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…
The compassion of the Son of God was a subject of joyful contemplation to the holy men of old, who saw His day afar off, and were glad. With delight they celebrated the comfort which He should bring to the mourners in Zion; the care which He should take of the lambs of His flock; His sympathy with the afflicted; His condescension to the weak; and the concern with which lie should bring them through their difficulties to safety and peace, and everlasting gladness. Hence it is, also, that in their sacred hymns and songs of triumph they delight to present Him under all those images which are fitted to convey ideas of the gentlest and most engaging order. The design for which the Son of God appeared on earth, and which He voluntarily undertook to accomplish, was a design of the highest compassion. And as the design on which He came was that of unutterable love, so the tenderest compassion distinguished the fulfilment of every part of His great undertaking. He went about doing good, and His Divine power was ever exercised in works of mercy. And with these manifestations of Divine power, how mild and gentle is His demeanour to the humble and the weak! How tender and condescending His addresses to the poor and the contrite! Observe also His sympathy with His disciples in the season of affliction, and the anxiety with which He seeks to give them comfort. But to seek and to save that which was lost Christ came into the world, and all His discourses are full of earnest desire for the welfare of men — of pity for sinners, and of consolation for the miserable. His compassion was manifested even to those who rejected Him. But a view of compassion yet remains to be noticed, which in vain our ideas attempt to reach, or language to describe. He pays the price of human guilt, and gives His life a ransom for many. Having thus directed our attention to the compassion of that great High Priest, who is passed into the heaven — Jesus, the Son of God, let us apply these views to our condition, and consider the encouragement which they are fitted to afford when we approach to the throne of grace. The gracious office which Christ sustains, and the compassion of His character, are fitted to give to us encouragement in all our services, and through the whole of life. But there are special seasons which the apostle describes as "the time of need," in which we are particularly called, in the exercise of hope and trust, to come to the throne of grace.
I. AMONG THESE WE ARE NATURALLY DIRECTED IN THE FIRST PLACE TO THAT OF A SINNER UNDER DEEP CONVICTIONS OF GUILT. How suited is the gospel of Christ to bring back to God and give peace to the troubled soul! And how admirably does the view of such a High Priest, touched with the feeling of our infirmities, harmonise with every part of the gracious plan for our recovery and salvation! In Him we see every quality which is calculated to insure the confidence, and to dissipate the fears of the humble and the contrite, and through Him, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, they seek the offered mercy, and find the promised rest.
II. AND ARE NOT THE SAME VIEWS CALCULATED TO ENCOURAGE US TO APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE, UNDER A SENSE OF OUR WEAKNESS, AND OF OUR DANGERS FROM WORLD LYING IN WICKEDNESS? In a state so surrounded with dangers, and especially in those seasons when we are made to feel how weak we are, or when wearied with the struggles and difficulties which we encounter on the path of duty, we are tempted to retire from the contest, and to leave the post; assigned us, hopeless of success — how fitted to inspire us with courage and perseverance is the view of that provision which the Father of mercies hath made for our support and direction, in the mediation of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. He is the same Divine Master who has passed before us through the scene of suffering and temptation, and has shown Himself to be so unspeakably our Friend. He knows the difficulties with which we have to struggle, and by proofs the most affecting He has taught us to place confidence in His care.
III. AND AS THE COMPASSION OF OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST GIVES COURAGE AND SUPPORT AMIDST THE DANGERS AND TRIALS OF LIFE, SO IT GIVES US COMFORT AND PEACE AT THE APPROACH OF DEATH. The Son of God changes the darkness into light. The glory of that state He hath prepared for us, sheds far its light, and illumines every prospect, and the voice of the Saviour is heard conducting and welcoming us to the mansions of His Father. How suited to the fallen state of man is the dispensation of the gospel!
(S. MacGill, D. D.)
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.