For we have not a high priest - To the objection, "Your High Priest, if entered into the heavens, can have no participation with you, and no sympathy for you, because out of the reach of human feelings and infirmities," he answers: Ου γαρ εχομεν Αρχιερεα μη δυναμενον συμπαθησαι ταις ασθενειαις ἡμων· We have not a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness. Though he be the Son of God, as to his human nature, and equal in his Divine nature with God; yet, having partaken of human nature, and having submitted to all its trials and distresses, and being in all points tempted like as we are, without feeling or consenting to sin; he is able to succor them that are tempted. See Hebrews 2:18, and the note there.
The words κατα παντα καθ 'ὁμοιοτητα might be translated, in all points according to the likeness, i.e. as far as his human nature could bear affinity to ours; for, though he had a perfect human body and human soul, yet that body was perfectly tempered; it was free from all morbid action, and consequently from all irregular movements. His mind, or human soul, being free from all sin, being every way perfect, could feel no irregular temper, nothing that was inconsistent with infinite purity. In all these respects he was different from us; and cannot, as man, sympathize with us in any feelings of this kind: but, as God, he has provided support for the body under all its trials and infirmities, and for the soul he has provided an atonement and purifying sacrifice; so that he cleanses the heart from all unrighteousness, and fills the soul with his Holy Spirit, and makes it his own temple and continual habitation. He took our flesh and blood, a human body and a human soul, and lived a human life. Here was the likeness of sinful flesh, Romans 8:5; and by thus assuming human nature, he was completely qualified to make an atonement for the sins of the world.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched - Our High Priest is not cold and unfeeling. That is, we have one who is abundantly qualified to sympathize with us in our afflictions, and to whom, therefore, we may look for aid and support in trials. Had we a high priest who was cold and heartless; who simply performed the external duties of his office without entering into the sympathies of those who came to seek for pardon; who had never experienced any trials, and who felt himself above those who sought his aid, we should necessarily feel disheartened in attempting to overcome our sins, and to live to God. His coldness would repel us; his stateliness would awe us; his distance and reserve would keep us away, and perhaps render us indifferent to all desire to be saved. But tenderness and sympathy attract those who are feeble, and kindness does more than anything else to encourage those who have to encounter difficulties and dangers; see the notes at Hebrews 2:16-18. Such tenderness and sympathy has our Great High Priest.
But was in all points tempted like as we are - “Tried” as we are; see the notes at Hebrews 2:18. He was subjected to all the kinds of trial to which we can be, and he is, therefore, able to sympathize with us and to aid us. He was tempted - in the literal sense; he was persecuted; he was poor; he was despised; he suffered physical pain; he endured the sorrows of a lingering and most cruel death.
Yet without sin - 1 Peter 2:22. “Who did no sin;” Isaiah 53:9, “He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in his mouth;” Hebrews 7:26, “Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” The importance of this fact - that the Great High Priest of the Christian profession was “without sin,” the apostle illustrates at length in Hebrews 79. He here merely alludes to it, and says that one who was “without sin” was able to assist those who were sinners, and who put their trust in him.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:18. SD 24.1
Though enduring most terrible temptations, Christ did not fail or become discouraged. He was fighting the battle in our behalf, and had He faltered, had He yielded to temptation, the human family would have been lost. SD 24.2Read in context »
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” He died to make an atonement, and to become a pattern for every one who would be His disciple. Shall selfishness come into your hearts? And will those who set not before them the pattern, Jesus, extol your merits? You have none except as they come through Jesus Christ. Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point to which He could descend? “Be astonished, O ye heavens,” and be amazed, ye inhabitants of the earth, that such returns should be made to our Lord! What contempt! what wickedness! what formality! what pride! what efforts made to lift up man and glorify self, when the Lord of glory humbled Himself, agonized, and died the shameful death upon the cross in our behalf (The Review and Herald, September 4, 1900)! 5BC 1128.1
Christ could not have come to this earth with the glory that He had in the heavenly courts. Sinful human beings could not have borne the sight. He veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity, but He did not part with His divinity. A divine-human Saviour, He came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood (The Review and Herald, June 15, 1905). 5BC 1128.2
Christ had not exchanged His divinity for humanity; but He had clothed His divinity in humanity (The Review and Herald, October 29, 1895). 5BC 1128.3Read in context »
In Christ were united the human and the divine. His mission was to reconcile God and man, to unite the finite with the infinite. This was the only way in which fallen men could be exalted through the merits of the blood of Christ to be partakers of the divine nature. Taking human nature fitted Christ to understand man's trials and sorrows, and all the temptations wherewith he is beset. Angels who were unacquainted with sin could not sympathize with man in his peculiar trials. Christ condescended to take man's nature and was tempted in all points like as we, that He might know how to succor all who should be tempted. 2T 201.1
As the human was upon Him, He felt His need of strength from His Father. He had select places of prayer. He loved to hold communion with His Father in the solitude of the mountain. In this exercise His holy, human soul was strengthened for the duties and trials of the day. Our Saviour identifies Himself with our needs and weaknesses, in that He became a suppliant, a nightly petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, to come forth invigorated and refreshed, braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil. He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege. He required all the stronger divine support and comfort which His Father was ready to impart to Him, to Him who had, for the benefit of man, left the joys of heaven and chosen His home in a cold and thankless world. Christ found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. Here He could unburden His heart of the sorrows that were crushing Him. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 2T 201.2
Through the day He labored earnestly to do good to others, to save men from destruction. He healed the sick, comforted the mourning, and brought cheerfulness and hope to the despairing. He brought the dead to life. After His work was finished for the day, He went forth, evening after evening, away from the confusion of the city, and His form was bowed in some retired grove in supplication to His Father. At times the bright beams of the moon shone upon His bowed form. And then again the clouds and darkness shut away all light. The dew and frost of night rested upon His head and beard while in the attitude of a suppliant. He frequently continued His petitions through the entire night. He is our example. If we could remember this, and imitate Him, we would be much stronger in God. 2T 202.1Read in context »