December 29, 2013
“…a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God…that He might make atonement for the sins of the people” (v. 17).
Evangelist Harry Ironside was traveling by train when the engineer invited him to come up to the engine and visit. They talked about the difference between their respective churches. The engineer was a member of a group that taught many rules to make sure of heaven. When they reached their destination and it came time to part company, Ironside said, “The difference between your religion and mine is this: In your church, Christ is important; in mine He is sufficient.” Our text portrays four word pictures of the Savior.
Jesus Is the Trailblazer of Our Salvation (v. 10)
The word translated in the New International Version as Pioneer and in the King James Version as Captain is in other translations, Prince, Guide, Source, Author, Leader and Trailblazer. Jesus opens the way for us to eternal salvation.
Those of us who grew up before TV will be familiar with lots of children’s games, including “Follow the Leader.” The one rule of the game was that no one could shirk to follow where the leader led, whether running, walking, cartwheeling, walking the railroad track, leapfrogging a fire hydrant—anywhere. Jesus is our Leader; where He leads we will follow.
Jesus Is Our Big Brother in God’s Family (v. 11)
I grew up with a brother three years older than me. He and I fought a lot; but if any neighborhood bully gave me trouble, I knew he would be there for me. “Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers.” (v. 11).
Three Old Testament texts are quoted in reference to the Messiah. In verse 12, a Messianic psalm is applied to Jesus. “I will declare Your name to my brothers…” (See
Jesus Is Our High Priest, Making Atonement for Our Sins (vv. 15-17)
He is labeled a “merciful and faithful” High Priest. A guilty person standing before the judge does not crave justice but mercy. Jesus is merciful, and He is able to save us in His faithfulness.
Verse 16 tells us Jesus did not come to earth to be Savior of angels but of mortals such as Abraham’s descendants. The verb in v. 16—”…not angels he helps…”—is a good translation, but more literally it means “takes hold.” It is the verb used in the story of Peter walking on the stormy Sea of Galilee. He began to sink and called to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” The Savior reached out His hand and took hold of Peter (see
Not only is Jesus our Trailblazer, our Big Brother and our High Priest to advocate for us before the Judge of the universe, but:
Jesus is the Atoning Sacrifice, who breaks the power of death (vv. 14-18).
Jesus served God, His Father, by becoming a mortal man. Then in dying, He broke the power of him who holds the power of death, that is the devil. This bought our liberty from slavery and set us free from the primal fear of death.
In an old tale of Somerset Maugham, a man in a Baghdad marketplace bumped into a stranger and saw that it was Death. Immediately, he returned home to borrow his master’s horse and flee to Samarra. Then his master went to the same market and also saw the Grim Reaper. He asked about the encounter with his servant. Death told him, “I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara.”
By conquering death, Jesus broke the power of death. He did more than present the sacrifice as the High Priest; Jesus offered the sacrifice of Himself!