Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Hebrews is marvelous in both its content and its composition. No human mind could have written such an Epistle. It certainly was written under divine inspiration. In this message, on a merciful and faithful High Priest, we come to the conclusion of the first two chapters of Hebrews. After covering so many items in the first two chapters, the writer concludes this section by revealing that the Son of Man is a merciful and faithful High Priest ministering to us. In order for us to know His qualifications for being such a priest, we need to look back at chapters one and two to see all the items of what He is and of what He has done.
Why does the writer of Hebrews use the words merciful and faithful to describe this High Priest? Why does he not use just one word or more than two? The answer is that in the first two chapters of this book the writer has mainly covered two points—that Christ is the Son of God, God Himself, and the Son of Man, man Himself. Merciful corresponds with His being a man, and faithful corresponds with His being God. In order to be faithful we not only need virtue but also ability. Suppose I have spoken a word to you as a promise. Although my virtue may be good, I may not have the ability to keep my word. I have the heart to be faithful in keeping my word, but I lack the ability. I do not have the means to fulfill my word. Eventually I am forced into not being faithful. But this High Priest is not merely an honest man; He is the faithful God. God is faithful (10:23). He is able to fulfill whatever He says. God never lies (6:18). Whatever He has spoken He is able to fulfill. He has every means to fulfill what He has spoken. Only God can be fully faithful. None of us can be completely faithful. A good number of times I had a sincere heart to keep my word but found myself unable to do it. I could not do it because I am not the Almighty God. What can frustrate God from fulfilling His word? Nothing. Jesus can be a faithful High Priest because He is the very Almighty God. Since He, as the Son of God, is God Himself, He is able to be faithful. Although, as the many sons of God and as the many brothers of the Firstborn, we are divine as well as human, we are not almighty. We are human in our human nature and divine in His divine nature, but we are not almighty in His deity. Since He is the Almighty God, He can be faithful to us.
Being merciful corresponds to the point of Christ’s being a man. He became a man and lived on earth as a man passing through all the human sufferings. As a result, He is fully qualified to be merciful to us. He knows how to be merciful to man. He is a man with the experiences of human life, with the experiences of human suffering.
How is Christ able to be a merciful and faithful High Priest? Because He is the Son of Man with the human nature and the Son of God with the divine nature. He is fully qualified. Aaron was a good high priest, but he only had humanity. He did not have divinity. Although Aaron could have been merciful, I doubt that he was truly faithful. But our High Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, is both merciful and faithful because He is both God and man.
Another qualification of Christ’s being the High Priest is that He was incarnated to be like us (2:14, 17). We may even say that He is more than like us, for He suffered in His human life some things we have not suffered. In order to be qualified to be a merciful High Priest, He became like us, sympathizing with all of our weaknesses.
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