Merciful and Faithful

Jesus is well equipped to be our faithful and sympathetic high priest having participated fully in humanity’s plight. 

Jesus Lves - Photo by Manuel Rheinschmidt on Unsplash
Having established his qualifications, Jesus is now presented as the high priest who intercedes for the needs of his church. He has participated fully in the nature and sufferings common to all men, and therefore, his priestly intervention on behalf of his “brethren” is characterized by faithfulness and compassion - [Photo by Manuel Rheinschmidt on Unsplash].

The Son participated fully in human nature, including the mortality and death common to all men. But what set his nature apart from the rest of men was his sinlessness.
  • (Hebrews 2:14-18) – “Seeing, therefore, the children have received a fellowship of blood and flesh, he in like manner, took partnership in the same, in order that through death he might paralyze him that held the dominion of death, the Devil, and might release these, as many as by fear of death were all their lifetime liable to bondage. For not surely of angels is he laying hold, but of Abraham’s seed, he is laying hold. Whence he was obliged in every way to be made like the brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the things of God, to expiate the sins of the people. For in that he suffered when tested, he is able to give succor to them who are being tested.
The phrase now applied, “flesh and blood,” is a Semitic idiom used to refer to human mortality - man in his mortal state. Since believers are subject to death, the Son “partook” of the same fate.


The Devil had the “dominion” of death or kratos (Strong’s - #G2904), in Greek, a strong word meaning “hold, power, force, dominion.” The English term “tyranny” best captures the sense.

Paradoxically, through his own death, Jesus invalidated the “tyranny” of Satan. And now, he is “laying hold of” the “seed of Abraham.” This clause alludes to a passage from the book of Isaiah:
  • But you, Israel, my servant Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, you whom I have laid hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners thereof, and said to you: You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away” - (Isaiah 41:8-9).
Because he endured the same trials and sufferings as his fellows, he is well equipped to help them when they are “tested.”

Under discussion is not so much humanity in general, but the followers of Jesus in particular, which explains the term “seed of Abraham.”


The Son was obliged to be made like his brethren “in every way.” For him to become the “merciful and faithful high priest,” it was necessary to have the same nature and experiences as them.

Solidarity with humanity is mandatory for the office of the high priest since he represents men before God, and therefore, he must be one with them. Under the Levitical system, faithfulness was vital to the proper performance of the priestly service - (1 Samuel 2:35, Hebrews 8:3).

As our high priest, Jesus expiates the sins of his people (hilaskesthai – Strong’s #G2433). “Sins” is in the accusative case since it is the direct object of the verb hilaskesthai. What he “expiated” were the sins that separated men from God. More specifically, he removed the uncleanness, the stain caused by sin that left men unclean and defenseless in the presence of God. Thus, Christ “achieved the purification of sin.”

The passage presents four reasons why it was necessary for him to receive the same sentence of death as humanity. First, to experience death on behalf of others. Second, to bring God’s “many sons to glory.” Third, to achieve victory over the Devil and liberate believers from the tyranny of death. And fourth, to qualify him as the ultimate faithful and compassionate high priest.

Unlike Adam and all other men, Jesus did not trespass the commandment of God, and so he was without “blemish.” But in all other respects, he was as human as the next man. Because he suffered as all men only “apart from sin,” he is now fully qualified to be our “faithful and sympathetic high priest.”




Superior Word

God’s superior “word” has been “spoken” in His Son. All previous “words” were partial, preparatory,…