The Helpful Nearness to Man of the True High Priest
Hebrews 4:15, 16
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are…

I. THE IMPLICATION WITH REGARD TO OTHER PRIESTS. Other priests are lacking in proper sympathy with human weakness. They are lacking in a sense of the almost omnipotence of tempting influence. They themselves, in all important respects, are no better than those for whom they act. Not that they are to blame for this; other things were not expected from them. They were only to be part of an instructive and impressive ceremonial by which might be set forth, by the best means attainable at the time, something as to what a priest, an offering and an approach to God, ought to be. The very defects of the priest taken from among men emphasize the need of something immeasurably better. Sinful men should be able to sympathize with sinful men; but, as a matter of fact, they very frequently are unable to do this even in the most qualified way. They can sympathize in a measure with sickness, with temporal calamity; but too often for sin, for crime, for vice, they have nothing but denunciation with respect to men. There is a hint to us how we should recollect that the greater sinner a man is, the greater is his need for human sympathy.

II. THE PERFECTION OF PRIESTLY QUALITIES FOUND IN CHRIST. In him there is all the true priest needs. He is attracted, not by the strong side of human nature, but by the weak. Easy is it to be drawn to men in the hours of their full life, in their prime, when they are strong for action either of body or of mind; and it is pleasant to look at the results of all their effort. But it is much better, difficult though it be, to look at man in his hours of weakness and need; for it is out, of the midst of his weakness that his highest strength is to be attained. And so Jesus was drawn to men in their weakness. He came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to minister to those who really needed ministry. We do not serve rightly when we serve those who are quite able to do things for themselves. This is only to increase the indolence of the world. Christ comes to give the help that but for his coming could not be given. He sympathizes with us in all weakness, in poverty, in sickness, in feebleness of body and harassing circumstances. But his sympathy is specially with us in temptation. He was tempted in all points like as we are, i.e. his temptation was a real thing; and the temptation he had to suffer was one suited to the peculiarities of his position and his work. We are to think here, not so much of his experiences in the wilderness, as of Gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7). The temptations of the wilderness he saw through at once; they must have been very clumsy artifices in his eye. But Gethsemane tried him. The pure gold went into the furnace there that its purity might be made manifest. And thus it was shown that he was without a sin. The more we are made to feel our own sin, the more our hearts are revealed, the closer we are drawn to him who has no sin, and who shows us that sin is no essential part of human nature.

III. THE PRACTICAL RESULT OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS. We are to make full use of the Priest thus provided - a Priest not of our finding or our making. He has not come by some process of selection and training employed by men, but is of Divine appoint-merit; an Apostle from the throne of grace, beseeching us to accept him as the sufficient Interpreter of human needs and human penitence. Our attitude is to be one of approach to the throne of grace, thinking of it as such; thinking of the severities of God and the penal aspects of law as only grace in disguise. Chastisement, punishment, pain, are but grace not understood. We must have boldness, freeness, a strong sense of the right given us to approach the throne of grace. We must have a sense of how God will treat us. He will not only put us into a better state, but do it in a most compassionate and tender way. It is conceivable that a physician might perfectly cure a sick person, yet do it all like a machine, without any manifestation of heart, without a single kind or cheering word. - Y.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

WEB: For we don't have a high priest who can't be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.

The Distinction Between Mercy and Grace
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