Hebrews 5: Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
The writer to the Hebrews reminds us why it is so comforting to have Jesus was our High Priest before God. The fact that the high priest was chosen from among the people meant that the high priest was able to deal gently with God’s people. In that sense, the position of the high priest was a lot like being a pastor. After serving forty years as a pastor, I know that it is easy to empathise with the problems people faced, because I faced those same weaknesses.
But oh, that God should take on human flesh and become one of us and face the same weaknesses and temptations that we have experienced! Among all the millions of gods in the Hindu religion, none of them stepped down from their throne to become one with their people! The Son of God experienced pain and loss and hunger. He experienced Satan’s repeated attacks and rejection by his people. He was misunderstood and bullied and mocked. He serves as a great High Priest before God for us, because he can empathise with us in our weaknesses.
And he ministers to us in such a gentle way. The Bible describes his ministry with these words. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoking wick he will not snuff out.” When our faith is crushed and weak, when our faith is nothing less than a spark, Jesus will come to us and help us and restore us. May we can’t appreciate the picture of Jesus being our high priest so well. But I imagine that Jesus is my pastor, the gentlest and kindest and most faithful pastor I will ever have.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, gentle Shepherd of your sheep, I am comforted to have you at my side. When I wander, you guide me home. When I am weak, you carry me. When I am strong-willed and stubborn, you humble me. You know me better than I know myself. You are my shepherd, and I pray that I will always be content in your flock. Amen.