Hebrews 2:17
So He had to be made like His brothers in every way, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people.
Sermons
A Sermon Preached on Christmas DayR. Farindon, J. D.Hebrews 2:17
Advantages of Christ's Manifestation in the FleshH. Usher, D. D.Hebrews 2:17
Christ a Merciful and Faithful High PriestG. Lawson.Hebrews 2:17
Christ Like His BrethrenS. Charters.Hebrews 2:17
Christ Our High Priest, Merciful and FaithfulB. Whichcote, D. D.Hebrews 2:17
Christ S Likeness unto His BrethrenA. B. Bruce, D. D.Hebrews 2:17
Christ's Intercession CompassionateThomas Watson.Hebrews 2:17
Christ's Priestly OfficeW. Bridge, M. A.Hebrews 2:17
Colossians I. 15-18St. Chrysostom Hebrews 2:17
Human Nature of ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 2:17
Like to His BrethrenHomilistHebrews 2:17
Our High PriestH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 2:17
Our High Priest's BlessingW. Bridge, M. AHebrews 2:17
Our High Priest's OfferingW. Bridge, M. A.Hebrews 2:17
Reconciliation with GodJohn Bate.Hebrews 2:17
The Father's Pity and the Son's SympathyJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Hebrews 2:17
The Generosity of Our KinsmanGibbon.Hebrews 2:17
The Reconciliation of Sinners by the Death of ChristB. Whichcote, D. D.Hebrews 2:17
The Work of Our High PriestW. Bridge, M. A.Hebrews 2:17
What Behoved ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.Hebrews 2:17
The Sublime Results of the Incarnation and Death of ChristJ.S. Bright Hebrews 2:14-18
Christ's Humanity the Result of His Desire to be More than a Savior from SinC. New Hebrews 2:17, 18
Our Great High Priest - His Functions and QualificationsW. Jones Hebrews 2:17, 18
The Incarnation Needed for an Efficient PriesthoodD. Young Hebrews 2:17, 18
Wherefore in all things it behooved him, etc.

I. THE FUNCTIONS OF OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

1. To make atonement for man as a sinner. "A High Priest... to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Various are the renderings of this clause. Revised Version, "to make propitiation;" Alford, "to make expiation;" Ebrard, and Stuart also, "to make atonement." Ebrard says, "Ἱλάσκεσθαι comes from ἵλαος Ιλαος denotes, not the internal disposition of God towards man, but the actual, positive expression and radiation of that feeling which first becomes again possible towards the redeemed; and ἱλάσκεσθαι means to make it again possible for God to be ἵλᾶος, i.e. to make a real atonement for real guilt." Whence arises this need of atonement? Not because God was indisposed to forgive and save man. It has been well said by Delitzsch, "As the Old Testament nowhere says that sacrifice propitiated God's wrath, lest it should be thought that sacrifice was an act by which, as such, man influenced God to show him grace; so also the New Testament never says that the sacrifice of Christ propitiated God's wrath, lest it may be thought that it was an act anticipatory of God's gracious purpose, which obtained, and, so to speak, forced from God, previously reluctant, without his own concurrence, grace instead of wrath." The death of Jesus Christ for us was the expression of the love of God towards us, and not its procuring cause. Why, then, was the sacrifice of the cross necessary to the forgiveness of our sin and the sanctification of our being?

(1) To maintain the majestic authority of God's Law. Obedience to law is an indispensable condition of moral well-being. Man cannot be saved except in harmony with it. The perfect obedience of our Lord, who was'" obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross," is the most striking and significant testimony "that the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good."

(2) To meet the deep needs of man's spiritual nature. Man needs the removal of his alienation from God. His sins have separated between him and his God. He is alienated and an enemy in his mind by wicked works. And the death of the Only Begotten of the Father was necessary to reconcile him to God. That death was both "a response to the imperious claims of the eternal law of righteousness, and the final appeal of the Divine love to the conscience and affections of the human race. That appeal moves man's heart, and awakens within it love to God. Moreover, man needs the satisfaction of the instinct of right now awakened within him. The truly penitent soul, knowing that sin is rightly followed by suffering, and if persisted in leads to death, and, hating sin in itself, would fain suffer as an atonement for its sins and as a homage to goodness and truth. Such a penitent soul feels that without shedding of blood there is no remission." The awakened conscience cries out for atonement. Our Lord's death for sin, the voluntary surrender of his life upon the cross for us, meets this deep and urgent need of the religious heart.

2. To succor man as a sufferer. Man needs a High Priest who "is able to succor them that are tempted." The word "tempted" is used in two senses in the Bible.

(1) Tested, proved, with a good intent, as in the case of Abraham (Genesis 22:1). St. James also writes of temptations of this kind (James 1:2, 3).

(2) Tempted with evil intent, or solicitation to sin. In both these senses man is tempted. He is tried by suffering and sorrow, by physical pain and spiritual conflict. He is also assailed by subtle solicitations to sin. He requires a High Priest who will be able to help him in these trying experiences; one who will give him sympathy in his sorrows, inspire him with patience in his trials, and with spiritual discernment and strength in his temptations to sin. Such are the functions of our great High Priest.

II. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

1. He must share our nature in order that he might make atonement for us as sinners. The perfect obedience which our Lord rendered to the holy will of God, the painful sufferings which he patiently endured, and the terrible death which he voluntarily submitted to, could not have constituted an atonement for us had he not previously taken upon himself our nature. "Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren." It was morally necessary that he should share our nature if he would efficiently serve us as our High Priest.

2. He must share our trials in order that he might succor us in our sufferings. Our High Priest must be "merciful," so as to feel compassion for suffering and tempted men. He must be "faithful," so as to elicit and retain the confidence of those whom he represents before God. He must himself suffer temptation, that he may efficiently help the tempted. Both classes of temptation assailed him. He was tempted by satanic suggestion and argument and inducement. He was tried by severest physical pains, and by spiritual sorrows which grew into the great overwhelming agony. "A Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.... Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Hence he is able to succor them that are tempted. He can not only feel for them, but with them. By his personal experience of our sufferings he has acquired the power of sympathy with us in them. "As God, he knows what is in us; but as man, he feels it also." "Sympathy," says Burke, "may be considered as a sort of substitution, by which we are put into the place of another man, and affected in many respects as he is affected." Thus our great High Priest sympathizes with his tried people. "In all their affliction he is afflicted." He succors as wall as sympathizes; he inspires with courage as well as regards with compassion; and in our weakness he makes us strong in himself "and in the power of his might." Having such a High Priest, let us trust him heartily and at all times. - W.J.







Made like unto His brethren.
This high feast of the nativity of our blessed Saviour is called by St. "the great metropolitan feast." For, as to the chief city the whole country resorts (Psalm 122:4); so all the feast-days of the whole year meet and are concentred in the joy of this feast. If we will draw them into a perfect circle, we must set the foot of the compass upon this, "God was made like unto man." My text is laid down unto us in the form of a model proposition; which consists of two parts, the dictum and the modus. Here is, first, the proposition, "Christ is made like us." Secondly, the modification or qualification of it, "It behoved Him so to be." First, in the proposition, our meditations are directed to Christ and to His brethren. And we consider "what Christ is, and what we were." God He was from all eternity, but in the fulness of time "made like unto as." But we were miserable sinners, enemies to God. But now, by Christ's assimilation to us, we are made like unto God. Secondly, the modification carries out thoughts to those two common heads — the convenience, and the necessity of it. Now this again looks, equally on both — on Christ, and on His brethren. If " in all things it behoved Christ to be like unto His brethren," which is the benefit, heaven and earth will conclude, men and angels will infer, that it behoveth us to be made like unto Christ, which is the duty. My text, ye see, is divided equally between these two terms, "Christ," and "His brethren." That which our devotion must contemplate in Christ is, first, His divine; secondly, His human, nature; thirdly, the union of them both. First, His divine nature; for we cannot but make a stand, and inquire who He was who ought to do this. Secondly, His human nature; for we find Him here "flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bones," made like unto us in our flesh, in our souls. "What can we say more?" Our apostle tells us, "in all things." And then, thirdly, will follow the union, expressed in the passive " to be made." in His assimilation, and the assumption of our nature. All these fill us with admiration; but the last raiseth it yet higher. Fourthly, the end of all is the end of all — our salvation; the end of our creation, of our redemption, of this assimilation; and the last end of all, the glory of God. Then "His brethren " and He will " dwell together in unity."

I. In the first place, in an holy ecstasy we cry out with the prophet," Who is He that cometh?" (Isaiah 63:1). "Who is He that must be made like unto us?" What is done? and, Who did it? " are of so near relation that we can hardly abstract one from the other. We, who are children of time, have need of a captain who must be born in time. We were sick of a bold and foolish ambition to be gods. And this disease became epidemical: we all would be independent, our own lawgivers, our own God. Pride threw us down; and nothing but humility, the exinanition of the Son of God, could raise us.

II. Therefore, in the next place, as Christ is "God of His Father," so He is "man of His mother"; the Son of God, and the Son of Mary. That He appeareth in the likeness of our flesh, that He appeareth and speaketh and suffereth in our flesh, is the high prerogative of the gospel. And here He publisheth Himself in every way of representation.

1. "In our image or likeness," — "In the form" of a servant, our very picture, a living picture, such a picture as one man is of another.

2. "By way of comparison." For how hath He dilated Himself by a world of comparisons! He is a "Shepherd," to guide and feed us; a "Captain," to lead us; a "Prophet," to teach us. He is a "Priest," and He is "the Sacrifice" for us. He is "Bread," to strengthen us; a "Vine," to refresh us; a "Lamb," that we may be meek; a "Lion," that we may be valiant; a "Door," to let us in; and "the Way," through which we pass into life. He is anything that will make us like Him. Sin and error and the devil have not appeared in more shapes to deceive and destroy us than Christ hath to save us.

3. By His " exemplary" virtues; and those raised to such a high pitch of perfection, that neither the heretic, nor the Turk, nor the devil himself could leach and blemish it.

III. We must now, with a reverent and fearful hand, but touch at the passive "to be made," which pointeth out the union of both the natures in one person. The apostle telleth us that "it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." And "to the apprehension of this union" (as to the knowledge of God), as saith, "we arc led by weak and faint representations drawn from sensible things," and by negations. "Not after this manner." He was made like unto us, it is true: but not so as flesh and blood may imagine, or a wanton and busy wit conceive. His glory did not take from Him the form of a servant, nor did this assimilation lessen or alter Him in that by which He was equal to His Father. This is "a great mystery" (1 Timothy 3:16); and mysteries cannot be searched nor sounded to the depth. It fareth with us in the pursuit of profound mysteries as with those who labour in rich mines. When we dig too deep, we meet with poisonous fogs and damps instead of treasure; when we labour above, we find less metal, but more safety. Humility and purity of soul are the best convoys in the ways of knowledge. Be not then too inquisitive to find out the manner of this union. That Christ "was made like unto us," is the joy of this feast; but that He ought to be so, is the wonder and ecstasy of our joy. That He would descend, is mercy; but that He must descend, is our astonishment. Had the apostle said, "It behoved us that He should be made like unto us" it had found an easy belief; the "it behoved" had been placed "in its proper place" on the face of a captive. All will say, "It behoved us much." But to put a aebet upon the Son of God, and make it a beseemming thing for Him to become flesh, "to be made like unto us," is as if one should set a ruby in clay, a diamond in brass, a chrysolite in baser metal, and say they are placed well there. To give a gift, and call it a debt, is not our usual language. On earth it is not; but in heaven it is the proper dialect, fixed in capital letters on the mercy-seat. It is the joy of this feast, the angels' anthem, "A Saviour is born! " And if He will be a Saviour, an Undertaker, a Surety, such is the nature of fidejussion and suretyship, debet, "He must," "it behoveth Him"; He is as deeply engaged as the party whoso Surety He is.

1. Let us look on the aptness of the means, and we shall soon find that this "foolishness of God" (1 Corinthians 1:25), as the apostle calls it, "is wiser than man, and this weakness of God is stronger than men"; and that the debt, it is right set. For "if you will have extremes meet, you must have a middle line to draw them together": and, behold, here they meet, and are made one! The properties of either nature being entire, yet meet and concentre as it were in one person. Majesty putteth on humility; Power, infirmity; Eternity, mortality. By the one our Saviour dieth for us, by the other He riseth again; by the one He suffereth as man, by the other He conquereth as God; by both He perfecteth and consummateth the great work of our redemption.

2. So then here is an aptness and conveniency: but the words, "It behoved Him," imply also a kind of necessity. That God could be made like mortal man, is a strange contemplation; that He would, is a rise and exaltation of that; that He ought, super-exalteth, and sets it at a higher pitch; but that He must be so, that necessity in a manner should bring Him down, were not His love infinite as well as His power, would stagger and amaze the strongest faith. It is true, this condescension of His, this assimilation, was free and voluntary, with more cheerfulness and earnestness undertaken by Him titan received now by us. But if we look back upon the precontract which passed between His Father and Him, we shall then see a debuit, "a kind of necessity," laid upon Him. Our Saviour Himself speaketh it to His blessed mother, "I must go about My Father's business" (Luke 2:49). We may measure His love by the decree; that is, we cannot measure it: for the decree is eternal.Application: —

1. If Christ be like unto us, then we also ought to be like unto Him, and to have our assimilation, our nativity, by analogy and rules of proportion answerable unto His. To be like unto Him! Why, who would not be like unto Him? "Like Him" we all would be in His glory. But to be like Him in the wilderness, like Him in His daily converse with men, like Him in the high-priest's hall, like Him in the garden, like Him on the Cross: this we like not; hero we start back, and are afraid of His countenance. But if we will be His brethren, this is the copy we must take out, these be our postures, these our colours: bathed in His blood, it is true; but, withal, bathed in the waters of affliction, bathed in our tears, bathed in our own blood.

2. As He was made like unto us, so are we made like unto Him. We are not born so, nor so by chance. This resemblance is not drawn out with a thought or a word. How many be there who bear Christ's name, yet are not like unto Him, because they will not be made so!

3. As there was a debuit upon Christ, so there is upon us. As "it behoved Him" to be made like unto us, so it behoveth us to be made like unto Him. A humble Christ, and a proud Christian; a meek Christ, and a bloody Christian; an obedient Christ, and a traitorous Christian; Christ in an agony, and a Christian in pleasure; Christ fasting, and a Christian rioting; Christ on the Cross, and a Christian in a Mahometical Paradise, there is no decorum in it, nothing but solecism and absurdity.

4. This duty is not only becoming, but necessary. For if a kind of necessity lay upon Christ, by His contract with His Father, "to be made like unto us"; a great necessity will lie upon us, by our covenant with Him, to be like unto Him; and woe unto us, if we be not! It is "that one thing necessary": there is nothing necessary for us but it.

(R. Farindon, J. D.)

Homilist.
I. THE DETAILS OF THIS CONFORMITY.

1. Similarity of natures.

2. Similarity of circumstances. He took His place as one item in the great mass of humanity, and assumed no position inconsistent with manhood.

II. THE EXPEDIENCY OF THIS CONFORMITY. "It behoved Him." Even sovereignty is bound by law.

1. We must not deny or dispute the fact because we cannot understand the reasons on which it is founded.

2. Can we, who are less than God, complain if we also are under restraints of law?

III. THE OBJECT OF THIS URGENT AND IMPORTANT PURPOSE OF GOD,

1. "Merciful" sympathy can only flow from experience.

2. "Faithful."

(1)To all the types and promises that had gone before.

(2)To the work He undertook.

(3)In His character.

(Homilist.)

I. Note, first of all, THE EMPHASIS OF THAT EXPRESSION "IT BEHOVED HIM TO BE MADE IN ALL THINGS LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN." And observe that the "all things" here, concerning which our Lord's likeness to mankind is predicated, are not the ordinary properties of human nature, but emphatically and specifically man's sorrows. That will appear, I think, if you notice that my text is regarded am being a consequence of our Lord's incarnation for the help of His fellows. "He laid not hold upon ante)s, blot He laid hold upon the seed of Abraham." Wherefore, "in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Now, if the likeness here be the possession of true manhood, then my text is mere tantology, and it would simply be saying, "He became a man, wherefore it behoved Him to become a man." The same conclusion is, I think, fairly to be deduced from the last words of our chapter, where the fact of His suffering being tempted, is stated as His preparation to help, and as His qualification as a merciful and faithful High Priest. That is to say, the " all things" of which our Lord became partaker like us His brethren, are here the whole mass — in all its variety of pressure and diversity of nauseousness and bitterness — the whole mass of human sorrow which ham ever made men's hearts bleed and men's eyes run. Christ, in His single Manhood, says the writer, gathered unto Himself every form of pain. All the miseries of all men forced themselves into, and filled His heart. You and I have but a drop given to us; He drank the whole cup. Our natures are not capable of sorrow as varied, as deep, as the sorrow of Jesus Christ; but for each of us surely the assurance comes with some subtle power of consolation and strength.

II. So that brings me to the next point suggested here, viz., OUR LORD'S VARIED, ALL-COMPREHENSIVE SORROW WAS A NECESSITY IMPOSED UPON HIM BY THE PURPOSE WHICH HE HAD IN VIEW. "He taketh hold, not of angels, but of the seed of Abraham"; and therefore He must have a hand like theirs, that can grasp theirs, and which theirs can grasp. Unless the Master had Himself been standing on the heaving surges, and Himself been subjected to the beating of the storm, He could not revive and hold up the sinking disciple. And so our Lord's bitter suffering, diffused through life and concentrated on the Cross, was no mere necessary result of His humanity; was not simply borne because, being a Teacher, He must stand to His principles whatever befell Him because of them; but it was a direct result of the purpose He had in view, that purpose being our redemption. Therefore to say, "It behoved Him to be made in all things like unto His brethren," is but to declare that Christ's sufferings were no matter of physical necessity, but a matter of moral obligation. We know not by what mysterious process the Son learned obedience by the things which He suffered, nor can we understand how it was that the High Priest who would never have become the High Priest had He not been merciful, became yet more merciful by His own experience of human sorrow. But this we know, that somehow the pity, the sympathy of Christ, was deepened by His own life; and we can feel that it is easier for men to lay hold of His sympathy when they think of His sufferings, and to be sure that because in all points He was tempted like as we are "He is able to succour them that are tempted." Comfort drops but coldly from lips that have never uttered a sigh or a groan; and for our poor human hearts it is not enough to have a merciful God far off in the heavens. We need a Christ that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities ere we can come boldly to the Throne of Grace, assured of finding there grace in time of need.

III. Lastly, we have here THE SPECIFICATION OF THE MAIN PURPOSE OF OUR LORD'S SORROWS — "that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest." Christ's help is not merely the help of a wise Teacher. Men do not want only teaching. Their need goes far deeper than that. Christ is not the Helper whose help goes down to the depths and the roots of men's necessity, unless He is Priest as well as Prophet and King. He comes to do something as well as to say some. thing; comes to alter our relations to God, as well as to declare God's heart to us. And then, notice again how here we have Christ's priestly office extended over His whole life of suffering. The popular representations of the gospel, and the superficial grasp of it, which many good people have, are accustomed to draw broad line of demarcation between Christ's life and Christ's death, and to concentrate the whole of the sacrificial and expiatory character of His work in His death only. My text goes in the other direction. It says that all that long-drawn sorrow which ran through the whole life of Jesus Christ, whilst it culminated in His death, was His sacrifice for the sins of the world. For all sorrow, according to Scriptural teaching, is the fruit of sin; and the sinless Christ, who bore the sorrows which He had not earned, in bearing them bore them away.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Likeness is asserted without qualification, and yet there are limits arising out of the nature of the case. One limit of course is that there can be no likeness in moral character. This limit is implied in the very titles applied to the two parties, Sanctifier and sanctified, and it is expressly stated in the place where Christ is represented as "tempted in all respects similarly, apart from sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Another limit, nowhere referred to in words, but tacitly assumed is, that the likeness is in those respects only in which our life on earth is affected by the curse pronounced on man for sin. Overlooking this principle, we might fail to be impressed with the likeness of Jesus to other men in His experience; we might even be impressed with a sense of unlikeness. There are respects in which Christ's life was unlike the common life of men. He was a celibate; He died young, and had no experience of the temptations of middle life, or the infirmities of old age; in outward lot He was the brother of the poor, and was well acquainted with their griefs, but of the joys and temptations of wealth He had no experience. But these features of difference do not fall under the category of the curse. Family ties date from before the fall. The doom pronounced on man was death immediate, and prolonged life is a mitigation of the curse. Wealth too is a mitigating feature, another evidence that the curse has not been executed in rigour, but has remained to a considerable extent an unrealised ideal, because counteracted by an underlying redemptive economy. It will be found that Christ's likeness to His brethren is closest just where the traces of the curse are most apparent: in so far as this life is

(1)afflicted with poverty,

(2)exposed to temptations, to ungodliness,

(3)subject to death under its more manifestly penal forms, as when it comes as a blight in early life, or as the judicial penalty of crime. Jesus was like His brethren in proportion as they need His sympathy and succour, like the poor, the tempted, the criminal.

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

Let us consider the design of our Saviour's mission, that Be came into the world to save sinners by turning us away from our iniquities, and thereby purifying to Himself a people zealous of good works; and we shall find that the manifestation of Christ in the flesh did more effectually answer this end than any other means could.

1. The first advantage that occurs is the simplicity of the character which the Deity assumed from whom the precepts of eternal life might issue with all the sanction of the Godhead, without the terror of its majesty.

2. As the end of Christ's coming was to turn us to the Lord, and as no obedience to His laws can be truly acceptable, but that which springs from love, so no scheme could possibly engage so strongly our gratitude as that which so manifestly declared His abundant love to us in sending His Son to take our nature upon Him.

(H. Usher, D. D.)

I. IT IS AN ACT OF DIVINE CONDESCENSION TO HUMAN WEAKNESS. Our thoughts of God are imperfect and obscure, because He is invisible and cannot be perceived by any of the senses. The incarnation of Christ conducts man to the knowledge of God and to communion with Him. Let it awaken our gratitude, that the new and living way is open to us; that we are not assembled before a lifeless image, practising vain impure and cruel rites; that the purpose of our solemn assembly is to celebrate the love of our Creator.

II. Christ's being made in all things like His brethren renders Him A FIT EXAMPLE FOR THEM TO IMITATE. It is by beholding the glory of the Lord that we are changed into the same image, and this is agreeable to the principles of human nature. Imitation is one of our first and strongest principles. The example of Christ is every way fitted for our instruction. From His humility we learn that pride was not made for man. From His meekness towards those who injured Him we learn to repress anger and revenge. The young may learn from Him subjection to their parents; the wise may learn to employ their wisdom in instructing the ignorant; the great may learn to be good; the poor may learn contentment, and the afflicted resignation. In imitating His devout retirement we perceive that man is made for devotion, and that in the exercise of it our souls return unto their rest.

III. Christ was made in all things like His brethren THAT HE MIGHT SYMPATHISE WITH THEM. He took not upon Him the nature of angels, for then He could not have sympathised with men. As in circumstances of distress and danger we most need the sympathy of a friend, so Christ became "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

(S. Charters.)

(in conjunction with Psalm 103:13): — The thought which I desire, by the comparison of these texts, to suggest is this — How the compassion of God for men, disclosed in the Old Testament, has grown in the New into the fellow-feeling of Christ. We have not lost our Father's pity; we have gained a brother's sympathy.

1. Both halves of revelation agree in giving impartial prominence to two aspects of God's moral attitude towards us — to His aspect of displeasure towards the sinner as identified with his sin, and His aspect of grace towards the sinner as separable from his sin. Whatever the Old Testament discloses of Divine kindness to men, of gentle forbearance, and enduring watchful care, and abundant forgiveness, and healing helpfulness, seems all of it to be the condescension of One who is too great to be anything else than nobly pitiful.

2. There is no doubt whatever that some souls, fed on such views of God as these, did grow up to a spiritual stature quite heroical Long and close meditation on the greatness and on the pity of Jehovah produced very noble men of God. Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, were men in whom was united rare spiritual strength with rare spiritual tenderness. To grow familiar with the vastness and unmaginableness of the Divine nature through the habit of laying one's soul alongside the lofty One who inhabiteth eternity makes the soul wax great. For true greatness of soul is near of kin to a manly lowliness of soul; and he who frankly and profoundly worships Him who is alone noble enough for worship will find himself ennobled.

3. At the same time, the characteristic tendency of Old Testament saints to look at the Divine goodness as coloured by His pity and as having a constant reference to His distance above His creatures implied an imperfect appreciation of His love. Compassion is not the perfection of love. Love, when it is perfect, vanquishes what it cannot obliterate, the distinctions of high and low, of great and small. It refuses to be separated from its loved one. It can no longer be at ease while he suffers, or rich while he is poor, but bridges the gulf of difference, identifies itself with its object, and forgets to pity that it may learn to sympathise. By doing this new thing, which no Old Testament believer had dared to credit Him with doing, God disclosed a manner of love for men for which the name of pity is too weak. The Creator has become also a creature; and with us He has henceforth in Jesus Christ one nature, common; a common history; one life, one death. In brief, to the paternity of God has been added the fraternal tie.

4. Now, what is the worth to us of this new relation which God has acquired to man? There are three directions at least in which actual experience must be held to modify even the compassions of the Must Merciful.(1) For one thing, it gives such knowledge of every similar sufferer's case as no mere spectator can have.(2) If anything could induce us thus to make God the confidant of our life, it would be this further result of His incarnation, that in this respect at least, so far as human experience goes, He has put Himself on our own level. He has abolished at His own choice the gulf which parted us. He is our equal; He is our Fellow.(3) There is still another fruit of the incarnation more striking than all. -4. chord which has been once set in unison with another vibrates when its fellow is sharply struck. God has set His heart through human suffering into perpetual concord with human hearts. Strike them, and the heart of God quivers for fellowship. If this is compassion, it is so in a more literal sense than when we use the word as a mere synonym for pity. It is sympathy, in the Greek and New Testament sense; it is, as our version has it, being "touched" with the same feeling. It is the remembrance of His own human past which stirs within the soul of Christ when, now, from His high seat, He sees what mortal men endure. Ah! that a world of weary sufferers only knew what beatings of heart are answering back from within the unseen where the Eternal hides!

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

-. — Suppose a number of prisoners confined in one of our old gaols, and there is a person desirous to do them good; imagine that he cannot be admitted unless his name is put down in the calendar. Well, out of his abundant love to these prisoners he
A merciful and faithful High Priest.
Christ as God could have been merciful unto us, although He had not been made like unto us; but not as our High Priest. There is an ability of sufficiency, and of power; and so Christ as God was able to succour those that are tempted, although Himself had never been tempted. But there is an ability of idoneity or fitness, or aptness and disposition; and so the apostle says here, "For in that Himself bath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted." The priestly office of Christ is the great storehouse of all that grace and comfort which we have on this side heaven: it is that whereby we are reconciled to God the Father and relieved against temptation.

I. WHEN THE LEND JESUS CHRIST DIED UPON THE CROSS, HE DID OFFER UP HIMSELF A SACRIFICE UNTO GOD THE FATHER. Yea, as if all sacrifices were met in Him; all those titles that are given unto other sacrifices, they are given unto Him. There are three sorts of sacrifices: some were living; others were not living, and those were either solid, as bread and the like; or else they were liquid, as wine and oil. There was always a destroying of the thing offered.

II. WHEN THIS SACRIFICE WAS UPON THE ALTAR, THEN THE SINS OF ALL BELIEVERS, PAST, PRESENT, AND TO COME, WERE ALL LAID UPON JESUS CHRIST (Isaiah 53:6).

III. WHEN THESE SINS WERE THUS LAID UPON CHRIST, HE DID THEREBY GIVE FULL SATISFACTION UNTO GOD THE FATHER, UNTO DIVINE JUSTICE.

IV. ALL THIS HE DID AS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST, AND IN A MORE TRANSCENDENT AND EMINENT MANNER THAN EVER ANY HIGH PRIEST DID BEFORE HIM.

V. HOW DOES ALL THIS CONDUCE TO OUR COMFORT OR HOLINESS?

1. Is it not a comfortable thing in the ears of a poor sinner that there is a storehouse of mercy set up? that the Lord hath erected an office of love, and of mere compassion for poor sinners? Is it not a comfortable thing that God the Father is satisfied, and so your sins pardoned?

2. But you will say, "Does it not much conduce to our grace or holiness too?" Yes, this truth does conduce much to our holiness too. The new covenant of grace is founded upon the satisfaction of Jesus Christ upon the cross, upon that oblation (see Hebrews 9:13-15). But again, that we may see how this doth conduce to our holiness: strengthen faith, and we strengthen all. If faith be weakened, all grace is weakened: strengthen)our faith, and you strengthen all your holiness and all your graces.

3. The more a man does deny his own righteousness, the more holy he is with gospel holiness.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

If we now inquire further what the work of the high priest was and is, that accordingly we may address ourselves unto Jesus Christ for succour, we shall find that it is also to pray and intercede for the people.

I. WHEREIN CONSISTETH THIS INTERCESSION OF JESUS CHRIST?

1. It consists in this: His appearing for us in heaven, His owning of our cause and of our souls to God the Father (Hebrews 9:24).

2. He doth not only appear for us, but by virtue of His priestly office he does carry the power, merit, and virtue of His blood into the presence of God the Father in heaven, and sprinkles the mercy-seat with it seven times. Seven is a note of perfection. Those that Christ suffered for He does intercede for. He takes all their bonds, and He carries them in unto God the Father, and He says, "Father, I have paid these bonds, I have satisfied Thy justice for these poor sinners, and now My desire is that they may be acquitted from these debts" (Hebrews 9:11, 12).

3. He doth not only carry the power and virtue of His blood and present it to God the Father for our discharge, but He does also plead our cause in heaven, answering unto all those accusations that are brought against us (Romans 8:33).

4. He doth not only plead our cause and take off accusations that are brought against us, but He does also call for absolution and pardon of poor sinners at the hand of God the Father in a way of justice and equity; and therefore He is called our Advocate (1 John 2:1).

II. THE PREVALENCY OF CHRIST'S INTERCESSION WITH THE FATHER will appear if we consider the inclination and disposition that God the Father hath unto the same things that Christ intercedeth for If a child should come and intreat his father in a matter that the father hath no mind to, or that the father is set against, possibly he might not prevail; but if a beloved child shall come and pray the father in a business that the father likes as well as the child, surely then the child is very like to speed. We have a notable expression to this end in John 10:17: "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take it again." "I lay down My life": here is His suffering and His satisfaction. "That I may take it again": go up to heaven and take it again and intercede. The Father loves the world in giving Christ; the Son loves the world in dying for us; and the Father loves Christ again for loving us.

III. DOSE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST INTERCEDE FOR US IN HEAVEN AS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST? Yes, and He does do this in a more eminent way than ever any high priest did before Him.

1. He hath gone through more temptations than ever any high priest did.

2. In sympathy and compassion He goes beyond all the high priests that ever were before Him.

3. He is more faithful in His office and place than ever any high priest was.

IV. HOW DOTH ALL THIS CONDUCE NOW TO OUR COMFORT OR OUR HOLINESS, TO OUR GRACE OR PEACE?

1. To our comfort. Is it not a comfort to a poor man to have a Friend above, near the King. that may be able to do him kindness? A man sometimes says, "I had a friend indeed in the court, but now he is dead." Aye, but here is a Friend that never dies: He ever lives to make intercession. Friends may alter and turn enemies; but He changeth not, But you will say unto me, "This is exceeding good, and very comfortable in itself; but what is this to me? for I am afraid that the Lord Christ does not intercede for me."(1) It is no presumption for us to bear ourselves upon the intercession of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 15:22-28).(2) Who those are that the Lord Christ does intercede for in heaven (see 1 John 2:1).(3) How willing, how infinitely willing He is to intercede for us t Now if a man do receive money for to lay out for the benefit of others, poor orphans, or the like; if a man be faithful, certainly he will lay out the money for them, according to the intention of him that did trust him with the money. The Lord Jesus Christ is anointed as our great High Priest. to do the work of the priestly office: and this is one work, to intercede, and therefore He must needs be very willing to do it. Again, the more anything is the work of a man's relation, wherewithal he is clothed, the more (if he be faithful) is he willing to do the work. When men are exalted and come to greatness or honour, then they give down the comforts of their relation unto those that depend upon them: if a father come to any great preferment, the comfort of the relation of the father then falls down upon the children. And so, if one friend do come unto preferment, the comfort of the relation (or friendship)falls down. Now the Lord Jesus Christ, He is our High Priest; and He is now exalted, He is gone to heaven: and therefore all the comforts of all the relations that He stands in towards us do now fall upon us. And therefore He is very willing, because this is the work of His relation. And further, It is the work of His office. What a man does by office, that he does willingly; what a man does by office, he does industriously; what a man does by office, he does it readily; according unto a man's place, or office, so will his interpretation be.

2. This intercession of Jesus Christ; this work of the priestly office of Christ, and the consideration thereof, it does conduce exceedingly unto our grace and holiness. For —(1) What a mighty encouragement is here unto all poor sinners for to come unto Jesus Christ.(2) The more I see that the Lord Jesus appears in heaven for me, the more am I engaged to appear on earth for Him.(3) The more I consider or apprehend that the Lord Jesus Christ does lay out Himself for me, the more am I engaged to lay out myself for Him.

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

Now if we inquire further, we shall find also that the work of the High Priest was and now is to offer up the gifts of the people unto God; to present our prayers, praises, duties, services, and all spiritual performances unto God the Father, and to procure acceptance of Him.

I. WHAT DOTH OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR CHRIST, OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST, WHEN HE OFFERS UP OUR GIFTS UNTO GOD THE FATHER?

1. He doth take our persons, and carries them in unto God the Father in a most unperceivable way to us. He knows that if our persons be not first accepted our duty cannot be accepted: Love me, and love my duty; love me, and love my service: hate me, and hate my service.

2. As He doth take our persons, and lead and carry us into the presence of God the Father, so, when we perform any duty, He doth observe what evil or failing there is in that duty, and draws it out, takes it away before He presents the duty to God the Father.

3. As He takes away the iniquity of our holy things, so He observes what good there is in any of our duties or performances; and with that He mingles his own prayers and intercessions, His own incense, and presents all as one work mingled together unto God the Father.

II. WHAT ABUNDANCE OF FAVOUR AND ACCEPTANCE THIS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST HIMSELF HATH IN HEAVEN.

1. It was an agreement between God the Father and Christ, the second Person, before the world was, that in due time He should come into the world, take flesh upon Him, and die for sinners: and He did so. But before Christ came into the world there were thousands of souls saved; how came they to be saved? They came to be saved by the blood of Christ, and before Christ died. So then, God the Father saved them upon Christ's bare word, that He would come into the world and die for them. What a mighty trust was here!

2. Again, the trust appears in this: that He was made, when Be came into the world, the great Lord Treasurer of all the grace and comfort that should be given out unto the children of men.

3. But yet further, when our Lord and Saviour Christ died, and ascended unto God the Father to heaven, as soon as ever He came into heaven, saith the Father to Him, Thou hast now suffered, "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession"; all the world at one word. It was a mighty and a great trust that the Father did put upon Him.

4. Yea, as if all this were not enough, the Father did put the keys of heaven and of hell into His hand: the keys of heaven and hell into the hand of Christ (Revelation 1:18).

III. HE DOTH IMPROVE ALL THAT HIS OWN ACCEPTANCE, FOR OUR ACCEPTANCE; PLANTING ALL OUR DUTIES UPON HIS OWN ACCEPTANCE, UPON THAT ACCEPTANCE THAT HE HATH WITH THE FATHER. The favour and acceptance which the high priest had, in the time of Moses, was not for himself: he did improve it all for the people: he was to lay it out all for the people, and not for himself. Our High Priest goes beyond all other high priests in this particular also: for now, as for other high priests, though they went in with their incense, and covered the mercy-seat with a cloud, yet it was but once in the year; but our High Priest is always in the holy of holiest, and never goes out of it, ever covering the mercy-seat with His intercessions. Take their high priest, and though he was very holy as Aaron was, yet sometimes he made the people naked unacceptable; but our great High Priest never makes His people naked, but always clothes them with His own righteousness. Take their high priest, and though he did go into the holy of holiest for the people, yet he never led the people into the holy of holiest, they stood without; but our great High Priest is not only gone into the holy of holiest Himself but doth also lead every poor believer into the holy of holiest (Hebrews 10:19).

IV. WHAT ABUNDANCE OF ACCEPTANCE THEREFORE WE HAVE IN ALL OUR DUTIES BY HIM. Yes, we know that the pair of turtles were accepted in the time of the law by those that could offer no more. Surely much more now will a poor turtle be accepted in the time of the gospel, and those that could but bring goats-hair towards the making of the Tabernacle, they were welcome: and shall it not be so now much more in the times of the gospel? That which is little in regard to quantity, it may be great in regard of proportion; as the widow's mite was. Christ takes that lovingly that comes from love, whatever it be, though it be never so weak. Well, but suppose that a man's duty or service be performed with many failings, infirmities, hardness of heart, straitness of spirit, distracting thoughts; this is my case: Oh I is there any acceptance for such a duty as this is? We know how it was with Nicodemus, and the woman that came trembling and touched the hem of Christ's garment. And we must know that in every duty that we do perform there are two things: there is the sacrifice, and there is the obedience in offering the sacrifice. Though the sacrifice may be imperfect, yet your obedience in offering the sacrifice may be perfect, with gospel-perfection.

V. BUT HOW DOTH ALL THIS MAKE FOR OUR COMFORT, OR FOR OUR GRACE?

1. Surely, we cannot but see already how it doth make for our comfort. Is it not a comfortable thing for a man to know that his duties are not lost? that his prayer is not lost? that his hearing the Word is not lost? that his searching the Scriptures is not lost? that his communion is not lost? A man is unwilling to lose anything: and the more precious it is the more unwilling to lose it. Further, is it not a comfort for a man to have liberty to go unto the mercy-seat and there for to meet with God? Besides, is it not a great comfort to a man for to know how it shall go with him at the day of judgment? Once more; is it not a comfort for a poor beggar to be relieved at a rich man's door?

2. But how doth this make unto our holiness, unto holiness of life?Much every way:

1. In case I be ungodly, here is that that may for ever keep me from opposition to the good ways of God. I have said sometimes (may a wicked man say) concerning godly men's duties, that it was their hypocrisy; and I have said concerning such and such professors, this is your pride, and this is your singularity; and I have opposed, with all earnestness, the prayings of some of God's people; but is this true, that the Lord Jesus Christ takes every prayer of the meanest of God's children and carries it into the bosom of God the Father? and shall I dare to oppose that that the Lord Jesus Christ presents unto His Father? The Lord in mercy pardon me. I will never speak one word against the persons, meetings, or supplications of the godly again.

2. In case a man be a wicked man, here is mighty encouragement for to come unto Jesus Christ; aye, and to come presently. For is Jesus Christ the ladder that Jacob saw, by whom we go up to heaven? Then, till I do come to Christ, all is nothing, all is lost.

3. In case a man be godly, this truth doth conduce to our further holiness and growth in grace. If I be godly, then here I see infinite reason why I should be much in duty; not only pray, but be much in prayer. Why? for the Lord Christ taketh all, and carries all into the bosom of the Father, mingles His own odours, intercessions with it, although it be but a sigh and a groan. Further, the more evangelical you are in your obedience, the more holy ye are in your lives. I conclude all with this, if that the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, offers up all our gifts unto God the Father, whereby we have acceptance, what infinite cause have we all to be thankful to God for Christ, and to love Jesus Christ for ever!

(W. Bridge, M. A.)

I shall speak of one work more of our great High Priest, and that is, to bless the people.

I. WHAT THE BLESSING OF CHRIST OUR HIGH PRIEST IS, WHEREIN IT CONSISTS, AND WHAT CHRIST DOTH WHEN HE DOTH BLESS THE PEOPLE. I answer in the general, that the blessing of the gospel, and of Christ, consisteth in spiritual things especially, and not in temporal (Ephesians 1:3). But more particularly, if ye ask me wherein this consisteth, I shall name but two things:

1. First, This blessing of the gospel, or of Christ, it consists in a supernatural and spiritual enjoyment of God in Christ: the love and favour of God in Christ. Again, it consists also in the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost in our hearts: the giving out of the Holy Ghost unto the hearts of men. And therefore it is added: "And the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."

II. DOES THIS BLESSING PROPERLY OR SPECIALLY BELONG UNTO JESUS CHRIST? Yes, for He and none else was made a curse for sin; and therefore it belongs unto Him above all the world for to bless.

III. IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILLING FOR TO BLESS POOR SINNERS AND INCLINED UNTO IT? Yes, He is very willing: this blessing of the people, it is a work whereunto He is most delighted. Ye shall observe, therefore, what abundance of blessings Christ scattered among the people when He was here upon the earth.

IV. BUT DOTH HE DO IT? Yes, He doth do it, and doth it fully. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Not only meritoriously but by the hand of Christ. And, saith he, He hath done it with all spiritual blessings, and He hath done it by Jesus Christ.

1. When Christ our High Priest doth see that a man is weak in grace or weak in gifts, and hath some work or service for him to do, then the Lord doth bless him. Oh, soul, increase and multiply, increase in thy gifts and graces.

2. As the Lord doth bless weak gifts and graces when He intends to use them, so also when as He hath made use of a man, when a man hath done the work of God, then the Lord blesses that man.

3. As He does bless at this time, when a man hath done His work, so also when a man is willing for to leave all His relations and natural engagements for to follow Him, to cleave close unto Him, and to His ways and ordinances.

4. The Lord Christ, our High Priest, does bless when the would curses; a special time of Christ's blessing is when the world curses.

5. In the fifth place, the Lord Christ does also bless when His people do graciously enjoy the ordinances purely and evangelically administered.

V. HOW DOES ALL THIS CONDUCE UNTO OUR COMFORT AND UNTO OUR HOLINESS?

1. First for comfort: is it not a comfortable thing to be blessed by Jesus Christ? Is it not a comfortable thing for a man to have all his cursers to be blessers?

2. How does this make unto our holiness? Very much: this holds forth great encouragement unto all poor sinners for to come to Christ without delay. But yet further, as there is an encouragement for to come unto Christ, so this argument does also encourage us to go on in the good ways of Christ, notwithstanding all opposition that we meet. Times of opposition are Christ's blessing time.

3. Again, this argument does not only speak encouragement against all opposition, but it does also encourage us to go on in the good ways of God when we are called unto it, though we have but little strength and weak parts. Though there be but little oil in the cruse, though there be but little meal in the barrel, if Christ call to the work He will bless a man in it: and when Christ blesses, He does multiply and increase a man's parts in the using of them.

4. And yet further, if all this be true, why should not a man be contented with his condition, though he be never so mean? Truly he is too covetous, whom the blessing of Christ will not satisfy. Well, whatever my condition be, yet I may be blessed by Jesus Christ; and hath the Lord blessed me? then will I be contented with my condition, though it be never so mean, I have all, as Jacob once said, I have all.

5. Yea, in the fifth and last place: Here is that, which if well studied and considered, will provoke us all for to bless the Lord, and continually to bless the Lord! What is the life of a Christian here but a continual blessing of God?

(W. Bridge, M. A)

The strong point in the Hebrew economy was the high priest. His whole office and function was mercy, compassion. He stood between weakness, or sinfulness, or want, and the remedy; and mercy was the appointed channel through which to the imagination and the affection of the people God's grace flowed down to them; so that all their associations with him were those of lenity, of compassion, of mercy. He was the one great benefactor. He was an emancipator. He was, in the Jewish system, a central point out of which came light, and never scowls nor darkness. No other name, therefore, whether of king or of prophet, would be likely to strike the Israelite with such a feeling of religiousness, with such an elevating influence, or with such welcomeness, as that of high priest; and that is the reason why it was planted on the Saviour. It was a heart reason. How different was this mode of presenting the function of Christ Jesus from that which came up in after times! The view of an executive God; the view of a law-giving and law-executing God, that repels men by fear more than it draws them by love; the view of an abstract God, epitomised in philosophy — how few there are that can accept such views! It was a historical person, a personal person, a national person, that the Jews were prepared to accept; and when Jesus Christ was presented to them as really their Redeemer, under the figure of the high priest, it brought round about Him all those romantic, enthusiastic, and national feelings for which they were so famous. The whole function of the Saviour was founded upon the ignorance, the sinfulness, and the helplessness of men; and no revelation was needed to make these known. There is not a man who is not satisfied that he sins with every part of his being; and there is a concatenation of sinfulness running through his whole life. There is not a man who, when he undertakes to do anything in the direction of purity, is not conscious of his helplessness. There is not a man who, when he strives to be true and noble in his better nature, is not conscious that everything goes against him. And it was on this consciousness that high priest-ship was founded. Sin, then, is a matter of universal consciousness; and the only question is, is there any belief, any remedy for mankind who are subject to it? By way of preface, I may say first, that the human race has come to its ideal of God through growth. In the earlier period men came in conflict, first with the natural law of the globe; and fate and force were the more useful interpretations of that great law. When men developed near the animal line, the qualities of nature transcendently filled the heavens to their conception. The earlier thought of God as something separable from nature was that He was a Being that thundered and smote; that He was a Being possessed of great power; that He was a Being of tremendous avenging ability and force. Such were the elements that were earliest appreciable to the human race in their conception of the Divine Being. But as men grew civilised, and enlarged their experience, their capacities and their civic life, there grew up in them what I might almost call physical qualities of the Divine Being — namely, the moral elements. The warrior, more nearly than the brute giant, began to take on qualities which attracted admiration. Out of the warrior grew the king; and he represented the sense of public justice and of restraint for the benefit of his kingdom. Then came in the notion of the judge. Joined closely, also, with the idea of the executive, was the idea of the executioner to carry out his edicts. And all these elements were tinged somewhat with the conception of a king. It was not until we came down to as late a time as the earlier periods of the Old Testament history that the disclosures of the Divine nature began to be more ample. There was a state of receptivity, at last, in the human race by which you could bring to the conception of men, though very imperfectly, a larger notion of God. Then came the revelation of God as a universal Father. But when we come to the latest disclosure, even the fatherhood of God stood aside, as it were, that it might be represented to men by an intermediate conception. Christ came to give to the word "Father" its true and full meaning. Christ took on the human body, and He took it on with all its relations to matter. He came into the world to represent the Divine humility, the Divine helpfulness, the Divine sympathy with infirmity and sin. He came into life at the very lowest point; and He understood from the standpoint of compassion every conceivable human experience. There was not a thought or a feeling possible to human nature, that our Saviour did not have a knowledge of it, so that He is able to succour those who are tempted in those respects. There is not a single passion, a single inclination, a single hunger, a single fear, a single bitterness, a single experience of the human mind, in which He has not been schooled. He so gave Himself to human nature that it might be said that from the crown to the lowest dungeon, from the rich man's mansion to the ditch of the beggar, there is not a faculty with whose workings He was not familiar. In order to be a good artist I do not need to play every tune: I simply need to know each string, and what its possible combinations are, and how to make them; and although our Saviour did not go through all the various phases of experience which men go through, His education in the knowledge of humanity was perfect. Now, this very conception is itself Divine. Divinity stands not in the red right-hand of power; it is not omnipotence and omniscience: it is goodness; and goodness centres in love. So, then, we are to find the Divine nature manifested in goodness, which is the very highest conception of Divinity. I do not want any man to explain to me how Christ is equal to the Father: all I want is to know that His character is a disclosure of character of God. We should bear in mind that, according to the teaching of the New Testament, Christ is the High Priest that has ascended into heaven. He is close to every one. The man who is murmuring his last prayer in a dungeon can think himself rote the very presence of the High Priest in heaven. He who is wounded on the battle-field thinks, as the army thunders away, and his companions leave him, "The High Priest is close at hand." The poor miserable creature of degraded conditions "can, by thinking, bring himself into Christ's presence. He is accessible to all; and there is no need of any one's saying, "Who shall ascend up into the heavens and bring the Saviour down?" He is near to each man. The central force of the universe, then, according to this representation, is compassion; it is helpfulness, and over those who have run through the whole range of wrong-doing, and who are seeking to rise out of cruelty, and lust, and pride, and selfishness, and every sort of degradation, there broods — what? Wrath? No. There broods over them the High-Priesthood of Christ Jesus — the compassion of One who knows how to feel for those that are out of the way; the enriching power of Christ's heart. That is the tractive power of the universe. If it be in your power, conceive of Christ as such a High Priest as He was to the Jewish imagination, as a being set apart from among mankind because He had compassion on those who were out of the way, who was tried and condemned, and who suffered like His fellow-men so that He could have compassion on them. He descended from heaven and took upon Himself the nature of man, and was made in the likeness of man. He came into life at the bottom and partook of the experiences of men, and passed through every conceivable state of the human mind in order that He might stand and say, "Oh, fallen, weak, sinful, guilty, wretched creatures, I am your brother; and I am clothed with God's nature; I am in the Father and He is in Me; and I bring to you the tidings of summer on your winter. The God whose I am, and whom I represent, who abides in Me and in whom I abide, is a God of tender love, who would not that any should perish, but would that all should live." That is the message which the Lord Jesus Christ brings to men. If there be men who are afraid to worship Christ, I have two things to say. In the first place, when you worship the Father you worship exactly the same being that I do when I worship Christ. Men had no knowledge of what to put into the fatherhood of God until it was proclaimed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, really what you call "Father" and what I call "Jesus" are just the same thing. In the next place, if there were a difference, do you suppose God would be angry if you made a little mistake and worshipped the Son instead of the Father? If a postman handed to my wife a letter which was directed to me, do you suppose there would be a scene? Would we scold him because he handed it to the wrong person when he thought he was handing it to the right one? Where two are united in perfect love a mistake like that does not make any difference. Another thing. When you say that you cannot worship Christ as you do the Father, what do you mean by worship? What is it but giving to another all the enthusiasm which you are capable of feeling? You cannot love supremely without worshipping; for love is the highest worship; and all this riddle about dynastic notions vanishes into space. When you worship Christ and pray to Him, you worship and pray to the Father; and when you worship the Father and pray to Him, you worship and pray to Christ. Then, there are those whom a consciousness of guilt and imperfection keeps back from venturing upon one who is set forth in the Scriptures as their God. Many persons feel, "Oh, if I were not living in the way that I am, I would be willing to pray to God"; but as represented by the High Priest Christ Jesus, God stands before you and recognises you; and the foundation of His recognition of you is that you are weak, guilty, out of the way, and continually sinning. He came to call sinners. There were none so wicked that He was not willing to minister to them. The worse a man is the more he needs a Saviour, and the more the heart of Christ yearns towards him. Not only so, but He is gentle and tender in His dealings toward those who are out of the way. He says, "A bruised reed I will not break, and the smoking flax I will not quench, until I bring forth judgment unto victory." You know that when you first kindle a lamp there is just a little bit of a blue flame; that it quivers on the wick as if to see whether it can expand into a full flame; and that it is not safe for you even to breathe upon it, so that you must turn your face aside lest you blow it out; but Christ says that when a man has fallen so low that the spiritual life in him is as feeble as the flame of a newly-lighted lamp, He will not put it out. The all-merciful love of Jesus Christ, who is the atonement of the world, and who reveals in Himself the nature of the Divine Father, is curative by its very moral character. It represents the love of Him who is for ever giving His life to make life in those whom He has created.

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. He must be merciful; for He must deal with God for sinful and miserable man, for to relieve him. And He is then merciful, when He doth not only know man's misery, but is inwardly sensible of it, so as to be moved and that effectually to succour him. This mercifulness is opposed not only to ignorance of others' misery, and senselessness, but also to harshness, severity, cruelty. And Christ was more merciful than ever any man or angel was, and there was great need He should be so; for if every offence, nay, if many and great offences, should move Him to passion, and enrage Him so as to reject them and their cause, or proceed to plead against them, or condemn them, how many thousands should perish everlastingly?

2. As He is merciful, so He must be faithful, and such as poor sinners may safely trust unto, and depend upon, when they commit their cause concerning their eternal estate into His hands. Christ may be said to be faithful, either to God, who hath given the office of high priest, and a command to discharge it, or unto man, who, according to the rules of God's Word, believes in Him, and commits Himself and all that he hath unto Him. And then He is actually faithful, when He performs all things belonging to His sacerdotal office, and goes through with His work until He hath perfectly finished, and sinful man attains that for which he trusted Him. Man may be merciful and not faithful; Christ is both, and will be sensible of our case and cause, will mind it, and do it as His own. In this respect our hope is firm and our comfort is unspeakable. Blessed are all they that trust Him. This is His qualification, the best that ever was or can be in any priest.

3. The work, the principal work is, to make reconciliation for the sins of His people.

(1)He hath His people, and they are such as know Him and trust in Him.

(2)These have their sins and are guilty.

(3)Reconciliation therefore is necessary; otherwise they die, they perish everlastingly.

(4)There must be some one, and the same a priest both merciful and faithful, to make this reconciliation, and this is Christ.

(G. Lawson.)

The chief of the Koreish were prostrate at his (Mahomet's) feet (after the conquest of Mecca). "What mercy can you expect from the man whom you have wronged?" "We confide in the generosity of our kinsman." "And you shall not confide in vain begone! you are safe, you are free."

(Gibbon.)

How a tender-hearted mother would plead with a judge for her child read to be condemned! Oh, how would her bowels work; how would her tears trickle down; what weeping rhetoric would she use to the judge for mercy! Thus the Lord Jesus is full of sympathy and tenderness that He might be a merciful High Priest. Though He hath left His passion, yet not His compassion. An ordinary lawyer is not affected with the cause he pleads, nor doth he care which way it goes; profit makes him plead, not affection. But Christ intercedes feelingly, and that which makes Him intercede with affection is, it is His own cause which He pleads in the cause of His people.

(Thomas Watson.)

To make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
I. IT IS SAID HERE, IT BECAME OUR SAVIOUR, OR HE MADE HIMSELF A DEBTOR, TO NO WHAT HE DID.

1. Though He acted willingly, and laid down His life freely, yet this became Him in respect of His compassion and great good-will to men.

2. It became Him in respect of His Father's will, and the pursuit of that business in which He was engaged.

3. It behoved Him in all things to be made like unto us. What, sin and all? No; God forbid; that is excepted (Hebrews 4:5). Our Saviour was made like unto us.(1) In our limitation, contraction, bodily shape. He was as we are, confined to time, place, bodily weakness and infirmity.(2) In passions, affections and sensitive apprehensions. Only there is this difference; in us they ebb and flow, but in our Saviour they were exactly governed.(3) In our necessities of relief and support, as eating, drinking, sleeping, cessation from action. Therefore, we read, that He was weary, hungry, and the like.

II. In the next place it follows that He was LIKE UNTO US, THAT HE MIGHT BE A MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST. This was done with respect to us; in a way of compassion and pure good-will. Two things evidence this unto us. That the state which our Saviour submitted to, the principle that moved Him, was pure goodwill.(1) The motive of God's sending Him, and of His coming.(2) The end and business of His coming was all from good-will.(3) In respect of God, it is said, that God "so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And then(4), The business that He came about: which doth give us a full account of our Saviour's intention, and doth justify our Saviour's work. For He came about a work as certainly Divine as the very Creation itself was.

III. In the next place it follows THAT OUR INFIRMITIES ARE COMPASSIONABLE. These three things put together, do something lessen the sins of man, and procure him pity with God.

1. That he is liable to fail and be mistaken.

2. That in his constitution he doth consist of body and spirit.

3. That he is exposed to all sorts of temptations from without in this dangerous world. So that through the grace of God it is not so much what sin is as what the demeanour of a person is after sin. The same goodness that doth pardon penitents cloth punish obstinacy.Inferences:

1. Though we are under guilt, yet let us not despair: for if we do submit, and turn to God, it is a case of mercy, and God will forgive.

2. Let us have no hard thoughts of God upon occasion of His present judgments, or future denunciations. Let us consider the temper that is in obstinate sinners. God may give repentance to the sinner, but He cannot give pardon to the impenitent.

3. Take notice, that to be tempted, and to sin, are two things. None can hinder an offer to be made; but it lies in our power to resist it. Satan may tempt, but he cannot force. Neither are we alone; for God will assist us, and wilt not be wanting to those that are willing to make use of His strength.

4. Let us counterwork the Evil One, by frequent proposals of good. If there be evil thoughts suggested, put yourselves upon good thoughts and motions. Live not carelessly in the world, since the world is a place of so much danger.

5. Do not run away with every report, nor bite at every bait; since we live among our enemies in a place of danger, difficulty, ill representations.

(B. Whichcote, D. D.)

1. The high priest was in the Jewish Church an eminent instrument of God, the most visible and eminent type of Christ that was. And truly, were not the high priest in the Jewish state transcendently supplied, he would be greatly missed. But, thanks be to God, whereas they had the shadow, we have the substance. The high priest was always a middle person between God and the people, to be in readiness to make approaches to God, whatsoever the necessity was.

2. And then He was merciful, viz., to make the best of our cave; to compassionate us in misery, and to help us out.

3. Not only merciful but faithful; true to our cause, will make the best of oar case. One that is trusted by God for us.

4. Next, in things pertaining to God. Where I observe that the business of Christ is wholly spiritual. Christ's government is in the mind, understanding and conscience. Christ did not come into the world for worldly ends and purposes; these are things far below His intentions. The notion of Christ's government is for mental illumination, delivery from sin, moral refinement, sanctification here, and glorification hereafter. They do act in the spirit of Christ, who are preachers of righteousness by words and by practice; what is not spiritual is wholly foreign to Christ's kingdom, and to His government. And then again, Christianity lays a foundation of no enmity, but only to unrighteousness and to wickedness. For if we be in a true Christian spirit, we will endeavour to reconcile, and we must be in reconciliation with everything that holds of God and that God doth uphold.

5. Whatsoever is declared concerning Christ; whatsoever the excellency of His person: this is the advantage that we have by it; that He makes use of all His power and interest for our benefit; and He was appointed of God to this end, that He might make reconciliation for the sins of the people. I am now from these words to give you an account of the business of reconciliation, which is the great undertaking of our Saviour; which is the product of infinite wisdom and goodness, and which is our greatest concernment, as being fundamentally necessary to happiness. For it is not possible we should be made happy by God Himself, if not reconciled to Him; we are eternally undone if this be not done.

1. This Reconciler goes in a way of moral motion.

2. He treats with both parties at variance.

3. He doth equally consider the right of both sides.

4. Reconciliation must be mutual.

5. It is acceptable every way to each party: the work of reconciliation is acceptable to God and man.To God, because God's honour is maintained, and because infinite wisdom and goodness have therein exercised themselves. And to man, because man is put upon nothing but what is best in itself; that a man if he did but consider, he would not be saved in another way. And man now is out of danger, and looks upon God as his Friend. And God delights in this His product, infinite wisdom and goodness together. This is the representation I make you concerning the matter of reconciliation. I will now speak of the manner of reconciliation, and show you what our Saviour in our behalf did undertake, that was highly satisfactory to the mind of God, and according to His will; and therefore it was the true manner of reconciliation.

1. Concerning the quality of sin. Here is a declaration of its unworthiness, its odiousness in the sight of God, its ill demerit, its hurtfulness to the creature; for it destroys the subject, and is a pernicious example. Now it is fit that the person to be restored be made sensible of his condition, and what the physician hath done for him.

2. In respect of the law, four things were done by Christ's undertaking.(1) God's unquestionable right to make laws depending on His own will and pleasure.(2) The necessity of such laws that are in themselves good and founded in the relation the creature stands in to God.(3) The reason and equity of all these laws.(4) Man is bound in subjection to them. All these things are acknowledged by our Saviour's undertaking.

3. An open condemnation of sin is requisite and fitting in this case of the creatures wilful practice upon God; and to be for ever hereafter a check upon all lusts. And this is remarkably done by our Saviour, since He died for sin. This arrogant practice of the creature is sufficiently witnessed against; since an innocent person hath died for it. And doth not this look backward, and condemn what man hath done; and look forward, and restrain lust and sin, for all time to come? So that this being in itself worthy, is satisfactory to God, and the pardon of sin is thereby facilitated.

4. Owning God as supreme and sovereign, and owning the rule of right, is done in the very nature that had transgressed.

5. There is demonstration of God's veracity and holiness. He had given out prohibition under the penalty of death. "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death." And this is fulfilled in the very letter. God's holiness and impartiality is declared, and this is according to the mind and will of God; and a matter that is acceptable is always matter of satisfaction.

6. He brings things to rights again. That is done by our Saviour's undertaking. The curse was taken off, and God returns to blessing, and He hath blessed man ever since. The passage is open to our free communication with God.

(B. Whichcote, D. D.)

To effect this, all that is necessary is to persuade the sinner to Cease his rebellion and submit to Him. In Christ God is reconciled to the sinner, and there is no need to persuade Him. He is love, the sinner is enmity. He is light, the sinner is darkness. He is nigh unto the sinner, but the sinner is afar off from Him. The great object then to be accomplished is, to destroy the sinner's enmity, that he may have Divine love; bring him from his darkness into Divine light; bring him from his evil works nigh unto God, and reconciliation is the result.

(John Bate.)

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