Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
As we continue, we see that God is spending a fair amount of time making the point of the difference between Jesus Christ and the angels. It is important for us to know that our Saviour was a man and not an angel. He knows us and He knows what we face in life. Angels are different in nature.
God reminds us that Jesus Christ was of the seed of Abraham. Abraham was the “father” of the nation of Israel. Abraham was the one that God chose to begin to separate out a nation that He was going to work through to show the rest of the world Who He was. Jesus Christ would come from the nation of Israel.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Jesus Christ came from the seed of Abraham. He was born a Jew. He is also the Saviour of mankind being of the faithful seed of Abraham. Of course we also know that He is the Son of God.
In verse 17 we learn further of the importance of Jesus Christ being made like unto His brethren. We already saw earlier that Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call those who are redeemed His brethren. Through Jesus’ humanity, He is able to be that merciful and faithful high priest that was required of God, in order to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
The Lord Jesus Christ was able to satisfy the demands of His heavenly Father because He was a man of the lineage of Abraham and He was also without sin, thus able to take away our sin. As we will see further in this book, the high priest, could not enter into the holiest unless he would offer a sacrifice for his own sins. He could not enter that holiest place if he had not atoned for his own sins. Jesus Christ did not need to atone for His sin. He had no sin. He could thus be that faithful high priest that God could accept.
In verse 18 we see that Jesus Christ suffered in temptation. We know that just prior to Jesus’ public ministry He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Those temptations were real for Jesus. It was not that He could just brush them off because He was one with His Father. As a man He suffered in temptation. As we see in verse 17, He can be that merciful high priest because He understands what we face in temptation. As God He knows the needs of man and is able to meet every need of man. As the sinless Son of Man, He demonstrated the fact that in Christ, we can avoid yielding to temptation. It is important to note that being merciful does not mean that He excuses our sin. Temptation is not sin. Yielding to temptation is sin. Jesus Christ is merciful in that He is willing to forgive those who humble themselves and seek God’s forgiveness.
Jesus shows us what true mercy looks like in Matthew 18:23-35. In that passage we are given a picture of how Jesus Christ responds to sin. We have a debt we cannot pay. In His mercy, He forgives the repentant sinner. Those who want forgiveness just to be able to continue in their sin, will not be forgiven. God’s mercy is given with justice. It is for those who turn to God in humility and in repentance. It is not there for those who want to abuse it.
The word translated as “succour” means “to aid or to relieve. Jesus does both. He aids those in need. He also relieves them of the burden they bear. That is why we read in Matthew 11:28-30:
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Jesus Christ is there to aid those who come to Him for salvation and also to aid those who have been saved by Him. He is there to help His brethren to be able to bear up under temptation. We are not told to take our yoke and bear it alone. We are called upon to enter into Jesus’ yoke and He bears it with us. I Corinthians 10:13 tells us that we will never be tempted above that we are able. God always makes a way of escape for His children. Jesus Christ is the great high priest who intercedes for His children before the Father. The Holy Spirit also indwells the true child of God and is there to guide and to provide all that the true child of God needs to say no to the temptation.
The Christian life is not a difficult life. I know there are those who like to dwell on the idea that the Christian life is a struggle. The Christian life is only a struggle for those who do not want to follow the Lord. The true child of God has all the help he or she needs to serve God faithfully. God is reminding us in the book of Hebrews of the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ and if we know Him as our own personal Saviour, we have been brought into a blessed relationship with God. It is special and provides all that we need to be able to say with the apostle Paul in II Timothy 4:7-8:
II Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Paul is a testimony of the power of God to save a lost sinner and to bless that saint with success both now and into eternity.