Epistles: A High Priest Who Can Sympathize (Hebrews 4:12-16)


The author of Hebrews exhorts the readers to respond to Jesus. Why should we be so careful to respond? “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Just as Psalm 95 said, we must hear and heed God’s message. His word contains both promise and command, so we should respond with faith and obedience. And as Hebrews 4:13 says, nothing is hidden from God’s sight. He sees everything we do and knows our thoughts, and we must give account to him. That is why we are exhorted to respond, right now, with faith in Jesus Christ.

Then comes another practical application: “Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.” Again, the exhortation is not to a day of the week, but to Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Here’s a summary of the chapter: Since God’s rest is available to us and God cares about how we respond, we need to keep believing in Jesus, because he is the one we need. He became human, so he understands our weaknesses, but he lived without sin, so he can be our Savior. Since Jesus has done this, we can be sure that he will help us now.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer and to be tempted to quit. He can strengthen us, so we need to come to him with confidence that he will help us.

Author: Michael Morrison

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