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 —Hebrews 4:15
What would the world be like if there was no Christmas? If Christ had not come, there would be no one in heaven who really understands us. Not only did Christ coming in human form allow Him to be the sin substitute on our behalf, but it also qualified Him to be a priest who can sympathize with the problems that we face. Hebrews 2:17-18 says, “Therefore, He [Jesus] had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” You see, the role of a priest in the Old Testament was not just to represent God’s interest to the people; the priest also had to represent the people’s needs and interests before God. And that is what Jesus offers to us. He represents us before God the Father. For Him to be able to do that effectively, He had to come to earth in human form so that He could truly understand what you and I experience every day.
In this passage, the word “tempted” is better translated “tested.” The writer is saying that Jesus has experienced every test, every difficult situation that you and I have experienced. He has been tired, He has been hungry, He has been misunderstood, He has been betrayed, and He has stood at a loved one’s grave. He has been tempted—tested—in everything that you and I have experienced. What does that mean to you and me? The writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore He is also able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (7:25). The fact that Jesus has suffered what we experience makes Him a priest who can effectively represent us before God the Father. Right now Jesus is in heaven seated at the right hand of God the Father, and He is making intercession for you and for me. Right now He is interceding on your behalf and my behalf with God the Father. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Day and night he accuses you and me before God. But the Bible says right now Jesus Christ is in heaven intervening on your behalf before God the Father.
As Satan rails his accusations, Jesus says, “Yes, what they are doing is wrong, but I understand what it’s like to live on that sin-infested earth because I’ve been there. That’s why I’m asking for mercy on their behalf.” That’s why the writer of Hebrews says, “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. 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” (4:15-16). The fact that Christ has come means we have somebody in heaven who understands us.
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from “If Christ Had Not Come” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.