“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
There is a real difference between learning something academically and learning it experientially. We can read the first hand accounts of war veterans all we like, but until we don a uniform and march into battle, we will never truly know the horrors of war. We can try our best to empathize with someone who has experienced the loss of a child, marital infidelity, enslaving addiction, or crippling illness, but until we experience these these things for ourselves, we cannot know what they are really like. A person passing through a difficult challenge is comforted more from the ministry of one who knows experientially what they are going though. This poses a challenge for those of us who wish to comfort and encourage others experiencing specific challenges that we have not. A suffering person may appreciate our good intentions nevertheless he knows that we just don’t, and in fact can’t, really understand what he is experiencing. With Jesus things are different. As today’s verse passage reminds us, our Lord does understand. The world threw the worst it could at Jesus, but He overcame the world (John 16:33). Not only that, but the power He exercised to do so is available to us also (Ephesians 1:17-20). The writer to the Hebrews explained that “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). In other words, the Lord had to endure the things He did and learn experientially the things He learned in order to carry out His priestly duties for us. The writer further explained that “though [Jesus] were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrews 5:8-9). The Lord Himself confessed to His disciples, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27). This is very profound! The Son of God became the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) in order that He might become a legitimate, faithful and merciful High Priest, fully empathetic to our struggles and fully qualified to perform His redemptive work for us. Truly there is no God like our God, no Savior like Christ our Lord, who allows Himself to be touched by the feeling of our infirmities. Cast all your cares upon Him, dear saints, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).