How can Jesus sympathize with our weaknesses if he was so strong that he never sinned in the face of temptation? How was Jesus made perfect, since he has always been perfect? These two seemingly unrelated questions converge in Hebrews 4:14-5:10 in a way that shines glorious new light on the gospel. The writer of Hebrews tells us that a merely-human priest is beset with weakness in two ways. The first is his own sinfulness and failings such that he needs to present sacrifices for himself before he can bring them for the people. Jesus does not sympathize with us like that—praise God! The comfort we receive when we realize that we are not alone in the muck of sin is generally comfort to our pride. We are encouraged by discovering that we are not categorically worse than others. But this is shallow, worldly comfort and you will receive none of its kind from Jesus. However, the second reason that priests are weak is that they are dependent. No one can attain the honor of becoming priest through his own achievements or power. He must be called by God if he is truly to be God's priest. That is dependence. That is weakness. And in this way, Jesus was the weakest of all. He did not usurp the role of high priest, though he could have. Rather, he submitted himself completely to the Father who appointed him Priest-King forever. And Jesus did not strut through his suffering when he accomplished our redemption, but in his weak dependence he cried out to the Father to save him. And the Father could have saved him—but Jesus' genuine prayer did not end there, but rather with the same posture of dependence that we are called to. That is, “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). The humility of the incarnation was not a facade, and Jesus' suffering was not pretend. It was learned through reality; it was learned through weakness. And if Jesus had not become weak in this way so as to sympathize with us, then while Jesus would himself still be perfect, he would not be the perfect Savior. But he did, and so our salvation cannot be improved upon. The eternal Son who sits at the right hand of God became weak and dependent in order that he might perfectly sympathize and save us. Therefore, let us draw near for grace to one who understands our need for help.
Main point summary
The eternal Son who sits at the right hand of God became weak and dependent in order that he might be appointed our Savior-High Priest by God. Therefore, let us confidently draw near to him for grace from one who understands your neediness.
Since then we have d a great high priest e who has passed through the heavens,
Ἔχοντες οὖν ἀρχιερέα μέγαν διεληλυθότα τοὺς οὐρανούς,
וְכֵיוָן שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָנוּ כֺּהֵן גָּדוֹל עֶלְיוֹן אֲשֶׁר עָבַר דֶּרֶךְ הַשָּׁמַיִם,
Jesus, the Son of God,
Ἰησοῦν τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ,
הֲלֹא הוּא יֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן־הָאֱלֹהִים,
f let us hold fast our confession.
κρατῶμεν τῆς ὁμολογίας.
נַחֲזִיקָה בְּהַכְרָזַת אֱמוּנָתֵנוּ.
For we do not have a high priest g who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
οὐ γὰρ ἔχομεν ἀρχιερέα μὴ δυνάμενον συμπαθῆσαι ταῖς ἀσθενείαις ἡμῶν,
כִּי אֵין לָנוּ כֺּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לָחוּשׁ עִמָּנוּ אֶת חֻלְשׁוֹתֵינוּ,
but one who in every respect has been d tempted as we are,
πεπειρασμένον δὲ κατὰ πάντα καθʼ ὁμοιότητα
אֶלָּא אֶחָד שֶׁהִתְנַסָּה בַּכֺּל כָּמוֹנוּ
h yet without sin.
i Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
προσερχώμεθα οὖν μετὰ παρρησίας τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς χάριτος,
עַל כֵּן נִקְרְבָה בְּבִטָּחוֹן אֶל כֵּס הַחֶסֶד
that we may receive mercy
ἵνα λάβωμεν ἔλεος
and find grace
καὶ χάριν εὕρωμεν
to help in time of need.
εἰς εὔκαιρον βοήθειαν.
For every high priest chosen from among men j is appointed to act on behalf of men k in relation to God,
Πᾶς γὰρ ἀρχιερεὺς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων λαμβανόμενος ὑπὲρ ἀνθρώπων καθίσταται τὰ πρὸς τὸν θεόν,
כָּל כֺּהֵן גָּדוֹל הַלָּקוּחַ מִקֶּרֶב בְּנֵי אָדָם, מְמֻנֶּה לְמַעַן בְּנֵי אָדָם עַל עִנְיְנֵי אֱלֹהִים
l to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
ἵνα προσφέρῃ δῶρά τε καὶ θυσίας ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν,
כְּדֵי לְהַקְרִיב מְנָחוֹת וּזְבָחִים עַל חֲטָאִים.
m He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward,
μετριοπαθεῖν δυνάμενος τοῖς ἀγνοοῦσιν καὶ πλανωμένοις,
הוּא יָכוֹל לַחֲמֺל עַל הַשּׁוֹגְגִים וְהַתּוֹעִים,
since he himself n is beset with weakness.
ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὸς περίκειται ἀσθένειαν
מִשּׁוּם שֶׁגַּם הוּא מֻקָּף חֻלְשָׁה.
Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins o just as he does for those of the people.
καὶ διʼ αὐτὴν ὀφείλει, καθὼς περὶ τοῦ λαοῦ, οὕτως καὶ περὶ αὐτοῦ προσφέρειν περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν.
מִסִּבָּה זֺאת הוּא חַיָּב לְהַקְרִיב עַל חֲטָאִים גַּם בְּעַד הָעָם וְגַם בְּעַד עַצְמוֹ.
And p no one takes this honor for himself,
καὶ οὐχ ἑαυτῷ τις λαμβάνει τὴν τιμὴν
וְאֵין אִישׁ לוֹקֵחַ לְעַצְמוֹ אֶת הַכָּבוֹד
but only when called by God,
ἀλλὰ καλούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ
זוּלָתִי הַנִּקְרָא מִטַּעַם אֱלֹהִים,
q just as Aaron was.
καθώσπερ καὶ Ἀαρών.
So also Christ r did not exalt himself to be made a high priest,
Οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς οὐχ ἑαυτὸν ἐδόξασεν γενηθῆναι ἀρχιερέα
כֵּן גַּם הַמָּשִׁיחַ לֹא נָטַל לְעַצְמוֹ אֶת הַכָּבוֹד לִהְיוֹת כֺּהֵן גָּדוֹל,
but was appointed by him who said to him,
ἀλλʼ ὁ λαλήσας πρὸς αὐτόν•
אֶלָּא קִבֵּל זֺאת מֵאֵת הָאוֹמֵר אֵלָיו,
s “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;
υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε•
" בְּנִי אַתָּה, אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ ";
as he says also in another place,
καθὼς καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ λέγει•
כְּמוֹ שֶׁגַּם בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר הוּא אוֹמֵר,
t “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
σὺ ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισέδεκ,
" אַתָּה־כֺהֵן לְעוֹלָם עַל־דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק ."
In the days of his flesh,
ὃς ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ
וּבִימֵי הֱיוֹתוֹ בְּגוּף בָּשָׂר וָדָם,
u Jesus 1 offered up prayers and supplications, v with loud cries and tears, to him w who was able to save him from death,
δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σῴζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς καὶ δακρύων προσενέγκας
הִקְרִיב תְּפִלּוֹת וְתַחֲנוּנִים בִּצְעָקָה גְּדוֹלָה וּבִדְמָעוֹת אֶל הַיָּכוֹל לְהוֹשִׁיעוֹ מִמָּוֶת,
and x he was heard because of his reverence.
καὶ εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας,
וְאָמְנָם נִשְׁמַע בִּגְלַל יִרְאַת הָאֱלֹהִים שֶׁבּוֹ.
Although y he was a son,
καίπερ ὢν υἱός,
וְאַף כִּי הָיָה הַבֵּן,
z he learned obedience through what he suffered.
ἔμαθεν ἀφʼ ὧν ἔπαθεν τὴν ὑπακοήν,
מִסִּבְלוֹתָיו לָמַד לְצַיֵּת.
And a being made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
ἐγένετο πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ αἴτιος σωτηρίας αἰωνίου,
הָיָה לְמָקוֹר שֶׁל יְשׁוּעַת עוֹלָמִים לְכָל הַמְצַיְּתִים לוֹ,
being designated by God a high priest b after the order of Melchizedek.
προσαγορευθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀρχιερεὺς κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισέδεκ.
וֵאלֹהִים קָרָא לוֹ, " כֺּהֵן גָּדוֹל עַל־דִּבְרָתִי מַלכִּי־צֶדֶק ."
Is the meaning here Jesus' descent from his heavenly throne to being made man, or his accent to the heaves following his resurrection?
This command is indeed closely in parallel to the command in 14c. This is clear from 10:19-23.
Here we find further explanation for the Ground of 14a-b and 15.
The common thread in these two quotes is the fact we find God the Father declaring Jesus to be High Priest (Son=High, priest=Priest). A study of these psalms reveals both to speak in the grandest of terms about the power, authority and honor of the Messiah Priest-King. However, in both of them it is also strikingly clear that this is not a position that is gained by this Person's own doing, but given to Him by God the Father.
I did not do a BL for 14 + 15 + 16 since in 16 we see "throne of grace." The "throne" portion seems to rest upon 14, whereas the "grace" portion rests upon 15.
Is there any sense of King in this context? What is the begotten part all about in the writer of Hebrew's mind? (5c)