Hebrews 4:14-16 “ Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Christ is sinless. He never dishonored His parents, never snapped at His little brothers, never was arrogant in His knowledge of Scripture, never grew impatient when the crowds were asking for one more healing at the end of a long, hot day of preaching, never complained to other rabbis about His disciples’ disappointing learning curve, never retaliated to those insulting and torturing Him and never disobeyed His Father’s will. His record is much, much different from my own, and sometimes I’ve been tempted to wonder if He can really relate to sinful, selfish, impatient, irritable, proud, critical me.
This passage declares that even though He is sinless, Christ is still sympathetic to our plight. He understands our weaknesses and temptations. He is not aloof from the human struggles we face. This is not to say He excuses or in any way minimizes our sin. His agonizing death on the cross as payment for our sin speaks to that point. But the Bible does teach that Christ is a loving Shepherd caring for His weak sheep (Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34:14-16; Matthew 11:28-30, John 10:11) rather than a harsh drill sergeant burdening us with more than we can handle and harsh with our ineptness (Matthew 23:2-4).
When battling our sin, we can look to our sympathetic, perfect Savior as our model for winning the battle for obedience. We can learn how He used God’s Word to fight temptation (Matthew 4:4,7,10). We can consider Him and how he endured opposition perfectly, looking forward to the joy of pleasing His Father and completing His will (Hebrews 12:2-3). We can study how he suffered threats and harm without sinning in return by entrusting Himself to the Father (1 Peter 2:23). And when we take our eyes off Jesus and sin, we can repent knowing our standing before God rests on Christ’s perfect record and not our own.
How are you encouraged towards holiness by Christ’s sinless example, knowing He always pleased the Father while still enduring weakness, trials and temptations? How are you comforted after you’ve blown it, knowing your perfect Savior is your Great High Priest?