Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Leviticus 8-11; Psalm 110; Hebrews 4
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace and find mercy and help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
This high priest, Jesus, is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses.” Why? Every high priest is a man chosen from among men to act on behalf of men. We cannot misunderstand that Christ was a human being. When it comes to Christmas, this is the entire point of what’s happening: God became a man. He became a human being who, as said before, was human just like we are in the sense that he hungered, thirsted, wept, grieved, and died. If Christ had not come as a man, then we would have no high priest who would understand our weaknesses.
In Hebrews 5:2, these high priests needed to be regular, ordinary, called men. He is one who is offering sacrifices for sins—and he himself is a sinner. “He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins, just as he does for those of the people.” We see this in Leviticus 16 when, in verse 11, God calls for Aaron to offer a sacrifice for himself and his family. Then in verse 15, to offer a sacrifice for the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement (a.k.a., Yom Kippur).
So Jesus was one who, as a human, could understand our weaknesses. In fact, we see what one of those weaknesses was, temptation. He was tempted like we are. What distinguishes Jesus from other high priests? Go to 5:2-3 again: High priests deal gently with “ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness”—and thus offers sacrifice for his own sins. But this Great High Priest of Jesus was, yes, tempted as we are—yet without sin. When he made sacrifices, He did not do so for His own sins. He was one who was tempted, but he was not one “beset with weakness.” For He is the Son of God, who passed through the heavens, was seated at the right hand of God in full majesty.
Jesus understands and meets us where we are to bring us where we need to be! Praise God for His rescuing and redeeming work!