was really confused. We had such a tight bond, and nothing had happened between us. There was no argument, no falling out, no hard feelings. There was no legitimate reason for her to betray me like that.

So what did I do?

I went back to my narratives. There’s no reason she should’ve stopped wanting to talk to me unless… my friends were right all those years and I actually am uninteresting and unimportant.

It felt like this friend who had erased those narratives I grew up believing suddenly came back in to write them in bold font. 



I had years of friendship to lean on, and it felt like suddenly I meant nothing to her.

When we used to sit together, nothing was hidden. Now we sit down together and it’s like struggling through dinner with a stranger. She was once my safe place, and now she knows nothing about what’s going on inside. 

Encounters with people can leave us writing narratives about ourselves that aren’t true. 

I don’t know if you are like me, but after years of believing these things based on how other people treated me, I ended up translating these narratives into my relationship with God. I had Christian friends, and they’re supposed to represent Him. So if they won’t listen to me, why would God? 

My peers made me feel like I wasn’t worth the time, so when my life was changing in ways I didn’t want and couldn’t control, and my please to God went unanswered, my instinct was to play that same narrative.

God doesn’t have time for me. God doesn’t find me worth listening to. 

What’s your narrative? 

Maybe you believe people think you’re annoying. 

Maybe you think you’re dumb. 

Maybe you think you are a bother.

And that translates to the way you communicate with God.

We don’t want to annoy Him, so we don’t talk to Him.

We don’t want to ask a dumb question, so we keep it to ourselves. 

We think God has better stuff to do–He’s a busy guy after all–so we try to do it by ourselves.

The author of Hebrews in today’s passage is telling us that our narratives aren’t true. He’s writing us the real one.

Like we’ve talked about the last couple of weeks, our relationship with God is not an accident! It is literally thousands of years in the making.

The situations we go through that leave us feeling abandoned, isolated, alone, unworthy, ________ make it so easy to feel like God is not listening, like He doesn’t care, or like He’s not paying attention to us.

Because, after all, if God was paying attention then surely He’d be answering us by now or intervening in these terrible situations, right?

But what the author of Hebrews writes about in our passage today is that Jesus ensures that God hears our every cry.

And that was not an easy system to set up!

We’ve been talking about the Israelites and how they had to communicate to God through prophets and angels and how they had to offer sacrifices for their sins to be atoned (that means forgiven). 

That system limited who could approach God.

The Israelites had to go to the temple where only the High Priest—who had to be a Levite (that means they had to be descended from Aaron, Moses’ brother)—could enter the innermost part of the temple where God lived. It was called the Holy of Holies. 

Let me say this differently:

Only one special person, born in a specific family, wearing particular garments, after having gone through a week of ritual cleansing (like imagine showering at specific times with special soap), could enter the room in which God dwelt.

God was not available. 

God could only meet with one person who had followed all the rules, and even then sometimes things were missed. 

The high priests had to tie bells around their ankles because if they messed up somewhere along the way, then when they entered the room with God, God would strike them dead.

God cannot be in the presence of sin. 

So the people on the outside needed to listen for the bell, because if it stopped ringing, they had to pull the body out of the Holy of Holies. 

What if you had to do that still? You want to be right before God, so you grab your pet dog and bring it up to the church. You confess all the things you’ve done wrong to your pastor, and he tells you to come back in a month for the annual sacrifice day. He also says you’re so messed up that you also need to bring your guinea pig to sacrifice in addition to your dog.

You do as you’re told, and you hope it all works out because you’re just trying to talk to God about something! If your pastor dies then you have to find another High Priest and try again tomorrow.

This system had issues. 

People make imperfect priests because they themselves sin, and they die in the end. 

Animals made imperfect sacrifices because their blood only atoned for sin for a year. 

Enter Jesus.

Let’s read the text:

“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him.”

Hebrews 5:8-9

Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus still had to choose to submit Himself to God the Father.

He could have lived a perfect life and then gone to heaven and simply been God who came to share the news of heaven. Instead He came to suffer. He came to shed blood. Why? Because that is what God required for the forgiveness of sins. 

Now, generally speaking, we as people like comforts. We don’t like suffering. We tend to actively avoid suffering. 

But Jesus was most interested in fulfilling the will of God, no matter the cost to Him, so He submitted to suffering. 

It is because of Jesus’ sacrifice that we can have salvation. It is because of His perfect offering—Himself—that we have access to God at all. The author of Hebrews explains that Jesus became our new High Priest. He is better than the old system! How?

He offered Himself as the sacrifice. Because He lived a perfect life, He was able to shed His blood and achieve atonement not just for one group of people for a year but for everyone for all of time! Then He takes on the role of the High Priest which is to go before God on our behalf and make sure we are forgiven. Jesus took on that role when He ascended into heaven. 

Now, we sometimes hear the gospel in church so much that it gets a little stale, so let me put it this way:

Would you allow yourself to be beaten nearly to death and then crucified (that is, hung on a cross naked after having been beaten, with nails through your wrists and feet, hanging there until you bled out or suffocated, being pierced in the side to deflate your lungs or having your legs broken so you would suffocate faster if you hung for too long)?

Would you do that if you knew it would ensure your parents would always answer the phone when your siblings called?

I wouldn’t! I for sure would not do that. 

I don’t think I’d even give up eating breakfast every day—drinking coffee every morning, really—to know my parents would always answer the phone for my siblings. 

Jesus gave everything. He made a sacrifice not just so that God would answer the call but so that we had a phone to call God on in the first place!

Through all of history before Jesus came, God was inaccessible. Talking to God was like sending a carrier pigeon and hoping it didn’t die along the way. Having a direct line to God was a brand new privilege to the Jewish Christians.

That’s what Jesus did.

“Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.”

Hebrews 7:16

“For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

Hebrews 7:19

At Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the law. Not just the famous ten, but the whole thing. God invented the sacrificial system I just explained. 

But the system was not a long-term solution. Eternal relationship with God had to be actively sought and maintained through this high priest system. 

When Jesus submitted to God, God did away with the old system because now we could all gain eternal life through the one-time sacrifice of Jesus.

The old system did not bring about confidence. Boldness. Hope. 

It reminded people that they were continually separated from God. God remained separated from them and inaccessible to them. Blood was necessary because God is so holy that He can’t be around us sinners!

Jesus took all the need for all of the death. When He died, He ripped that curtain that separated the Holy of Holies and made a way for every person to confidently approach God without fear of death. 

Jesus is forever. God delivered Him from death by raising Him back to life, and now He lives forever, seated at God’s right hand as our eternal high priest.

What does that mean for us?

“Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, His priesthood lasts forever. Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”

Hebrews 7:22-25


Jesus’ intercession ensures that when we pray, our prayers always get through to God.

I know that this is not news to us, but it was news to the Hebrews!

Do you realize that without Jesus giving Himself like He did, we would not be able to pray like we can?

Maybe you think prayer is no big deal and it’s something you’re “supposed” to do as a Christian.

But do you realize now what had to happen for you to be able to pray like that?

I would imagine that some of us don’t take praying seriously at all. It’s just another Christian behavior, right?

Actually, it’s a privilege that was thousands of years in the making. 

We’re robbing ourselves. 

I robbed myself last year.

Do we respect God enough to show up since He has extended the invitation?

Do we think so highly of ourselves that we are too busy or too important to accept God’s invitation?

Can we be honest enough with ourselves to admit that we don’t care to pray all that often?

I want you to pray; I do. I want you to boldly approach God knowing that Jesus is forever at His side ready to make a case on your behalf. Because of Jesus, God always hears you! Always!

And because Jesus spent some time down here as a human, He relates to a lot of what we say. He empathizes with us and makes our desires known to God. There is power beyond measure ready to come to your aid and work with you for the betterment of this world and the glory of God. So yes, let’s pray.

“But Rylee,” you say, “I’ve tried praying, and I feel like God isn’t listening! He’s the one I can’t get through to. He’s the one that makes me feel like I’m talking to a wall. He doesn’t get me. I’m tired of trying. I stopped trying a long time ago.”

I relate to that feeling. I do. I have had times where I felt like I could not be talking any more or any louder and God seemed totally absent. I hate that feeling of being unheard and left alone—especially when God is the one making me feel that way!

But here’s what I know: the Bible does not lie, and what we just studied promised that Jesus understands our feelings. It promises that He sits at God’s right hand and that all we have to do is come to God through Jesus to be heard. 

We feel like we can’t get through to God, but the Bible promises that we do, so I’m wondering if maybe it’s actually the other way around. 

Maybe we’re the ones ignoring God when He’s trying to get through to us.

When I’m willing to be honest, I can see that I have treated God just like my friend treated me. We are all good and all close, and suddenly I stop giving Him the time of day.

Sometimes I’m really like that friend, and I’ll spend two hours unpacking everything before God and ranting to Him about my life. Once my voice has been heard, I’m ready to move on.

Part of having a successful relationship means two-way communication. Being a listener.

The truth is, God hears you. Always. And God has not stopped speaking.

Have you stopped listening?


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