Alistair Begg Devotional Perfect Sympathy

Perfect Sympathy

Perfect Sympathy

He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Many of us are discouraged by the regularity with which we face temptation. We might be embarrassed at the overwhelming allure of the temptation in our lives. It can feel all-consuming. In those moments, it is important to remember that the experience of being tempted in itself is not sin—for Christ, who was sinless, endured it. But because He didn’t yield to temptations, as we often do, He serves as our ultimate example as we strive for righteousness.

When Christ took human nature upon Himself, He became subject to its limitations and trials. Therefore, although Jesus is the divine Son of God and our Great High Priest, not a mere mortal, we can derive encouragement from knowing that He is perfectly able to sympathize with our own struggles.

Christ’s sympathy for the trials you and I face depends not upon the experience of sin but upon the experience of the temptation to sin, which only the one who is truly sinless can know to its fullest extent. Jesus does not demonstrate sympathy from a distance; He intimately knows the pain and challenge of enduring temptation. He walked our earthly paths.

So, when you are most aware of the temptations that face you and most aware of your weaknesses, here is where you can go. Do not lean into earthly wisdom of the “great high priests” of the 21st century, who would tell you that temptations are desires to be indulged, that guilt is an affliction to be rejected, and that shame is always unhelpful and unnecessary. Turn instead to the Great High Priest, who tells you that temptations are to be resisted and who provides the power to enable you to do that (1 Corinthians 10:13), and who also assures you that your guilt and shame when you give in has been borne in His body and removed at the cross.

One thing that is truly beautiful about a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is that you can feel confident in going before the one who died in order that you might hold firmly to the faith you profess. You can regularly, humbly, assuredly come into the presence of Almighty God Himself, who welcomes you through Christ, your perfect sympathizer. And eventually, in eternity, there will be nothing left about which you need Christ to plead on your behalf. You will simply be able to stand before God in worship, praising Him for inviting you into His perfect presence. Until then, ask the one who knows what it is to face and resist temptation to be with you as you battle your own temptations and as you strive to obey Him today.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

The Founder of Salvation

5For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

7You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,1

8putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source.2 That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,3 12saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;

in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Open in Bible
1 2:7 Some manuscripts insert and set him over the works of your hands
2 2:11 Greek all are of one
3 2:11 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God's family, the church; also verse 12

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.

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