World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 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. 15For 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. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
14. Seeing then—Having, therefore; resuming Heb 2:17.
great—as being "the Son of God, higher than the heavens" (Heb 7:26): the archetype and antitype of the legal high priest.
passed into the heavens—rather, "passed through the heavens," namely, those which come between us and God, the aerial heaven, and that above the latter containing the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, &c. These heavens were the veil which our High Priest passed through into the heaven of heavens, the immediate presence of God, just as the Levitical high priest passed through the veil into the Holy of Holies. Neither Moses, nor even Joshua, could bring us into this rest, but Jesus, as our Forerunner, already spiritually, and hereafter in actual presence, body, soul, and spirit, brings His people into the heavenly rest.
Jesus—the antitypical Joshua (Heb 4:8).
hold fast—the opposite of "let slip" (Heb 2:1); and "fall away" (Heb 6:6). As the genitive follows, the literally, sense is, "Let us take hold of our profession," that is, of the faith and hope which are subjects of our profession and confession. The accusative follows when the sense is "hold fast" [Tittmann].
15. For—the motive to "holding our profession" (Heb 4:14), namely the sympathy and help we may expect from our High Priest. Though "great" (Heb 4:14), He is not above caring for us; nay, as being in all points one with us as to manhood, sin only excepted, He sympathizes with us in every temptation. Though exalted to the highest heavens, He has changed His place, not His nature and office in relation to us, His condition, but not His affection. Compare Mt 26:38, "watch with me": showing His desire in the days of His flesh for the sympathy of those whom He loved: so He now gives His suffering people His sympathy. Compare Aaron, the type, bearing the names of the twelve tribes in the breastplate of judgment on his heart, when he entered into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually (Ex 28:29).
cannot be touched with the feeling of—Greek, "cannot sympathize with our infirmities": our weaknesses, physical and moral (not sin, but liability to its assaults). He, though sinless, can sympathize with us sinners; His understanding more acutely perceived the forms of temptation than we who are weak can; His will repelled them as instantaneously as the fire does the drop of water cast into it. He, therefore, experimentally knew what power was needed to overcome temptations. He is capable of sympathizing, for He was at the same time tempted without sin, and yet truly tempted [Bengel]. In Him alone we have an example suited to men of every character and under all circumstances. In sympathy He adapts himself to each, as if He had not merely taken on Him man's nature in general, but also the peculiar nature of that single individual.
but—"nay, rather, He was (one) tempted" [Alford].
like as we are—Greek, "according to (our) similitude."
without sin—Greek, "choris," "separate from sin" (Heb 7:26). If the Greek "aneu" had been used, sin would have been regarded as the object absent from Christ the subject; but choris here implies that Christ, the subject, is regarded as separated from sin the object [Tittmann]. Thus, throughout His temptations in their origin, process, and result, sin had nothing in Him; He was apart and separate from it [Alford].
16. come—rather as Greek, "approach," "draw near."
boldly—Greek, "with confidence," or "freedom of speech" (Eph 6:19).
the throne of grace—God's throne is become to us a throne of grace through the mediation of our High Priest at God's right hand (Heb 8:1; 12:2). Pleading our High Priest Jesus' meritorious death, we shall always find God on a throne of grace. Contrast Job's complaint (Job 23:3-8) and Elihu's " If," &c. (Job 33:23-28).
mercy—"Compassion," by its derivation (literally, fellow feeling from community of suffering), corresponds to the character of our High Priest "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Heb 4:15).
find grace—corresponding to "throne of grace." Mercy especially refers to the remission and removal of sins; grace, to the saving bestowal of spiritual gifts [Estius]. Compare "Come unto Me … and I will give you rest (the rest received on first believing). Take My yoke on you … and ye shall find rest (the continuing rest and peace found in daily submitting to Christ's easy yoke; the former answers to "receive mercy" here; the latter, to "find grace," Mt 11:28, 29).
in time of need—Greek, "seasonably." Before we are overwhelmed by the temptation; when we most need it, in temptations and persecutions; such as is suitable to the time, persons, and end designed (Ps 104:27). A supply of grace is in store for believers against all exigencies; but they are only supplied with it according as the need arises. Compare "in due time," Ro 5:6. Not, as Alford explains, "help in time," that is, to-day, while it is yet open to us; the accepted time (2Co 6:2).
help—Compare Heb 2:18, "He is able to succor them that are tempted."