Hebrews 7:26
For such a High Priest became us, holy, harmless, etc. By way of introduction let us glance at three truths which are either expressed or implied in the text.

1. That man needs a high priest.

(1) As the offerer of sacrifices on his behalf. The awakened conscience, sensible of its guilt, feeling that sin merits suffering, cries out for sacrifice for its sin.

(2) As his representative with God. The sinner who is alive to his own character and condition feels that be needs some one to represent him with the holy God.

2. That the high priest who would satisfactorily meet man's need should possess certain qualities, Any priest will not do. There should be a fitness between the holder of the office and the duties of the office - between the priesthood and the human needs to which it would minister.

3. That these qualities are found in Jesus Christ. His priesthood answers to man's needs. "Such a High Priest became us," i.e. was suitable to us, was appropriate to our condition and need. Let us now look at the qualities which render our Savior the appropriate High Priest for man, as they are here specified. It is important to remember that some essential attributes of our great High Priest have already been mentioned in this Epistle (Hebrews 4:15).

I. HE IS PERFECT IN HIS CHARACTER. "For such a High Priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled," etc.

1. Holy. Our Lord was truly and inwardly holy. His holiness did not consist merely in his consecration to his office, but in the perfect sanctification of his whole being. The Jewish high priest had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed upon his miter; but in Christ it was interwoven with every fiber of his being, and stamped upon every expression of his life.

2. Harmless. The Jewish high priest was sinless only in this way, that he offered sacrifice for his own sin before offering for the sins of the people, and that he cleansed himself ceremonially before appearing before God on behalf of others. But Jesus was perfectly free from sin. In all his relations with men he was guileless. And no wrong was ever done by him in any way to any one.

3. Undefiled. Sin is a polluting thing. Ceremonial purity was required in the Jewish high priests. But our Lord was undefiled both legally and morally. In thought and feeling, in word and action, in inward heart and. outward life, he was stainless. The Jewish high priests needed to offer sacrifices for their own sins; but our great High Priest had no personal guilt to expiate, or sins to confess, or impurities to purge.

4. Separate from sinners. The Jewish high priest was required scrupulously to refrain from association with any person who was ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 21:10-15). Our Lord was "separated from sinners." We do not regard this as meaning local separation. He did not shun association with sinners during his life upon earth. It was charged against him by the self-righteous religionists of his day, "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." "They murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner." "A friend of publicans and sinners." His separation from sinners was far higher and diviner than any merely local or physical isolation. "Christ in his intercourse with sinners," as Ebrard says, "remained inwardly free from all participation in their sinfulness, inwardly untouched by its contagion; notwithstanding that he mingled with men in all their varieties of character and situation, he yet never let drop, for a moment, that inner veil of chaste holiness which separated him from sinners. This is what is meant by the expression, 'separate from sinners.'" His moral health was so vigorous, his spiritual purity so intense, that he could associate with the morally corrupt and degraded without contracting even the slightest moral defilement. How sublime is our great High Priest in the perfection of his character! Of all the sons of men, of him alone can it be said that he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners." How immeasurably superior is he to Aaron and every other Jewish high priest! Their perfection was only ceremonial and symbolical; they were "men having infirmity;" they were liable to sin; they were subject to death, and to the termination of their priesthood. But our Savior had no moral infirmity. In his character and conduct, in his person and office, he was gloriously perfect. He is now "perfected for evermore."

II. HE IS PERFECT IN HIS POSITION. "And made higher than the heavens." This exalted position which our great Representative occupies has already engaged our attention (see on Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 2:9; and cf. Hebrews 8:1; Philippians 2:9; Revelation 5:12).

III. HE IS PERFECT IN HIS SACRIFICE. "He needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices," etc.

1. The value of the offering. "He offered up himself." Alford has pointed out that "this is the first place in the Epistle where mention is made of Christ's having offered himself. Henceforward it becomes more and more familiar to the reader: 'once struck, the note sounds on ever louder and louder' (Delitzsch)." The value of this offering is seen in two things:

(1) The sacrifice which was offered - "himself." Not a thing, but a person; not a sinful person, but the "holy, harmless, undefiled" One - the richest, most beneficent, and most blessed personal life.

(2) The spirit in which this sacrifice was offered. Our Savior was both the Sacrifice and the Priest; both the Offering and the Offerer. And his sacrifice was a voluntary one. He freely "gave himself a ransom for all" (cf. John 10:17, 15).

2. The finality of the offering. "This he did once for all, when he offered up himself." His sacrifice will never be repeated.

(1) Its repetition is not necessary. The Jewish sacrifices had to be repeated day after day and year after year, because they were imperfect. But the sacrifice of our great High Priest is complete, gloriously and perpetually efficacious, and needs no repetition, and admits of neither improvement nor addition.

(2) Its repetition is not possible. When Christ appears again it will be, not in humiliation, but in glory; not as the great Sacrifice, but as the supreme Sovereign. - W.J.







Such an High Priest became us.
I. WE ALL NEED A PRIEST, AND WE HAVE THE PRIEST WE NEED IN JESUS CHRIST. In fair weather, when the summer seas are sunny and smooth, and all the winds are sleeping in their caves, the life-belts on the deck of a steamer may be thought to be unnecessary, but when she strikes on the black-toothed rocks, and all about is a hell of noise and despair, then the meaning of them is understood. When you are amongst the breakers you will need a life-buoy. When the flames are flickering round you, you will understand the use and worth of a fire-escape, and when you have learned what sort of a man you are, and what that involves in regard of your relations to God, then the mysteries which surround the thought of the High Priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be accepted as mysteries, and left where they are, and the fact will be grasped with all the tendrils of your soul as the one hope for you in life and in death.

II. WE NEED FOR A PRIEST A PERFECT MAN, AND WE HAVE THE PERFECT PRIEST WHOM WE NEED IN JESUS CHRIST. The writer goes on to enumerate a series of qualities by which our Lord is constituted the priest we need. Of these five. qualities which follow in my text, the three former are those to which I now refer. "He is holy, harmless, undefiled." Taken generally, these three characteristics refer to the priest's relation to God, together men, and to the law of purity. "He is holy"; that is to say, not so much morally free from guilt as standing in a certain relation to God. The word here used for "holy" has a special meaning. It is the representative of an Old Testament word, which seems to mean "devoted to God in love." Such is the first qualification for a priest, that he shall be knit to God by loving devotion, and have a heart throbbing in unison with the Divine heart in all its tenderness of pity, and in all its nobleness and loftiness of purity. And, besides being thus the earthly echo and representative of the whole sweetness of the Divine nature, so, in the next place, the priest we need must, in relation to men, be harmless — without malice, guile, unkindness; a Lamb of God, with neither horns to butt, nor teeth to tear, nor claws to wound, but gentle and gracious, sweet and compassionate; or, as we read in another place in this same letter, "a merciful High Priest in things pertaining to God." And the priest that we need, to bridge over the gulf between us sinful and alienated men and God, must be one "undefiled," on whose white garments there shall be no speck, on the virgin purity of whose nature there shall be no stain; who shall stand above us, though He be one of us, and whilst "it behoves Him to be made in all points like unto His brethren," shall yet be "without blemish and without spot." I pass on just to notice, in a word, how this assemblage of qualifications which, taken together, make up the idea of a perfect man, is found in Jesus Christ for a certain purpose, and a purpose beyond that which some of you, I am afraid, are accustomed to regard. Why this innocence; this G d-devotedness; this blamelessness; this absence of all selfish antagonism? Why this life, so sweet, so pure, so gentle, so running over with untainted and ungrudging compassion, so conscious of unbroken and perfect communion and sympathy with God? Why? What He might, "through the Eternal Spirit, offer Himself without spot unto God"; and that by His one offering He might perfect for ever all them that put their trust in Him.

III. WE NEED A PRIEST IN THE HEAVENS, AND WE HAVE IN CHRIST THE HEAVENLY PRIEST WHOM WE NEED. The two last qualifications for the priestly office included in my text are, "separate from sinners; made higher than the heavens." Now, the " separation" intended is not, as I suppose, Christ's moral distance from evildoers, but has what I may call a kind of half-local signification. and is explained by the next clause. He is "separate from sinners," not because He is pure and they foul, but because having offered His sacrifice He has ascended up on high. He is " made higher than the heavens." Scripture sometimes speaks of the living Christ as at present in the heavens, and at others as having " passed through " and being "high above all heavens"; in the former case simply giving the more general idea of exaltation, in the latter the thought that He is lifted, in His manhood and as our Priest, above the bounds of the material and visible creation, and " set at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Such a priest we need. His elevation and separation from us upon earth is essential to that great and continual work of His which we call. for want of any more definite name, His intercession. The High Priest in the heavens presents His sacrifice there for ever, We need no other; we do need Him. Oh, friend! are you resting on that sacrifice? Have you given your cause into His hands to plead?

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

He was without sin, as a child, as a youth, as a man. In the synagogue, when they were singing psalms, with tears on their cheeks, I wonder how He felt, and what He did. lie would have liked to join them, but lie could not. He knew nothing of the remorse and misery of the young men and grey heads coming up with the week's sin on their heads. He knew the sin was there: He saw it in every eye, saw it in the workshop sod in the street, in the malice and ill-will hat made riots there; but He did not feel it in Hires, if.

(A. Whyte, D. D.)

His life resembled a polished mirror, which the foulest breath cannot stain, nor dim. beyond a passing moment.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Christ walked through the midst of sinners undefiled. Like a beam of light piercing into a foul dung, on, or like a river purifying and fertilising, itself untainted, so did Christ pass through this world.

(R. M. McCheyne.)

A priest who could be charged with the slightest infraction of the law would have been no Saviour. The hopeless debtor can never be a surety for a debtor; the helpless slave never liberates his companion slave; nor the fallen lift the fallen from the dust. So that all our religion, with its perfection 'of righteousness and infirmity of consolation, depends upon the single fact that Christ is the Hey One of God.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

According to Renan, the excellence of Jesus was due to the climate and soil of Palestine I But he forgets to ask how it is that the climate and soil of Palestine have never produced such another!

(C. Clemance, D. D.)

Holy
I. THE REALITY of our Lord's holiness is most clearly and strongly declared in Scripture.

1. We are told that He came into our world with a holy nature.

2. His life, too, was holy.

II. THE PECULIARITY of His holiness.

1. It was holiness amidst sin and temptation, perfect holiness amidst abounding sin and the utmost possible temptation.

2. His was holiness also amidst weakness and suffering.

III. Let us come now to THE IMPORTANCE of Christ's holiness. The character He had to sustain, and the work He had to perform, required it.

1. It was necessary in order to constitute Him a real manifestation of God.

2. It was needful to make Him an effectual sacrifice for our sins.

3. But our Lord's office as our great Redeemer was not to end with His life on earth, He was to go into the eternal heavens in the same character that He bore here, and to carry on there, though in a different manner, the same work. We sometimes think of Him as simply entering there into His glory and joy, but He is intent on our salvation in the midst of His glory and joy; as much engaged in it on His throne as He was on His cross. The apostle accordingly represents Him in this passage as our High Priest in the heavens, "ever living to make intercession for us"; and tells us that it became Him to be holy in order to qualify Him for this heavenly office and work.

4. As the pattern and example to which all His people are to be conformed, it was needful that our Lord should be holy. We want a perfection like His, the perfect on of holiness, and earthbound as our affections sometimes are — nothing below this will satisfy us. But now there is this perfection in the hey Jesus, a sinless perfection. We cannot look higher. Be is purity itself, the Divine purity embodied. To be made like unto Him comprehends m it all that is blissful and glorious. We feel that we shall indeed be satisfied when we awake with His likeness. Lessons:

1. Let us rejoice in His holiness, and admire and adore Him for it.

2. Let us seek for ourselves a share in this holiness of Christ.

3. And let us banish from our minds for ever the thought, that though living ungodly lives, we may yet be followers of this holy Saviour.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

While the sacred writers inform us that "Jesus Christ the Righteous" came into the world to save sinners, and to take upon Him our infirmities, they are most careful to tell us that He Himself was without sin. Ever since order and beauty arose out of chaos, only two who might properly be termed perfect beings have appeared in, our world. The first Adam was of the earth, earthy. The other the Lord from heaven, produced not out of nothing, or of the dust. but conceived in a supernatural and miraculous manner by the direct power and overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. That in every point He might be like us, with the exception of sin, He was born a babe, underwent all the weakness, s peculiar to our infantine years, and passed in progression through the very steps that we do from youth to manhood. Now, He behoved to be thus like us in advancing to maturity; yet His whole thoughts, sayings, and doings, through all the progression to which He submitted were in entire conformity to the Divine will and commands. Had the Lord our righteousness been man, of a sinful nature, that He must have proved for us an unsuccessful representative is but too evident, when we reflect that the trial of Christ Jesus was of a severer nature than that endured by Adam; for whilst our first progenitor had merely one object placed before his eyes as a trial of obedience, the man of sorrows had a continued conflict of sufferings, from the manger to His crowning act of obedience in Geshsemane and on the cross. If sin had been interwoven in His nature, it would have manifested something of its existence; and surely in His interesting history, there were not wanting occasions awfully trying, when betrayed by a fed wet, deserted by friends, assailed by the powers of wickedness, and suffering an eclipse by the hidings of His Father's countenance in the hour and power of darkness. But here let us consider how it became requisite for this Divine personage to assume the nature of man, and to take upon Him the likeness of sinful flesh. As it was man who had transgressed, it was necessary that the penalty should be paid by man — not that the punishment should be endured by a nature different from that which had fallen. Accordingly, that our iniquities might be all put to His account, and expiated by Him, He took to Himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, and died, the just for the unjust. Probably, had He interposed on behalf of intelligences of a higher order, instead of us who had sunk so low in the mire of sin, He would have assumed the nature of those intelligences. Between the person of Christ and His blessed work, between the inherent splendour and excellency of His character, and the exalted dignity of His station, there is therefore an intimate and beautiful connection. The being who would redeem another from misery and ruin by yielding a vicarious righteousness, must be one who is not himself under any obligations to obey, or to endure the penalty of the law on his own behalf. Apply this principle in reference to Christ Jesus, who undertook our cause, and you will see that He could not be chargeable with presumption or disaffection to the Divine government, by His laying claim to the character of independence and self-existence; for He was "in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God." No exactions of a personal kind could hay, been required of Him who, of His own free choice, was made under the law, and who magnified it and made it honourable. Could this perfect and unchangeable law have been fulfilled if the second Adam had not been altogether independent, holy, and Divine, and thus placed in the most favourable circumstances to ensure our salvo, ion? But we are to remember that Christ not only required to be independent and self-existent, to make an atonement at all, but also to be a person of the highest worth, in consequence of the demerit of sin as an offence against all the glorious perfections of infinite and unblemished purity, whose name is holy, and who is altogether glorious in holiness; and this being an unchangeable perfection of His nature, it would seem that a Redeemer was required, equal in dignity and worth to the Mighty Being offended, and to the extent of the evil committed. But who in heaven or earth could be fit for the undertaking but the incarnate God, the Man that was Jehovah's fellow?

(G. Mitchell, M. A.)

Separate from sinners
Homilist.
Look at Christ's detachment from sinners —

I. As A VAST FEELING IN THE MIND OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES. (Luke 4:14-27; Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 21:12; John 8:1-11.)

1. This feeling of distance which they had in relation to Him cannot be accounted for on the ground of —

(1)Miraculous manifestations;

(2)His social superiority;

(3)His non-sociality.

2. It was purely moral. His incorruptible truthfulness, exquisite sensibilities, calm reverence, overflowing benevolence, unconquerable love of eternal right, invested Him with that Godlike air and bearing which made them feel that He stood at an unapproachable moral distance.

II. AS AN UNDOUBTED FACT REALISED BY HIMSELF. This is seen in —

1. His frequent personal withdrawal from men in order to hold fellowship with His Father.

2. Much of the language He addressed to men, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above." "I and My Father are one."

III. As ARE ESSENTIAL POWER IN HIS REDEMPTIVE UNDERTAKING.

1. It was just that power which rendered His services as a Redeemer acceptable to God.

2. It was just that power that rendered His services as a Redeemer efficacious to man.

(Homilist.)

With us of to-day it is the commendation of Jesus that He is so profoundly humbled, identified so affectingly with our human state. But the power He had with the men of His time moved in exactly the opposite direction, being the impression He made of His remoteness and separateness from men, when He was, in fact, only a man, as they supposed, under all human conditions. With us it is the wonder that He is brought so low. With them that He could seem to rise so high, for they knew nothing as yet of His person, considered as the incarnate Word of the Father. What I propose, then, for my present subject is — The separateness of Jesus from men; the immense power it had and must ever have on their feeling and character. I do not mean by this that Christ was separated as being at all withdrawn, but only that, in drawing Himself most closely to them, He was felt by them never as being on their level of life and character, but as being parted from them by an immense chasm of distance. These impressions were not due, as I have said, to any distinct conceptions they had of Him as being a higher nature incarnate, for not, even His disciples took up any such definite conceptions of His nature till after His death and ascension. It was guessed, indeed, that He might be Elias, or some one of the old .prophets, but we are only to see, in such struggles of conjecture, how powerfully He has already impressed the sense of His distinction or separateness of character, for such guesses or conjectures were even absurd, unless they were instigated by previous impressions of something very peculiar in His unearthly manner requiring to be accounted for. His miracles had undoubtedly something to do with the impression of His separateness from ordinary men, hut a great many others, who were strictly human, have wrought miracles without creating any such gulf between them and mankind as we discover here. It is probably true also that the rumour of His being the Messiah — the great., long-expected Prince and Deliverer — had something to do in raising the impressions of men concerning Him. But their views of the Messiah to come had prepared them to look only for some great hero and deliverer, and a kind of political millennium under His kingdom. There was nothing in their expectation that should separate Him specially from mankind as being a more than humanly superlative character.

I. Pursuing, then, our inquiry, let us notice, in the first place, How THE PERSONS MOST REMOTE AND OPPOSITE, EVEN THEY THAT FINALLY CONSPIRED HIS DEATH, WERE IMPRESSED OR AFFECTED BY HIM. They deny His Messiahship; they charge that only Beelzebub could help Him to do His miracles; they are scandalised by His familiarity with publicans and sinners and other low people; they arraign His doctrine as a heresy against many of the most sacred laws of their religion; they charge Him with the crime of breaking their Sabbath, and even with excess in eating and drinking; and yet we can easily see that there is growing up, in their minds, a most peculiar awe of His person. And it appears to he excited more by His manners and doctrine and a certain indescribable originality and sanctity in both, them by anything else.

II. TURN NOW, SECONDLY, TO THE DISCIPLES, AND OBSERVE HOW THEY WERE IMPRESSED OR AFFECTED BY THE MANNER AND SPIRIT OF JESUS. And here the remarkable thing is, that they appear to be more and more impressed with the distance between Him and themselves the longer they know Him, and the more intimate and familiar their acquaintance with Him.

III. WHAT NOW IS THE SOLUTION OF THIS PROFOUND IMPRESSION OF SEPARATENESS MADE BY CHRIST ON THE WORLD? That His miracles and the repute of His Messiahship do not wholly account fur it we have already observed. It may be imagined by some that He produced this impression artificially, by means of certain scenes and observances designed to widen out the distance between Him and the race; for how could He otherwise obtain that power over them which He was properly entitled to, have by His own real eminence, unless He took some pains to set them in attitudes in which His eminence might be felt. In o her words, if He is to have more than a man's power, He must somehow be more than a man. Thus, when He says to, His mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour is not yet come"; or when, being notified that His mother and brethren are standing without waiting to see Him, He asks, "Who, then, is My mother, and who are My brethren?" it will be imagined that He is purposely suggesting His higher derivation and His more transcendent affinities. But, even if it were so, it must be understood only that He is speaking out of His spiritual consciousness, claiming thus affinity with God, and with those who shall embrace Him in the eternal brotherhood of faith; now, as boasting the height of His natural Sonship. The remarkable separation. therefore, of Christ from the sinners of mankind, and the impression He awakened in them of that separation, was made, not by scenes, nor by words of assertion, nor by anything designed for that purpose, but it grew out of His life and character — His unworldliness, holiness, purity, truth, love; the dignity of His feeling, the transcendent wisdom and grace of His conduct. He was manifestly one that stood apart from the world in His profoundest human sympathy with it. He often spent His night, in solitary prayer, closeted with God in the recesses of the mountains. He was plainly not under the world, or any fashions of human opinion. He was able to be singular, without apparently desiring it, and by the simple force of His superiority.

1. How great a thing now is it that such a Being has come into our world and lived in it — a Being above mortality while in it — a Being separate from sinners, bringing unto sinners by a fellow-nature what is transcendent and even deific in the Divine holiness and love. Yes, we have had a visitor among us, living, out, in the moulds of human conduct and feeling, the perfections of God! What an importation of glory, and truth! Who that lives a man can ever, after this, think it a low and common thing to fill these spheres, walk in these ranges of life, and do these works of duty which have been raised so high by the life of Jesus in the flesh? The world is no more the same that it was. All its main ideas and ideals are raised, b kind of sacred glory invests even our humblest spheres and most common concerns.

2. Consider, again, as one of the points deducible from the truth we have been considering, how little reason is given us, in the mission of Christ, toe the hope that God, who has such love to man, will not allow us to fail of salvation by reason of any mere defect or neglect of application to Christ. What, then, does this peculiar separateness of Christ signify? Coming into the world to save it — taking on Him our nature that He may draw Himself as close to us as possible — what is growing all the while to be more and more felt in men's bosoms but a sense of ever-widening, ever-deepening, and, in some sense, incommunicable separateness from Him? And this, you will observe, is the separateness, not of condition, but of character. Nay, it grows out of His very love to us in part and His profound oneness with us, for it is a love so pure and gentle — so patient, so disinterested, so self-sacrificing — that it parts Him from us in the very act of embrace, and makes us think of Him even with awe! How, then, will it be when He is met in the condition of His glory, and the guise of His humanity is laid off? There is nothing then to put Him at one with us or us at one with Him, but just that incommunicable and separate character which fills us even here with dread. If He was separate before, how inevitably, insupportably separate now.

3. Consider, also, and accurately distinguish, as here we may easily do, what is meant by holiness, and what especially is its power, or the law of its power. Holiness is not what we may do or become in mere self-activity or self-culture, but it is the sense of a separated qualify in one who lives on a footing of intimacy and oneness with God.

4. But the great and principal lesson derivable from this subject is, that Christianity is a regenerative power upon the world only as it comes into the world in a separated character — as a revelation or sacred importation of holiness. This brings me to speak of what is now the great and desolating error of our times. I mean the general conformity of the followers of Christ to the manners and ways, and, consequently, in a great degree, to the spirit of the world. Christ had His power, as we have seen, in the fact that He carried the impression of His separateness from it and His superiority to it. He was no ascetic, His separation no contrived and prescribed separation, but was only the more real and radical that it was the very instinct or freest impulse of His character. A true Christian, one who is deep enough in the godly life to have his affinities with God, will infallibly become a separated being, The instinct of holiness will draw him apart into a singular, superior, hidden life with God. And this is the true Christian power, besides which there is no ,thee. And when this fails everything goes with it. Neither let us be deceived in this matter by our merely notional wisdoms, or deliberative judgments, for it is not a mat,st to be decided by any consideration of Jesuits — the question never is, what is really harmful, and so wrong, but what will meet the living and free instinct of a life of prayer and true godliness? There is no greater mistake, as regards the true manner of impression on the world, than that we impress it being homogeneous with it. If in our dress we show the same extravagance, if our amusements are theirs without a distinction, if we follow after their shows, copy their manners, busy ourselves in their worldly objects, emulate their fashions, what are we different from them? It seems quite plausible to fancy the great honour we shall put on religion, when we are able to set it on a footing with all most worldly things, and show that we can be Christians in that plausible way. This we call liberal piety. It is such as can excel in all high tastes, and make up a figure of beauty that must needs be a great commendation, we think, to religion. It may be a little better than to be openly apostate; but alas I there is how little power in such a kind of life! If we are to impress the world we must be separate from sinners, even as Christ our Master was, -r at least according to our human degree, as being in His Spirit. Oh, that we could take our lesson here, and plan our life, order our pursuits, choose our relaxations, prepare our families, so as to be truly with Christ, and so, in fact, that we ourselves can say, each for himself, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." And this exactly is our communion with Jesus; we propose to be one with Him in it. In it we connect with a Power transcendent, the Son of Man in glory, whose image we aspire to, and. whose mission, as the Crucified on earth, was the revelation of the Father's love and holiness. We ask to be separated with Him and set apart to the same great life.

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

There are certain senses in which Jesus was not "separate from sinners."

1. He was not separate from them in respect of nature. It was a true, though immaculate, humanity which He assumed, and in which He tabernacled in the midst of men.

2. He was not "separate from sinners" in respect of residence. He lived on earth. He laboured in Galilee; and Galilee was proverbially bad. He preached, and suffered, and died in Jerusalem; and the voice of Jerusalem's crimes "entered into the ears of the Lord God of Sabaoth."

3. He was not "separate from sinners" in respect of society. As one who came, "not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance," He held intercourse with wicked men. The Physician was found beside the sick-bed. The Deliverer of guilty and ruined souls "ate and drank with publicans and sinners."

4. He was not "separate from sinners" in respect of His personal experience at the hands of men, or even at the hands of God. He shared in the ordinary trials incident to sinful man. He was the object of harsh reproach and contumelious scorn. He was judicially condemned to a tremendous kind of death. And it was, literally, in the midst of malefactors that He died. What, then, is meant by the statement that Christ was "separate from sinners"? Plainly, that in respect of character He was altogether different from them. Partaker of the same humanity as they, in Him, characteristically and exclusively, it was immaculate; and thus, even while He moved in the midst of sinners, and was come to "seek and to save that which was lost," His Spirit, in some sense, dwelt apart. Christ was morally perfect in all the parts of His constitution. His intellect was filled with pure and lofty thoughts. His conscience was true to the dictates of eternal rectitude — quick to discern the right, and bold and strong to choose and follow it. His heart was the home, alike of the mild, and the majestic, forms of feeling. His ears were ever wont to hearken to the plaint of sorrow. With a simplicity to which ostentation and art were strangers, His eyes were bedewed with tears for human wretchedness and sin, and anon lifted up in prayer to Heaven. His hands — how busy were they in the cause of goodness and of God! And even as, in the ark, the stony tablets of the law were kept, so in the soul of Jesus that good and: righteous law found a habitation and a home.Every class of virtues was nobly realised in Christ.

1. In Him the devotional virtues were perfect awed complete. Prayer was His recreation and delight. Even when "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him," He gave Jehovah thanks (Luke 22:17, 19). And "truly," His "fellowship was with the Father."

2. In Him. too, the active virtues were gloriously displayed. The exclamation of His boyhood might serve as a general motto for His earthly history: — "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" His aims were high, His heart was earnest, and His hand was busy. "The work of Him that sent Him" was His regular, His uniform pursuit. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).

3. And in the passive virtues, how pre-eminently great was Jesus! How "meek and lowly in heart"! How calmly did He bear the abuse of man! How patiently did He submit to the hand of God! "Abba, Father, not My will, but Thine be done," "The cup which My Father giveth Me, shall I not drink it?" were not only the memorable expressions of His tongue, but also the genuine spirit of His soul. It is indeed a glorious character, the character of Christ — fitter for a seraphic harp than for a human pea to celebrate. In His gentleness He was great, in His greatness He was gentle. Truly, He was " the Lamb of God," and yet "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (John 1:29; Revelation 5:5). The moral glory of Divinity, and the perfect virtue of an unsullied human nature, met in Him.

(A. S. Patterson.)

Made higher than the heavens.
Homilist.
In what sense is Christ higher than the heavens?

I. In a MATERIAL sense. Is not the painter greater than his painting; the engineer than his machine; the architect than his building; the author than his book? So Christ is higher than the heavens, because He created them.

II. In a MORAL sense. The untold myriads of unfallen and redeemed spirits that populate those heavens are very good, very affluent in holy thoughts and Divine aspirations; but Christ, in goodness, is higher than them all.

1. Their goodness is derived. Christ's is original — His is the primal fount whence theirs flows; His the sun whence their radiance beams.

2. Their goodness is measurable. "The Spirit is not given to Him by measure."

3. Their goodness is contingent. Christ's is absolute.

III. In a POSITIONAL sense. He is in the midst of the throne. He is to all what the sun is to the planets — the centre round which they all revolve, and from which they all derive their life, strength, beauty radiance, joy.

(Homilist.).

He offered up Himself.
I. THE OFFERING AND THE OFFERER. "He offered up Himself." I never knew any other priest do that. Priests under the law offer costly things; but they plunder the people for them. They do not even offer their own property, much less offer themselves. But here is the gracious, glorious High Priest of our profession who, because no other offering could be found suitable, and acceptable, and sufficient, offered Himself — "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Oh, pause a moment over this precious offering, and note the voluntary manner in which it was offered — an offering adequate to the purpose for which it was intended. The other priests offered offerings, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people — this glorious Priest found in the one offering of His own precious body and soul an adequate amount of merit for all the sins of all the election of grace, and presented it as such to God the Father. Pass on to mark that this offering, so valuable and perfect and acceptable to God the Father, is administered to the faith of God's elect by the Holy Ghost. It is expressly His work to plant faith in the heart of a poor, ruined sinner; which faith is to bring nothing, to find nothing in the creature, to come empty-handed, just to receive the application of blood Divine, by the Holy Ghost administered to personal experience; so that in the offering itself is found all that is adequate for the sinner's salvation, and redemption of the Church of God, in the Father's acceptance of it, a receipt in full of all demands for the whole Church, and in the Holy Spirit's ministry, the application of it to the hearts of all the election of grace. Now look at the offerer — "He offered Himself." It is the business of a priest to offer a sacrifice. He goes forth as our Priest, after the order of Melchisedec, to offer Himself a sacrifice acceptable unto God.

1. Here is, first of all. affection. He so loved the Church that He gave Himself for it. The Father sends the Son, and the Son comes voluntarily.

2. Moreover there was affinity. Christ loved His Church as the apostle exhorts husbands to love their wives; as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might wash it, and cleanse it, and present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

3. For one moment glance at the agony which this voluntary act involved. The whole amount of Divine wrath poured out like a cataract upon His soul — all the vengeance of stern justice waiting with its sword to smite Jehovah's fellow was felt when He bowed His head and died — all the curse of the law, like barbed arrows, penetrated His very soul. He endured all this for His Church. Go a little further, and you find Him typified under the Old Testament dispensation, and becoming Himself the fulfilment of all its types. Time would fail me here to enter largely upon them, but I will just mention the morning and evening lamb. Ages of offerings of the blood of animals never blotted out one sin — they only pointed to Christ — but the six hours of a precious Christ on the cross carried back a flood of atoning blood to Adam's day, and it rolled its tide forward to the end of time, that the whole election of grace might be for ever exonerated by that one offering. "He hath obtained eternal redemption for us," saith the apostle. I dwell upon that phrase with peculiar delight. "Eternal." Can you put a termination to it? It runs backward to the first transgressor, and it runs forward to the end of time, and then into eternity with its blessings. "Eternal redemption." "Aye," say you, "that little word 'us,' I dare not claim it." Why not? "Having obtained eternal redemption for us." Who was it for? I want the appropriation put forth by you and me upon simple principles. How do you know that some poor slave, under a foreign yoke of tyranny, was redeemed? How would he know it himself? Why, in the first place, he would be thoroughly sick and tired of his chains; in the next place, he would know that the price has been paid for his ransom; and, in the third place, he would be set free; and when a man is set free he will not stay under the yoke of the tyrant any longer, he will be off to his own country. Now you and I may know it in the same manner. "Having obtained eternal redemption for us." Lay hold of it by faith, if God enables you, and go and plead it at the throne, and never fear losing it — it includes all the blessings of the gospel for time, all the fulness of the covenant for enriching the Church, and all the glories of heaven for everlasting possession. Well, this He did officially, relatively, not as a common-place sufferer, but under appointment, and, consequently, under responsibility. This He did as the covenant Head, in the name and on befall of His whole Church; and He did it openly in His life and death, before all worlds.

II. THE ILLUSTRIOUS TRIUMPHS OF THIS ONE OFFERING. The apostle, in addressing the Colossians, tells them concerning these illustrious triumphs, that He spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them .openly on His cross, triumphing over them in it. The triumphs are vast and extensive, and they shall never be subdued. The first feature of these triumphs we see in new covenant terms of salvation met and fulfilled. Terms? say you. Yes, terms — not made with man, though, nor left to man. If they were, woe to the whole race of Adam. Away with all conditions and terms only as they belong to Christ. Still, there ale terms of salvation, and let me mark what they are. Why Jehovah says He will by no means clear the guilty; then if a man be saved at all his guilt must be cleared away, or there is no salvation for him, for God says He will by no means clear the guilty. Jesus met the terms, allowed the whole mass of guilt and transgression which pertained to His Church to be laid upon Him, and the Father Himself did it. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Go on to mark that in these New Testament terms which are met there is another condition — "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." What a mercy that this is not left to you or me! Our glorious High Priest, who offered Himself, impart, His own life, His own nature and will, sends down His Holy Spirit, to take possession, of the souls of all for whom He bled, that they may stand complete in the holiness of God. Moreover, if I may mention a third term, I would say it is the being clad in a spotless, perfect, sinless righteousness for justification. Where is the man to get it? Hear what Jehovah, by His prophet Isaiah, says. The prophet was directed to set it down, that everything pertaining to the creature should wear out as a garment, and that the moth should eat up all creature excellencies; but, says God, "My righteousness shall be for ever, and My salvation shall not be abolished." That is an everlasting righteousness. Paul perfectly understood it, and blessedly appropriated it, when he said, "That I might be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith." Again, His enemies are all vanquished, and an expiation accomplished in behalf of all His Church. "O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will he thy destruction," said He. "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet." The conquest of the heart is one of Jesu's triumphs. Moreover, the expiation coupled with it includes the whole Church of God. "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." Oh, the prospect is bright while Jesus is kept in view. Only let the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us, and our prospects for eternity must be brightened. Just pass on to observe that this glorious High Priest of our profession has opened His new and living way unto the throne of God for all that the Father gives into His hands, and will infallibly bring them all home to everlasting glory.

III. THE SINFULNESS OF EITHER REJECTING OR MOCKING THIS ONE OFFERING FOR SIN. I cannot possibly look for merit in the creature without believing ,hat the merit of Christ is not sufficient — without announcing, in that wry act, that I am not satisfied that Christ spoke the truth when He said, "It is finished." If it is finished, an eternal redemption is obtain d; any pretension to add to it is nothing less than a blasphemous insult to Christ. Negotiation with the Father is not attainable by any human power, but in and by this offering. "No man cometh to the Father but by Me." Go to the footstool of Divine mercy, guilt-burdened sinner, and name the blood and righteousness of Christ. Go and print the Father to His sufferings in Gethsemane and on Calvary. Go and tell what Christ has done perfected for ever them that are sanctified, and dare assert, under all the load of your guilt, "Lord, I believe in the efficacy and power of that offering"; and go on till you are enabled to say, "I believe it was offered for me." Then begins your peace and happiness. I pray you to mark, once more, that all our negotiations must be successful when the name, and merit, and righteousness of Jesus are pleaded. This leads me to the last, thought, that the trust and confidence of all the elect of God will be found placed there.

(J. Irons.)

Our fundamental conception of the offering of Him who ascended the cross of Calvary to die must be, that it was an offering of life, not of death. It began with the cross, with the moment when He was lifted on high out of the earth; and then, separated from all that was material, local, or limited, He was able to enter upon a spiritual, universal, and everlasting priesthood. Then, as One bearing, the sins of all who had committed, or should afterwards commit, themselves to Him in faith, He yielded up His own life, and theirs in His, as the penalty due to sin. For Himself and for the members of His body He accepted the sentence, "The soul that sinneth shall die"; while at the same time He bowed Himself in submission to the law so mysteriously linked with that sentence, that, as things are in a present world, it is only through death that we can conquer death and find the path to life. On the cross He gave Himself for us, the just for the unjust; so that when we think of Him as the Victim upon which our help is laid, and identify ourselves with Him by faith, we may see that in Him our sins are expiated, and that they no longer bar our admission to the Divine presence and favour. All this, however, was no more than the first stage of the offering made for us by our heavenly High Priest; and the mistake of many is to think that, as the offering was begun, so also it was finished on the cross. In reality, only the initial step was taken when Jesus died. As the blood, or in other words the life, of an animal sacrificed under the law was liberated in death, not merely that the offering might be completed, but that the true offering might be made by the sprinkling; so the blood, or in other words the life, of Christ was liberated on the cross, that His true offering might be made by the surrender of that life to God in a perpetual service of love, obedience, and praise.

1. The conception of Christ's priesthood as a heavenly priesthood, and of the life that He now leads in heaven as the consummation of His offering, alone gives us the accomplishment, and that too in their appropriate order, of everything that was involved in the separate offerings of the law. In the life now offered to the Father and before the Father's throne we see, not only the perfected Sin and Trespass, but the perfected Burnt and Peace-offerings. There the life won through death is surrendered into the Father's hands. There it burns in the never-ceasing devotion of love and praise. There it is passed in the enjoyment of a fellowship with God undisturbed and glorified. And thence it descends to all the members of the body, so that they find, in Him who gave and still gives Himself for them, reconciliation, union, nourishment for a heavenly service, and the comfort and joy of a heavenly feast.

2. As an offering of life Christ's offering is complete, embracing in its efficacy the whole life of man. In this respect the offerings of the law were necessarily incomplete, and so also must be the offering presented in any single act of the life of Christ. But when, as our High Priest and Representative, Jesus offers His life to God, that life covers every stage or department of our life. There is no part of our life in which, by the very fact that He lived a human life, the Redeemer of the world did not share. Must we labour? He laboured. Must we suffer? He suffered. Must we be tempted? He was tempted. Must we have at one time solitary hours, at another move in social circles? He spent hours alone upon the mountain top, and He mingled with His disciples as companions and friends. Must we die? He died. Must we rise from the grave? He rose from it on the third morning: Must we appear before the Judge of all? He appeared before Him who sent Him with the record of all that He had accomplished. Must we enter into eternity? Eternity is now passing over Him. More even than this has to be said; for our High Priest not only moved in every one of these scenes, He has also consecrated them all, and made them all a part of His offering in heaven. In each He was a conqueror, and the fruits of His conquest in each are made ours.

3. As an offering of life Christ's offering is everlasting. His life is presented continually to God; and in it the children of God, whose own it is made by faith, are kept consecrated for evermore. The efficacy of the legal offerings lasted for a time. This offering never ceases, and its efficacy never fails.

4. As an offering of life Christ's offering is made once for all, and cannot be repeated. It is simply impossible to repeat it, for we cannot repeat what has not been first brought to an end; and since the offering on the part of the eternal Son is His life. it follows that His offering must be as eternal as Himself. That offering of our Lord, then, which is the leading function of His priesthood, was only begun, and not completed, on the cross. It is going on still, and it will go on for ever, as the Divine and perfect sacrifice in which our great Representative and we in Him attain the end of all religion, whether natural or revealed, as that sacrifice in which we are made one with His Father and our Father, with His God and our God.

(W. Milligan, D. D.)

He giveth a special reason why it beseemeth not us under the gospel to have a sinful man for our priest, because ibis is the very difference betwixt the law and the gospel.

1. The law maketh men which have infirmities high priests; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, and none but the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

2. He maketh the difference of the law and the gospel to stand amongst other things in the difference of priests, so as the gospel cannot admit such priests as the law admitted.

3. The differences, as the apostle setteth them down here, are —(1) The course taken about priests under the law was alterable, they were made without an oath, the lawgiver declaring it to be his will to change that course when he saw fit; but the course taken about the priests -f the New Testament is with an oath, and so cannot be changed.(2) The next difference he maketh this: The law admitteth men in the plural number, a plurality of priests; but the gospel admitteth no plurality of priests, but the Son only to be priest. Melchisedec's order in the type hath no priest but one in it, without a suffragan or substituted priest. Therefore Christ, the true Melchisedec, is alone in His priesthood, without partner or deputy or suffragan. Then, to make plurality of priests in the gospel is to alter the order of Melchisedec, and to renounce the mark set betwixt the law and the gospel,

3. The third difference: The law maketh men priests; but the evangelical oath maketh the Son of God priest for the gospel. Then, to make a man priest now is to mar the Son of God's privilege, to whom the privilege only belongeth.

4. The fourth difference: The law maketh such priests as have infirmity; that is, sinful men. But the evangelical oath maketh the Son, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God, through Him. Then to make a sinful and weak man a priest now is to weaken the priesthood of the gospel, and make it like the law.

5. The fifth difference: The law maketh men priests which have infirmities over whom death had power, that they could not be censer, rated but for their sliest life time. But the evangelical oath maketh the Son, whom the sorrows of death could not hold, and hath consecrated Him for evermore. Then as long as Christ's consecration lasteth, none must meddle with His office.

6. The last difference: The law instituting priests was not God's last will, but might suffer addition. But the evangelical oath is since the law, and God's last and unchangeable will. Therefore to add unto it and bring in as many priests now as did serve in the temple of old, is to provoke God to add as many plagues as are written in God's book upon themselves and their priests also.

(D. Dickson, M. A.)

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