The previous verses emphasize how the word of God is alive and active and sharper than a double edge sword. It convicts us of our sin, cutting down to the bone of our being. But the good news is in these verses. Not only do we have (like family, like a husband and wife) a high priest in heaven, but we have one who understands and sympathizes. So much so, that when we show up at the alter empty handed he already provided the sacrifice necessary to cleanse us of our sin.
3. a. a great high priest
b. joined together with – According to Strong’s: those joined to any one by the bonds of natural blood or marriage or friendship or duty or law etc, of attendance or companionship
4. a. The temptation to not stay fully man. Jesus was fully man and fully God. At any point he could have pulled out his God card, but he didn’t – he suffered as a man
b. (Personal) Chocolate – OK, it ranks up there, but probably not my biggest temptation. As I think about it, mine is the opposite of Jesus. Jesus was tempted to rely on his divine nature, I am tempted to rely on my human nature and pride. All too often I act like a bossy child and fight God saying “me do it”, rather than thanking Him for His love and what He gives me. I think of my possessions as mine, my knowledge and wits as mine and my time as mine – when really it is all God’s to begin with.
c. It helps in 2 ways: (1) the one making atonement on my behalf understands and sympathizes – he isn’t ever going to give up on me (2) yet, while totally a man and not relying on his divinity, Jesus resisted all temptation – there is hope to do better, it is not an impossible struggle
5. a. The sacrificial offering for forgiveness of sin was made in the courtyard of the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God while with the Israelites. The grace is that we approach this need for washing away of our sins empty handed, yet, our high priest provides himself as the perfect offering
b. I think it is very important for each of us, every day, to recognize that we are in need of forgiveness and yet we have absolutely nothing to offer to earn that need. It is only by grace that we are saved through faith.
I love the way the author of Hebrews is so clearly answering the questions that the early Jewish converts must have had. How does Jesus fit in with God and angels and man? What was He doing on earth? Why did he need to be here? What about the law and Moses? And in today’s lesson, what about the high priest and sacrifices? While it answered their questions it give assurance and comfort to us. We are not cut by the word of God so that we may feel pain and bleed, but so that we recognize the grace with which the Son of God took on all the pain and bleeding ever required to atone for our sins.