Jesus Christ Our Savior Sympathizes With You
1. Jesus Christ Intervenes for Us with the Father as Our High Priest
2. Jesus Christ Sympathizes with Our Weakness
3. Jesus Christ Was Tempted Like Us
4. Jesus Christ Did Not Sin
5. What is Jesus Christ Doing as High Priest?
Jesus Christ Intervenes with the Father for Us as Our High Priest
Jesus Christ: fully God and fully man. How can this be? This truth is a seeming contradiction to human reasoning. Jesus called Himself "Son of man" more often than any other title. Yet, John 1 starts with "In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word is Jesus. Jesus is the living Word of God. So Jesus has been with God since the beginning of time. Plus Jesus is God. Jesus is both man and God. This is what qualifies Jesus to be our sacrifice and our High Priest. God dared to lower Himself to human level so He could walk in our shoes and be able to sympathize with us. Hebrews 5:8,9: "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him, and was designated by God to be high priest......." Jesus being made perfect did not mean that He had ever sinned, but that His character matured.
Hebrews 4:15 mentions three points that qualify Jesus to be our High Priest:
- He sympathizes with our weaknesses
- He was in all points tempted as we are
- Jesus did not sin
Let's discuss each of these three points.
Jesus Christ Sympathizes With Our Weaknesses
For four thousand years before Jesus was born on this earth, the human race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth. For example, before the flood, Methuselah lived 969 years. Genesis 5:27 Many people before the flood lived to be around that age. After the flood, men's longevity gradually declined until Abraham lived 175 years. Several centuries later, King David lived 70 years. When Christ was born He took upon Himself the infirmities of degenerate humanity.
Even though Christ is one of us, He conquered. He suffered through the same trials as we do, without being overcome. His temper was tested, yet He did not become angry, but gave the soft answer. He was flattered and praised, yet did not become proud, but gave the glory to God. He was betrayed by friends, yet did not become vengeful, but prayed for them. He was raised in a poor home, squeezing the penny to meet the necessities of life. He was trained by His earthly father in a carpenters shop, and knows tiredness after working long hard hours. He knows the frustration of days when everything seems to go wrong. Yet He praised God and sinned not. He experienced all things in life like we do. This qualifies Him to be our High Priest, because He can teach us how to conquer as He did when we rely on Him
Jesus was Tempted in all Ways Just Like We Are
Jesus was tempted in all ways just like we are. In fact, Satan worked extra hard on Jesus. Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God come to redeem the world. Satan knew that if Jesus died without sinning, that his time would be limited and that man would have a way to resist him. 1 Peter 5:8 Revelation 12:12 So Satan focused most of his efforts on Jesus while He was here.
Lets take for an example when the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to fast for forty days and pray about His three year ministry He was beginning. Luke 4:1-13
After forty days of fasting, Jesus was physically weak and haggard. Satan thought,"This is a good opportunity to get the best of Him." Satan took on the form of an angel of light. He suggested to Jesus,"IF you are the Son of God, why don't you turn these stones into bread?" Satan could not understand why God would leave His Son in such a hungry, sickly state. He was asking Jesus why He didn't do something for Himself that would be so easy. But Jesus could not use super-natural powers to meet His own needs. That would be something we could not do. He came to set an example for us. John 5:19 Jesus said that without His father He could do nothing. So it is with us. Without Jesus we can do nothing. John 15:5
Jesus answered Satan's temptation to doubt His Father (with the IF you are the Son of God) with scripture, Deuteronomy 8:3:"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Just a short time before at Jesus baptism the Father had spoken to Him,"This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." John 3:22. To give in to Satan's questioning if Jesus was the Son of God would have been doubting what Jesus had heard just a short time earlier.
For Satan's second temptation he suggested to Jesus that He would not have to suffer and die in order to gain the world. He carried Jesus to a high pinnacle. He presented to Him all the kingdoms of the world in great grandeur. Satan told Jesus that all the world belonged to him, and that he would give it to Him if Jesus would just worship him. (Satan makes a similar offer to people today.) Satan was telling Jesus He would not have to suffer and die in order to gain the world. Just do whatever I say and I will give it to you. But Jesus saw through Satan's trickery. Jesus would have been surrendering to Satan instead of saving the world from Satan and his evil miseries. Jesus answered Satan with scripture,"Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." Jesus quoted this from Deuteronomy 6:13. Luke 4:8
For the third temptation, Satan decided to meet Jesus on His own territory, with scripture. Yes, Satan knows the Bible backwards and forwards. James 2:19 But in tempting and trying to deceive Jesus, Satan took out of context Psalms 91:11,12, which promises that angels would let no harm come to Him. Satan carried Jesus to the top of a high temple, and challenged Him to throw Himself off the temple, letting the angels rescue Him from crashing into the ground. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16."Thou shalt not put the Lord your God to the test."
Matthew 4:11 says that Satan then left Him, and angels attended Jesus to strengthen Him after His battle. But Satan would return, especially for the crucifixion.
He who had been expelled from heaven fought desperately for the mastery over the One whom in the courts above he had been jealous. Isaiah 14:12-14 What a battle was this! No language is adequate to describe it.
Jesus succeeded; by His grace and power so can we. He is our High Priest, at our side, showing us the way to conquer as He did.
Jesus Did Not Sin
Jesus did not sin and He is able to teach us to overcome sin. Jesus lived without sin while on earth by knowing how to rely on His Father. He said that He did nothing without His Father. John 5:19 He sometimes spent a long nights in prayer with His Father.. Luke 6:12. So it is with us and Jesus. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing. We are to learn how to stay connected to Jesus like a branch is part of a vine. John 15:1-8 This is part of Jesus High Priestly ministry, to teach us to lean that heavily upon Him. This is something He teaches us step by step over time. We need to spend time every day in Bible study and prayer. Next we maintain the connection with Jesus by consulting with Him on every decision throughout the day.. We ask, "What would Jesus do?" After the initial connection of Bible study and prayer each day, you do not need to bow in prayer to talk with Him. Just lift up your mind to Him and ask for wisdom in what the Bible says. Everything should be in agreement with the Bible as far as you understand.
What is Jesus Doing as High Priest?
How do these qualities affect the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest? He is able to temper justice with mercy. Jesus has justice to uphold since the law has been broken and He cannot allow anarchy to reign. Every sin hurts someone, so sin must come to an end. Justice demands it. And justice demands punishment, for the wages of sin is death. When we sin, we turn our backs on God and separate ourselves from Him. This is suicide because God is the source of all life. But in the beginnings of eternity, when Jesus saw our poor pitiful state, He had compassion and mercy. He decided to step into the breach that we created between us and God when we sin and enable us to live and become over comers. Mercy and Truth have met together, Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other. Psalms 85:10
Jesus took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. Today Jesus as our High Priest is acting as that Channel.
One snowy winter day a wife prayed for the conversion of her husband. Being the Sabbath, she asked him to go to church. But he refused. "It just makes no sense to me," he chided. She left through the snow for church. He remained in his overstuffed chair reading when he heard a howling outside his front door. He opened the door to find some cats in the snow fighting over a morsel of food. When they saw him they scattered in fear. The husband, a cat lover, thought to himself, "I wish I could become one of those cats to convince them I only wish to warm, feed, and help them." Then he heard the church bells ring. The man listened, bowed his head, turned indoors to his chair, knelt and prayed. He realized God's love had done that very thing for him.
Justice and mercy blended into a rainbow of promise. Both aspects are needed to make a balanced true love. Too often only the mercy of God is emphasized until God becomes a Santa Clause. But justice is just as much an aspect of God's Love. Justice is what keeps God from becoming a whimp. He cannot let sin pass. So in mercy Jesus stepped in. As our High Priest He, in mercy, is teaching us to become over comers to fulfill justice and fit us for heaven. This is the rainbow of promise: Jesus empowering His likeness in us. Jesus is like a parent who teaches a child not to play with fire lest he gets burned. Sin burns. Jesus as our High Priest will teach the willing ones to over come sin and become fit for heaven. This is done step by step over time. "For though the righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again." Proverbs 24:16
This introduces the last question: What is Jesus doing for us as High Priest? It is summed up in the word "atonement." The meaning of atonement is found in the word itself: at-one-ment. It means to be brought into harmony with God; to be one with Him. Romans 5:11 KJV says, "We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." In the NIV the word reconciliation is used, or to be reconciled. The first phase of salvation was completed at His death on the cross. His death enabled the second phase, which is now being completed with Jesus as our High Priest in the most Holy Place in the sanctuary in heaven. Jesus' life and death revealed to man the true nature of God and paid the price for our sin. We are reconciled to Him as we see His love for us and accept His sacrifice for our sins. The second phase, Jesus as our High Priest, is now administering the atonement to His people today. Jesus' life revealed we can over come sin. He now as High Priest administers that power to us.
We need to take warning, but need not be discouraged. We have a great High Priest who can show us the way. He crossed over the path before us, and sympathizes with the rough path we have to tread. He is one of us. In His mercy, He can fulfill justice in each one of us. If we trust in Him, He will cast all our sins to the bottom of the ocean, and prepare us for the Kingdom of heaven. He is our great High Priest