↓Audio link to the sermon:
Last week, we learned that Christ is a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. Please read Hebrews 4:15 again. It says「For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.」
Just like us, Jesus has been tempted in all respects. Since he went through all the surferings, it’s amazing that he can sympathize with our weaknesses in all respects. Hebrews 5: 1 says,「Every high priest is selected from among the people.」Firstly, the high priest must be a person. The author of the Hebrews points out this from the high priest in the Old Testament. There was Jesus who became fully a human. Based on the premise, we will clarify the appearance of the high priest from the Old Testament. The high priest, a man, gives offerings and sacrifices for sin. It is also the role of the priest to be appointed to serve God for the people and to act as a bridge between God and people.「He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.」(Hebrews 5:2 NIV)
He’s able to deal gently… (In Japanese translation, he’s considerate.) This word in Greek is “Metriopaseo”, which is used to express consideration for seeing things with self-control and moderation. The new 2017 edition of the Bible translates as being kind. Originally, metrios is a word that means moderate virtue, meaning that you treat people moderately and gently. The high priest, who is a person, needs to treat people gently, without losing himself, without being overwhelmed by emotions, and at an appropriate distance. It’s because they also have weaknesses and need to deal with those ignorant people without being overwhelmed by temporary emotions. Hebrews 5:3 says「This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.」
The role of the high priest in the Old Testament is really wonderful. These high priests are chosen by God, as they say, “Like Aaron, they are called and appointed by God.” The calling and the appoint of God is important. It emphasizes that Christ did not have the honor of becoming a high priest himself, but he was chosen by God. Now, Christ is a king, a prophet, and a priest, this is the whole teaching of the Bible. Jesus is the one who can sympathize with our weaknesses and he is considerate. I’ve already introduced the Greek word for consideration, but it’s different from the word for sympathy. The Greek word for sympathy is “Shun Paseo”, Shun means “together.” Paseo is a verb that expresses “emotions such as joy and sadness.” It shows that Jesus is the one who shares our joys and sorrows with us. When we discover that Jesus shares and understands our feelings and emotions, this truth set us free from the loneliness. Yes, Jesus is the one who truly sympathizes with our weaknesses.
Verse 7 says,「During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.」(Hebrews 5:7 NIV)
From this verse, we recall the prayer of Jesus in Gessemane. It’s natural to think so because it’s easy to see the expression “with fervent cries and tears”. For more information on Jesus’ prayer in Gessemane, please refer to John 12:27, Luke 22: 42-44. However, the Greek expression of “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth“ can be translated literally as “in the days of his flesh.” The English translation is like that, but I would like you to pay attention to the expression of everyday life. The author of the Hebrews points out that the days when Jesus was on earth, every day, was like the prayer of Gessemane. Difficult things will happen in our lives. However, Jesus is the one who shares our emotions, sometimes he shares our excitements and the other times he weeps with us. In verses 8 and 9,「Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him」(Hebrews 5:8-9 NIV)
There is Jesus who gives eternal salvation, who cries and tears for me. When you receive that truth, it will set you free from the painful deed-centered faith. Every day Jesus is praying for us. He prays for us with cries and tears. What we can do is to make the decision to live with this Jesus. Let us keep an eye on Jesus, who can give us eternal salvation.