Our Merciful and Faithful High Priest
“Therefore in all things it behooved 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.”
God gave the persons of the elect into the hands of his dear Son, as Jacob committed Benjamin into the hands of Judah; and as Judah accepted Benjamin, so Christ accepted the Church and undertook to bring it unto God, or he himself would bear the blame forever.
But how this faithfulness was tried!
Men tried it; devils tried it; God tried it; but it came gloriously through all.
Yet what loads were laid upon it!
How the very knees of Jesus, so to speak, staggered beneath it!
How, as Deer says, he had – “Strength enough, and none to spare!”
How he had to sustain the curse of the law and the load of imputed sin!
How he had to drink up a very hell of inward torment!
How he had to be agonized in body, and more than agonized in soul!
What bloody sweat in the garden, what tears, what sore amazement, what heaviness of spirit, what sorrowfulness even unto death; what pangs of body upon the cross, what grief of mind, what distress of soul, did the Holy Lamb endure in being faithful unto God!
How he might have prayed, and his Father would have sent him twelve legions of angels!
He had but to speak, and he might have soared to heaven and left the cross and all its shame and suffering behind.
But he was faithful to God and to the work which he had undertaken. Six weary hours he hung upon the cross. Six weary hours he endured the wrath of God, and that most cutting stroke of all, reserved to the last as the bitterest drop in the whole cup, the hiding of his Father’s countenance, which wrung from his bosom that cry, such as neither earth nor heaven had heard before – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
And yet not until he had finished the work did he give up his spirit. So he was faithful “in all things pertaining to God.”
And he is faithful, also, in all things pertaining to man. He could say to the Father, “Of all whom you have given me” – except the son of perdition, Judas; he had no charge to save him from death and hell; but of all the others whom he had received as his Father’s gift, he could say, “I have lost none.” Thus he was faithful while he was on earth. And how faithful he is now!
The high priest under the law had two offices to execute; he had to OFFER SACRIFICE for the people, and to offer prayer and INTERCESSION for them. Upon earth Jesus fulfilled the first; in heaven he fulfils the second, as there making by virtue of his presence continual intercession for us.
By J.C. Philpot