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…
I. THERE IS, THERE WILL BE, A SEASON, MANY A SEASON, IN THE COURSE OF OUR PROFESSION AND WALKING BEFORE GOD, WHEREIN WE DO OR SHALL STAND IN NEED OF ESPECIAL AID AND ASSISTANCE. This is included in the last words, "help in time of need" — help that is suitable and seasonable for and unto such a condition wherein we are found earnestly to cry out for it.
1. A time of affliction is such a season. God is an help (Psalm 46:1) in all sorts of straits and afflictions.
2. A time of persecution is such a season; yea, it may be the principal season here intended (see chap. 10.). And this is the greatest trial that in general God exerciseth His Church withal. In such a season some seed quite decayeth, some stars fall from heaven, some prove fearful and unbelieving, to their eternal ruin; and few there are but that where persecution is urgent, it hath some impression upon them to their disadvantage. Carnal fears, with carnal wisdom and counsels, are apt to be at work in such a season; and all the fruit that comes from those evil roots is bitter.
3. A time of temptation is such a season. St. Paul found it so when he had the messenger of Satan sent to buffet him.
4. A time of spiritual desertion is such a season. When God in any way withdraws Himself from us, we shall stand in need of special assistance.
5. A time wherein we are called unto the performance of any great and signal duty is such a season also. So was it with Abraham when he was called first to leave his country and afterwards to sacrifice his son. Such was the call of Joshua to enter into Canaan, proposed to our example (Hebrews 13:5), and of the apostles to preach the gospel when they were sent out as sheep among wolves.
6. Times of changes and the difficulties wherewith they are attended introduce such a season. "Changes and war," saith Job, "are against me" (Job 10:17). There is in all changes a war against us, wherein we may be foiled if we are not the more watchful and have not the better assistance.
7. The time of death is such a season. To let go all hold of present things and present hopes, to give up a departing soul, entering into the invisible world, and an unchangeable eternity therein, into the hands of a sovereign Lord, is a thing which requires a strength above our own for the right and comfortable performance of.
II. THAT THERE IS WITH GOD IN CHRIST, GOD ON HIS THRONE OF GRACE, A SPRING OF SUITABLE AND SEASONABLE HELP FOR ALL TIMES AND OCCASIONS OF DIFFICULTY. He is the God of all grace, and a fountain of living waters is with Him for the refreshment of every weary and thirsty soul.
III. ALL HELP, SUCCOUR, OR SPIRITUAL ASSISTANCE IN OUR STRAITS AND DIFFICULTIES PROCEEDS. FROM MERE MERCY AND GRACE, OR THE GOODNESS, KINDNESS, AND BENIGNITY OF GOD IN CHRIST.
IV. WHEN WE HAVE THROUGH CHRIST OBTAINED MERCY AND GRACE FOR OUR PERSONS, WE NEED NOT FEAR BUT THAT WE SHALL HAVE SUITABLE AND SEASONABLE HELP FOR OUR DUTIES. If we find mercy and obtain grace, we shall have help.
V. THE WAY TO OBTAIN HELP FROM GOD IS BY A DUE GOSPEL-APPLICATION OF OUR SOULS FOR IT TO THE THRONE OF GRACE.
VI. GREAT DISCOURAGEMENTS OFTEN INTERPOSE THEMSELVES IN OUR MINDS, AND AGAINST OUR FAITH, WHEN WE STAND IN NEED OF ESPECIAL HELP FROM GOD AND WOULD MAKE OUR APPLICATION UNTO HIM FOR RELIEF. It is included in the exhortation to come with boldness; that is, to cast off and conquer all those discouragements, and to use confidence of acceptance and liberty of speech before Him.
VII. FAITH'S CONSIDERATION OF THE INTERPOSITION OF CHRIST IN OUR BEHALF, AS OUR HIGH PRIEST, IS THE ONLY WAY TO REMOVE DISCOURAGEMENTS AND TO GIVE US BOLDNESS IN OUR ACCESS TO GOD. Let us come, therefore, with boldness; that is, on the account of the care, love, and faithfulness of Christ as our High Priest, before discoursed on.
VIII. IN ALL OUR APPROACHES UNTO GOD WE ARE TO CONSIDER HIM AS ON A THRONE. Though it be a throne of grace, yet it is still a throne, the consideration whereof should influence our minds with reverence and godly fear in all things wherein we have to do with Him.
(John Owen, 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.