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“Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Therefore means for this reason. It is a reference to the circumstances of Christ becoming humanity at the Virgin Birth and the resultant Hypostatic Union. If Christ was to bypass angels in solving the Angelic Conflict, He had to become a man. He was obligated to be able to meet the purchase price in order to redeem mankind by becoming our Kinsman Redeemer. At the same time this occurred on the Cross, Christ satisfied the justice and righteousness of God the Father. Jesus Christ was born a Jew in the tribe of Judah, the family of David, fulfilling the Davidic Covenant.
The Old Testament practice of the “kinsman redeemer” is a perfect example of how Christ redeemed us from the Law and from sin. Certain requirements had to be met in order for a person to free someone from slavery in biblical times. The redeemer had to be a relative, he had to be able to redeem by meeting the purchase price and he had to be willing to redeem the person in slavery. (The Book of Ruth)
By His taking on humanity, Jesus Christ became a “kinsman” to all mankind. (John 1:1-3,14) In order to meet the purchase price, Christ had to be perfect (no sin of His own to pay for). He was born of a virgin, therefore, He had no sin nature and He lived a sinless life, which qualified Him to meet the purchase price for our sin. (Matthew 1:23, I Timothy 3:16; Romans 5:8; II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 2:9-11, 4:15: I Peter 1:18) Christ was also willing to redeem us. He was obedient to the Father’s plan for salvation and gave His life freely. Christ even restricted the use of the power of His deity (doctrine of Kenosis) and used the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish all of this for us. (Philippians 2:5-8; Romans 5:19, Luke 22:42, 23:46) The results of our redemption are:
Jesus Christ is a merciful priest in that He exhibited grace in action by dying on the Cross for the sins of the world. Mercy is always grace in action. And the word faithful refers to His consistency and His stability. Jesus Christ as our High Priest is the central subject of Hebrews. Since a priest must be a man, Jesus Christ had to become a man to be high priest. He was not born a priest; he was not born in the tribe of Levi. Only men of the tribe of Levi could be priests. Jesus Christ is the unique Person of the universe, and by offering Himself a sacrifice for sin He became a high priest.
The requirement for a high priest is that he must be able to come into the presence of God. This was illustrated on the Day of Atonement when the Jewish high priest entered into the Holy of Holies once a year with blood, face to face with God’s Shekinah Glory. He would go into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat. The principle is that the high priest must be able to face God. Our High Priest is literally in the presence of God the Father, so He is able to fulfil this principle.
In Israel the first high priest was appointed by God. After that it was a matter of offspring, the sons of Aaron became the high priest. The sons of Aaron and the grandsons of Aaron succeeded him as high priest. The eldest son was always the high priest. The high priesthood in Israel came through physical birth, through the eldest son of the direct line of Aaron. Jesus Christ did not receive His high priesthood by birth. He received it by appointment from God the Father.
Christ was appointed at the time of the Cross; at the time when He made propitiation for the sin of the world. At that point, while He was bearing our sins, He was providing redemption for mankind, but at the same time He was propitiating the Father and being appointed as High Priest. Why? Because there were many, many sacrifices in Israel, many kinds of sacrifices, many principles of sacrifices all performed by a priest and they were all fulfilled at the Cross by Jesus Christ. Every sacrifice of the Mosaic Law was fulfilled at the Cross, and every sacrifice of any kind in the Old Testament pointed to the Cross.
Since the High Priest was going to die physically after bearing our sins, the only way that the appointment could be confirmed was by resurrection, ascension and session. That is exactly what we have, with this difference: the high priest of Israel would carry the blood into the Holy of Holies after it was offered. Jesus Christ did not carry His blood to heaven. His is a new type of priesthood. Jesus Christ went to Heaven in a resurrection body, not carrying the blood. The Father had already appointed Him High Priest at the point of propitiation on the Cross. Therefore, it was not necessary for the reality (Jesus Christ) to carry the type (Israel’s priest carrying blood into the Holy of Holies) to Heaven.
“Since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
Christ was born without a sin nature, through the virgin birth. The significance of the virgin birth cannot be overemphasized; it made it possible for Christ to come into the world without being in Satan’s kingdom. If you are in Satan’s kingdom, you are also in Satan’s slave market of sin, and if you are there you can’t get anyone else out; you can’t redeem anyone else. Christ had to be born a free man in order to purchase the freedom of slaves. We are born into slavery, we are born into the devil’s kingdom, but Jesus Christ through the virgin birth was born outside of the devil’s kingdom.
Christ lived free from the slave market of sin by resisting temptation. Therefore He went to the Cross where He satisfied God the Father, was appointed High Priest, and purchased our freedom from Satan’s kingdom. Christ as our High Priest is able to help those being tempted. In other words, Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the One who can help us. Remember, it was Jesus Who sent the Comforter when He returned to Heaven.
In order to orient to suffering, the believer must exhibit the same mental attitude that Jesus Christ exhibited when He suffered in His humanity. What was His attitude? Peace, joy, stability, single-mindedness, humility and obedience to the plan of God. (Isaiah 26:3-4; Hebrews 12:2; II Timothy 1:7; II Corinthians 13:11; II Corinthians 10:5-6; Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus Christ fully understood the plan for Him. This plan involved intense suffering, both physical and mental. Knowing this, He was still willing to die for our sins. (Matthew 26:39) We are given a command to arm ourselves with the same mental attitude as Christ had. This, once again, is a command, not a request. This command is a military term referring to a fully armed Greek soldier. What is the believer’s equipment? We have studied this equipment in Ephesians 6. The one offensive weapon mentioned in Ephesians 6 is the Word of God. In this verse we are commanded to arm ourselves with the same mind as Christ. You will recall that the Word of God is the mind of Christ. In other words, there will be no orientation to suffering apart from Divine Viewpoint Thinking. When you are armed with the mind of Christ, then the suffering that comes your way will not be due to sin in your life. Christ has given us a way to overcome the power of sin over us (the Holy Spirit). Therefore, when we are under the control of the Holy Spirit and are thinking divine viewpoint, any suffering that comes our way is undeserved and is for our benefit.
So it is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit that a believer must understand, believe and experience in order to stay in fellowship with Him and execute the Victorious Christian Way of Life. Left alone, the believer has no power to fulfill his spiritual destiny of becoming a winner and glorifying Christ. As with everything in the Christian life, it is only potential – the believer must use positive volition to choose God’s plan of action. We have been given a perfect blueprint by a perfect God for the building of a perfect spiritual life that is beyond compare.
After studying the principles and doctrines found in the Word of God that are related to execution of the Christian Way of Life, the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are going to live according to God’s system for success. If not, the alternative is to continue down the road of self-absorption that leads to self-induced misery and unhappiness. As a casualty of the spiritual life, you will no longer be effective, productive or profitable to the kingdom of God. Instead, you will have become useless, powerless, your spiritual life is null and void and you have lined up with Satan’s program.
The only way that we as believers are going to be truly happy and glorify God is to do things God’s Way. This means setting aside all preconceived ideas about the Christian life, personal prejudices, pettiness, complaining attitudes, unkindness, hurtful thoughts, words and actions, or anything else that drags us down to the world’s level of Human Viewpoint Thinking. It also means getting our eyes off other people who aren’t good examples of victorious Christians and keeping our eyes on Christ.
We need to spend a maximum amount of time in fellowship with God under the control of God the Holy Spirit learning and applying Bible doctrine, which will produce Divine Viewpoint Thinking. For example: What does God think about people? It should be obvious since He sent His Son as a payment for the sins of all mankind. Since God loves everyone unconditionally (impersonally), shouldn’t we do the same? This means we must develop our spiritual lives with God and our Christian lives with others through study and application of His Word. This means following the example of our Savior in every area of our lives.
Did Jesus have evil thoughts about anyone? Did He complain about His lot in life? Did he talk badly about anyone? Did He backbite, slander or gossip about anyone? Of course He didn’t. He forgave the people that hurt Him the most, He never exchanged evil for evil, He never sought revenge, He didn’t slander people, He never had a hurtful thought, word or action and He exhibited love for everyone regardless of how they treated Him. This is the kind of character that we should be allowing God the Holy Spirit to develop in us so that we can live a victorious Christian life. “Let this mind be you that was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)