Marked by Brokeness

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by Emily McAuliff

I don’t like to feel weak and broken. And I definitely don’t like to be seen as weak and broken. This is true of me in my parenting oftentimes and it leads to misery in our home. But the Lord, in his kindness, through his Word, is showing me the beauty of weakness and brokenness.

Earlier this year, I spent about 13 weeks studying the book of Hebrews. About halfway through I started to focus in on the blood of the old covenant versus the blood of the new covenant. I found myself asking, “What was it about Jesus’ blood that gave it the power to atone for sin?” I’m sure I’ve thought many times that it was simply because Jesus is God. But the more I read, the more I realized that this answer doesn’t cover it. (Maybe that sounds crazy?) I found the writer of Hebrews was saying something more.

In Hebrews 8, I was struck by Jeremiah’s words about the new covenant to come. Verse 10 says, “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts.” Why couldn’t God put his laws in minds and hearts under the old covenant? There was no power in the sacrifices of the old covenant to “perfect the conscience of the worshiper.” (9:9) The blood of the sacrificial system in the temple was ineffective for sanctification and could not reach minds and hearts. The writer of Hebrews goes on to say that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (10:4)

We don’t need a priest, standing daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. We need Christ who offered, for all time, a single sacrifice for sins and then sat down at the right hand of God. (10:11-12) And He did that, not only because He is God, but because He was made like us in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God – to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. (2:17-18)

God saw fit to make the founder of our salvation perfect through suffering. (2:10) It wasn’t only that Jesus was perfectly God but that He was also perfectly man. He took on all the weakness and all the brokenness that plagues us. And in that brokenness and weakness, He lived in full obedience to the Father. His blood has all the power to atone because He remained sinless for us while He was weak and broken like us.

My study of Hebrews ended months ago, but I continue to ponder my weakness and brokenness in light of what I learned. I want to embrace my brokenness and proclaim my weakness because Christ knows it better than anyone and He always lives to make intercession for me (7:25). His blood is speaking for my forgiveness and atonement. (12:24) It is here that I find encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before me, (6:18) here where I find confidence to draw near to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (4:16) My prayer is that my parenting (and my whole life) is marked by brokenness so that my only boast is Christ.

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