For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are…
It has been well said, "Though the lower animals have feeling, they have no fellow-feeling, it only belongs to man to weep with them that weep, and, by sympathy, to divide another's sorrows and double another's joys." I have read that the wounded stag sheds tears as its life blood flows fast upon the purple heather, but never that its pangs and agonies drew tears from its fellows in the herd. That finer touch of nature belongs to man alone. Sympathy is the echo that a heart gives to another's cry of anguish. But a few weeks since I was in the land of mountains, crags, and rocks, and there, at different well-selected spots, I heard the blast of the Swiss horn. Grand were the echoes as they rolled among the mountain gorges, giving every snowy peak a voice, and every pine-clad hill a tongue. Marvellous was it to have the sound that first came from our very feet flung back upon our ears from distant ranges, that looked the very embodiment of silence. But more musical by far, because more heavenly, is the response given by a heart touched with the feeling of another's grief, and that grief, the grief of one who has no legal claim upon its sympathy. But be it remembered, the best of human sympathy is but human sympathy at best. To see it in all its exquisite perfections of tenderness, we have to turn from man to his Maker — from the saint to his Saviour — from earth to heaven.
I. THE SYMPATHY OF JESUS FLOWS THROUGH KNOWLEDGE. Tea thousand springs of earthly sympathy are sealed through ignorance. Child of God, the sympathy of your Saviour is never lacking through want of knowledge. There is no wall of separation, however thin, that hides from His eyes the sorrow and the misery within. Jesus knows the every care of every saint. Poor troubled one, thou mayest venture nigh. Thou canst not tell Him that He knew not long before. Are you trying to carry your cares in your own bosom? Like the Spartan youth who stole a fox and hid it in his coat; are you letting it eat its way into your very vitals rather than it should be discovered? For pity's sake forbear. Go cast yourselves upon the sympathy of Him who not only reads the sorrow of the face, but the deeper anguish of the heart.
II. THE SYMPATHY OF JESUS IS PROMPTED BY HIS NATURE. With Jesus to know is to be touched. If His knowledge cuts the channel, His nature at the same moment fills it with the stream of compassionate love. Would you know what Jesus is? Then you have but to find out what Jesus was.
III. THE SYMPATHY OF JESUS IS DEEPENED BY EXPERIENCE. This is very beautifully taught in the closing sentence of the verse, "But was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." There can after all be but little true sympathy, however loving the heart, where there has been no similar experience. It is the widow who knows best how to speak words of comfort to the one from whose side an affectionate husband has been torn. It is the man who has him. self passed through the agonies of a financial difficulty that knows best how to cheer the one who, after every desperate effort to retrieve his fortune, yet finds himself going to the wall step by step. It is in the school of experience that the language of sympathy is best taught. Christ's knowledge of our trials is not a theoretical but an experimental one. He knows what the weight of a burden is by having carried it.
(A. G. Brown.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.