Friday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 2:17-18

A Merciful and Faithful High Priest

The first two chapters of Hebrews have led to the climactic verses we read today: “Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers 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.” 

The theme of Hebrews is the ministry of our Lord in his office and service unto the Father for our sakes as our faithful High Priest.  And how does he do this?  The first requirement of a priest is that he be like the people on whose behalf he ministers.  The reason for this is that it is his task to bring them—to represent them—before God.  The priest is the “go-between,” the “mediator” between God and the people.  This was the Old Testament function of the priest: he was the one—the only one—to offer sacrifices unto God and minister on behalf of the people (1 Samuel 13:8-14; 2 Chronicles 26:16-21).  To do this, he must be like the people on whose behalf he ministers so that he “can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness” (5:2). 

And so our Lord was made like us in every respect, meaning that he too suffered temptation and experienced weakness.  Now we must be specific.  When we say that he experienced weakness, we mean that he was subject to every human weakness we suffer: hunger, thirst, needing rest, and suffering violence.  More important, when we say he suffered temptation, we mean the temptation we suffer from outside ourselves, that is, from the world and the devil.  Our Lord would not have felt temptation from within as he had not a sinful nature (which Scripture sometimes calls “the flesh”) by which to tempt himself as we have within ourselves.  Jesus came to heal what Adam destroyed—the image of God within us—by doing what Adam was supposed to do—obey the divine command.  By suffering, he becomes our merciful and faithful High Priest who understands us experientially; by conquering temptation, he becomes our propitiation satisfying God’s just penalty for our transgressions.

But it doesn’t end there; our Lord’s service as our faithful High Priest continues as he “helps those who are being tempted.”  His work was not finished when he rose and ascended.  No.  His session at the Father’s Right Hand is his place of empowering his people when temptation strikes.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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