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Summary: Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, helps believers in two ways.

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Shiloh Bible Church

Hebrews 2:16-18

The Perfect Priest

Introduction

A businessman was late for an important meeting, and he couldn’t find a parking space. He frantically circled the block, but no space was open. The man got so desperate that he decided to pray. Looking up toward heaven, he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I’ll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life. And not only that, but I’ll stop cursing and carousing.” As soon as the man was done with his prayer, miraculously a parking space appeared. The man looked up again to heaven and said, “Never mind. I found one.”

We often don’t recognize God’s benevolent working in our lives. And often we forget the wonderful ways in which God has helped us. And so the writer of Hebrews wants to remind us of the help God provides. Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 2.

The book of Hebrews was written to a struggling congregation—a group of believers who were tempted to “throw in the towel”—to call it quits, spiritually. They were on the brink of experiencing tremendous suffering and persecution for their faith in Christ. And they were seriously considering going back to their former religion of Judaism. And so the writer of Hebrews sent them this letter encouraging them to remain faithful followers and devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. And one of the ways he encourages them to remain loyal to Christ is to remind them of the ways in which Jesus has helped them. And we see this in the last 3 verses of Hebrews chapter 2.

Look at verse 16 with me: “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.”

In Hebrews chapter 1 and 2 we find that Jesus is greater than the Old Testament prophets and He is greater than the angels. Jesus is the sovereign Creator of the universe. But He left His throne in heaven and came to earth, being born as a man. Jesus did not become an angel. Rather, He took on human flesh—He became a man. Look at verse 14: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity.” God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ.

Now, man is lower than the angels on the creation scale. In verse 6, the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8 which says, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels.”

Humorist Will Rogers quipped, “God made man a little lower than the angels, and he has been sinking a little lower ever since.”

Vance Havner remarked: “I used to say: ‘Man is going to the dogs.’ But I stopped saying that out of respect for dogs.”

Mark Twain wrote, “God made man at the end of the creation week when He was very tired.”

None of these statements puts man in a very positive light. And it is true. We are fallen creatures—stained with sin; separated from God. So why did God leave the glories of heaven and become a human being? Why did He abandon the splendors of His throne and become a man? Because He loved us and wanted to help us. And the only way He could do that was to become one of us. Verse 16: “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God.”

Jesus Christ became a man so that He could serve as our high priest. Now, here again the writer of Hebrews is using Old Testament imagery. Remember how we said that this letter was written to a congregation of Hebrew Christians? These Jewish individuals believed that Jesus was the Messiah. And they placed their faith in Him as Savior. Well, knowing their Jewish background, the writer of Hebrews uses Old Testament images to convey spiritual truth to them. That’s why the book of Hebrews is filled with quotes from the Old Testament and references to Old Testament events.

Now, one of the images that the writer of Hebrews employs is that of the high priest. The high priest was an individual who was the nation of Israel’s representative before God. And it was the role of the high priest to help people spiritually.

And the writer of Hebrews tells us that as our high priest Jesus helps us spiritually in two ways. The first way is this: He provides…

1. FORGIVENESS OF SINS

You’ll remember that in the Old Testament, God led the nation of Israel out of Egypt. When they arrived at Mt. Sinai, God used angels to deliver His Law to Moses. Included in that Law were instructions on how Israel was to worship God. And so in the book of Leviticus we read about the various sacrifices that were to be offered to God. And it was the priests—the special servants of God from the tribe of Levi—who were to offer these animal sacrifices on the altar.

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