Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. —Hebrews 2:17–18 (ESV)
The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament is an incredible book, whose author uses lots of Old Testament imagery to teach about Jesus and our relationship with Him. Today’s text comes in a section where the author has described Jesus’ coming to earth as ‘being made a little lower than the angels’—temporarily, of course!—and His suffering as salvation that ‘brings many sons to glory’. In fact, with Jesus’ becoming man in mind, verse 11 says that He is not ashamed to call us brothers!
In today’s passage, the author builds on the fact that Jesus became like us, his brothers. This was so that he could became a ‘merciful and faithful high priest’. Elsewhere in Hebrews, Jesus is pictured as our priest who makes a once-and-for-all offering for our sins—He Himself is the sacrifice! And he is a merciful high priest because He has walked in our shoes—‘he himself has suffered when tempted’. And don’t miss this glorious fact: “he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
This week take heart in the fact that Jesus became like you, and he is in that sense your brother. He suffered when tempted, just as you do. And He is able to help you when you suffer, when you are tempted. He is your merciful and faithful high priest who has given his life as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins. Renew your trust in the Lord this week.