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Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews: 020. Christ Superior to Aaron. Hebrews 5:5-7
TOPIC: Pink, Arthur - An Exposition of Hebrews (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 020. Christ Superior to Aaron. Hebrews 5:5-7
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An Exposition of Hebrews
Christ Superior to Aaron.
The central design of the Holy Spirit in this Epistle needs to be kept steadily before the mind of the reader: that design was to prove the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. The center and glory of Judaism was the divinely appointed priesthood: what, then, had Christianity to offer at this point? "The unbelieving Jews would be apt to say to their Christian brethren, ‘your new religion is deficient in the very first requisite of a religion—you have no high priest. How are your sins to be pardoned, when you have none to offer expiatory oblations for you? How are your wants to be supplied, when you have none to make intercession for you to God?’ The answer to this cavil is to be found in the apostle’s word ‘We have a High Priest’ Hebrews 4:14," (Dr. J. Brown).
That God has provided His people with a High Priest is the fulfillment of His own promise. On the demonstrated failure of the Aaronical priesthood in the days of Eli and his sons (1 Sam. 1:14, 2; 12-17, 22), the Lord declared, "And I will raise Me up a faithful Priest, that shall do according to that which is in Mine heart and in My mind: and I will build Him a sure house" (1 Sam. 2:35). The fulfillment of this is found in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But in taking up the study of the priesthood of Christ it is of the greatest possible importance to perceive that both the typical persons of Aaron and Melchizedek were required to prefigure the varied actions, and excellencies of the great High Priest who is the center and heart of Christianity. It was failure to recognize this which has resulted in so many inadequate and faulty treaties on the subject.
Both Aaron and Melchizedek were needed to set forth the various phases of Christ’s priestly ministry. But before the apostle could take up the latter, he had first to show that Christ fulfilled all which was adumbrated by the former: before he could dwell upon the points in which Christ’s excelled the Levitical priesthood, he must first establish its parallels and similarities. This the apostle does in Hebrews 5. In its first four verses we have a description of the Levitical high priest: first with respect to his nature (verse 1), second his employment (verse 1), third his qualification (verse 2), fourth his duty (verse 3), fifth his call (verse 4). In the verses which immediately follow, an application of this is made, more directly, to Christ. In so doing the Holy Spirit had before Him a double design:
He first shows the fulfillment of the type. God’s purpose in appointing Israel’s high priests was to foreshadow the person and work of the Lord Jesus. Thus, there must be some resemblance between the one and the other. Second, that the Hebrews might know that the ministry and service of the Levitical order had terminated. Their purpose having been served, they were no longer needed; now that the Substance had come, the shadows were superfluous. Nay, more, their very retention would repudiate the design of their institution: they were prefigurative, therefore to perpetuate them would deny that the Reality had come. For the Levitical priesthood to go on functioning would argue that it had a value and a use apart from Christ. Hence the necessity of showing the relation of Aaron’s priesthood to Christ’s, that it might the more plainly appear that a continuance of the former was not only useless but pernicious.
That there was a close connection between the priesthood of Aaron and that of Christ is evident from the opening verse of our present passage. Having stated, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as Aaron," the apostle now adds, "So also Christ" (verse 5), or, "In like manner Christ." Thus, unmistakably, a parallel is here drawn. As it was with the Levitical high priests in all things necessary to that office, so, in like manner, was it with the Christ. In verses 5-10 the same five things (personal sin excepted) predicated of Aaron and his successors were found in our great High Priest. That there were, also, dissimilarities was inevitable from the personal imperfections that appertained to Aaron and his descendants: had there been anything in Christ which corresponded to their blemishes and failures, He had been disqualified.
"So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest" (verse 5). In 2:17, 3:1, 4:14 it had been affirmed that Christ is High Priest. A difficulty is now anticipated and met. Considering the strictness of God’s law, and the specified requirements for one entering the priestly office, and more especially seeing that Jesus did not belong to the tribe of Levi, how could He be said to be "Priest?" In meeting this difficulty, the apostle emphasizes the fact that the chief requirement and qualification was a Divine call: "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God" (verse 4): applying that rule the apostle now shows, from Scripture itself, our Lord’s right and title to this office. Ere weighing the proof for this, let us note that He is here designated "the Christ": the apostle’s design was to demonstrate that the promised Messiah, the Hope of the fathers, was to be High Priest forever over the house of God. The "Anointed One" signified His unction unto this office.
"So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest." He did not take this dignity unto Himself; He did not obtrude Himself into office. As He declared, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing: it is My Father that honoureth Me." (John 8:54). No, He had made Himself of no reputation; He had taken upon Him the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), and He ever acted in perfect subjection to the Father. Nor was there any need for Him to exalt Himself: He had entered into a covenant or compact with the Father, and He might be safely trusted to fulfill His part of the agreement. "He that shall humble Himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 23:12) was no less true of the Head than of His members.
"So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest." He to whom the authority belonged, invested Christ with the honors of priesthood, as He had Aaron. An ellipsis needs supplying to complete the implied antithesis: "But He glorified Him," or He (God) made Him to be High Priest." That Christ was glorified by being invested with the high priesthood is here plainly inferred. It was a high honor bestowed upon His mediatorial person, that is, upon His humanity (united unto His deity). Scripture plainly teaches that His mediatorial person was capable of being glorified, with degrees of glory, by augmentation of glory: see John 17:1; 1 Peter 1:21. This honor appears more plainly when we come to consider the nature of the work assigned Him as Priest: this was no less than healing the breach which sin had made between God and men, and this by "magnifying the law and making it honorable." It appears too when we contemplate the effects of His work: these were the vindicating and glorifying of the thrice holy God, the bringing of many sons unto glory, and the being Himself crowned with glory and honor. By that priestly work Christ has won for Himself the love, gratitude, and worship of a people who shall yet be perfectly conformed to His image, and shall praise Him world without end.
How wonderful and blessed it is to know that the honor of Christ and the procuring of our salvation are so intimately connected that it was His glory to be made our Mediator! There are three chief offices which Christ holds as Mediator: He is prophet, priest and potentate. But there is an importance, a dignity and a blessedness (little as carnal reason may be able to perceive it) attaching to His priestly office which does not belong to the other two. Scripture furnishes three proofs of this. First, we never read of "our great prophet," or "our great King," but we do of "our great High Priest" (Heb. 4:14)! Second, the Holy Spirit nowhere affirms that Christ’s appointment to either His prophetic or His kingly office "glorified" Him; but this is insisted upon in connection with His call to the sacerdotal office (Heb. 5:5)! Third, we read not of the dread solemnity of any divine "oath" in connection with His inauguration to the prophetic or the kingly office, but we do His priestly—"The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a priest forever." (Ps. 110:4)! Thus the priesthood of Christ is invested with supreme importance.
"So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee." (verse 5). The apostle here cites the testimony of the 2nd Psalm: but how does this quotation confirm the priesthood of Christ or prove His "call" to that office? That the quotation here is adduced as proof-text is clear from the next verse—"As He saith also in another Psalm," which is given as further confirmation of His call. In weighing carefully the purpose for which Psalm 2:7 is here quoted, observe, First, it is not the priesthood but His call thereunto which the apostle has before him. Second, his object was simply to show that it was from God Christ had all His mediatorial authority. Third, in Psalm 2:7, God declares the incarnate Christ to be His Son. The proclamation. "Thou art My Son," testified to the Father’s acceptance of Him in the discharge of all the work which had been committed to Him. This solemn approbation by the Father intimated that our Redeemer undertook nothing but what God had appointed. The Father’s owning of Christ in human nature as "My Son," acclaimed Him Mediator—Priest for His people. In other words, Christ’s "call" by God consisted of the formal and public owning of Him as the incarnate Son. Psalm 2:7 describes the "call."
It is to be observed that Psalm 2:7 opens with the words, "I will declare the decree," which signifies a public announcement of what had been eternally predestinated and appointed in the everlasting covenant. It was God making known that the Mediator had received a Divine commission, and therefore was possessed of all requisite authority for His office. The deeper meaning, in this connection, of the proclamation, "Thou art My Son," tells us that Christ’s sufficiency as Priest lies in His Divine nature. It was the dignity of His person which gave value to what He did. Because He was the Son, God appointed Him High Priest: He would not give this glory to another. Just as, because He is the Son, He has made Him "Heir of all things." (Heb. 1:2.)
"Thou art My Son." The application of these words to the call which Christ received to His priestly office, refers, historically, we doubt not to what is recorded in Matthew 3:16, 17. There we behold a shadowing forth on the lower and visible plane of that which was to take place, a little later, in the higher and invisible sphere. There we find the antitype of what occurred on the occasion of Aaron’s induction to the priestly office. In Leviticus 8 we find three things recorded of the type: First, his call (verses 1, 2). Second, his anointing (verse 12). Third, his consecration, (verse 22) These same three things, only in inverse order again (for in all things He has the pre-eminence) are found on the occasion of our Savior’s baptism, which was one of the great crises of His earthly career. For thirty years He had lived in retirement at Nazareth. Now the time had arrived for His public ministry. Accordingly, He consecrates, dedicates Himself to God—presenting Himself for baptism at the hands of God’s servant. Second, it was at the Jordan He was anointed for His work: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:38). Third, it was there and then He was owned of God. "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." That was the Father’s attestation to His acceptance of Christ for His priestly office and work.
Above, we have pointed out the first historical fulfillment of the prophetic word recorded in Psalm 2:7. As all prophecy has at least a double accomplishment, we find, accordingly, this same word of the Father’s approbation of the Son recorded a second time in the Gospel narratives. In Matthew 17:5 we again hear the Father saying, "Thou art my Son," or "This is My Beloved Son." Here it was upon the mount, when Christ stood glorified before His disciples. It was then that God provided a miniature tableau of Christ’s glorious kingdom. As Peter says, "We are eye-witnesses of His majesty" (2 Pet. 1:16). And no doubt this is the profounder reference in Hebrews 5:5, for the 2nd Psalm, there quoted, foretells the setting up of Christ as "King." Yet, let it not be forgotten that the priesthood of Christ is the basis of His kingship: "He shall be a priest upon His throne." (Zech. 6:13). It is as the "Lamb" He holds His title to the throne (Rev. 22:1)—cf. the "wherefore" of Philippians 2:9. He is a Priest with royal authority, a King with Priestly tenderness.
"As He saith also in another, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" (verse 6). A further proof of God’s call of Christ to the priestly office is now given, the quotation being from the 110th Psalm, which was owned by the Jews as a Messianic one. There the Father had by the Spirit of prophecy, said these words to His incarnate Son. Thus a double testimony was here adduced. The subject was of such importance that God deigned to give unto these Hebrews confirmation added to confirmation. How graciously He bears with our dullness: compare the "twice" of Psalm 62:11, the "again" of the Lord Jesus in John 8:12,21 etc., the "many" proofs of Acts 1:3. "As He saith" is another evidence that God was the Author of the Old Testament. Here, the Father is heard speaking through David; in Psalm 22:1, the Son; in Hebrews 3:7, the Spirit. "As He saith," namely unto the Son. The Father’s here speaking to Him was His "call," just as in Hebrews 7:21, it is His "oath." "Thou art a priest" was declarative of His eternal decree, of the everlasting covenant between the Father and the Son, wherein He was designated unto this office. Thus was Christ "called of God as was Aaron."
"Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared" (verse 7). In seeking to expound this verse three things require attention. To ascertain its scope, or theme, to discover its relation to the context and its own contribution unto the apostle’s argument, and to define its solemn terms. Its theme is the priestly ministry of Christ: this is evident from the expression "offered up." "As the theme of verses 4-6 is, ‘Jesus Christ has been divinely appointed to the priestly office, so the theme of verses 7-9 is Jesus Christ has successfully executed the priestly office.’" (Dr. J. Brown). Its relation to the context is that the apostle was here showing the "compassed with infirmity" (verse 2) is found in the Antitype: the "strong crying and tears" being the proof. Its terms will be weighed in what follows. Ere submitting our own interpretations, we first subjoin the helpful analysis of Dr. Brown.
"The body of the sentence (verses 7-10) divides itself into two parts: 1. ‘He’ Christ in the character of a Priest ‘learned obedience by the things which He suffered.’ 2. ‘He’, in the same character, ‘has become the Author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him.’ The clauses, ‘In the days of his flesh,’ and ‘though He were a Son,’ qualify the general declaration, ‘He learned obedience by the things which He suffered,’ and the clauses, ‘when He had offered up,’ ‘prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death,’ and ‘when He had heard’—or having been heard—‘in that He feared,’ contain in them illustrations both of the nature and extent of those sufferings by which Christ learned obedience; whilst the clause, ‘being made perfect,’ qualifies the second part of the sentence, connecting it with the first, and showing how His ‘learning obedience by the things which He suffered,’ led to His being ‘the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.’"
In this 7th verse two other of the qualifications of Israel’s high priest are accommodated to Christ. First, his being "compassed with infirmity" (verse 2) so as to fit him for having compassion on those for whom he transacted. In like manner was the Son, when He entered upon the discharge of His office, compassed with sinless infirmity. This is here exemplified in a threefold way. First, the time when He fulfilled the Aaronic type, namely, "in the days of His flesh," which was before He was "crowned with glory and honor." Second, from His condition, "in the days of His flesh," which signifies a state of weakness and humiliation. Third, from the manner of His deportment: "with strong crying and tears," for these proceed from the "infirmity" of our nature—angels do not weep. Second, Israel’s high priest was appointed to "offer." (verses 1, 2). This is what Christ is here seen doing: offering up to God—"to Him that was able to save Him." This was a sacerdotal act, as is clear from the fact that the declaration of verse 7 is immediately preceded (verse 6), and succeeded (verse 10) by a reference to His priesthood. Let us now examine our verse clause by clause.
"Who in the days of His flesh." "Flesh as applied to Christ, signifies human nature not yet glorified, with all its infirmities, wherein He was exposed unto—hunger, thirst, weariness, labor, sorrow, grief, fear, pain, death itself. Hereby doth the apostle express what he had before laid down in the person of the high priest according to the law—he was ‘compassed’ with infirmity." (Dr. John Owen.) The word "flesh" is often used in Scripture of man as a poor, frail, mortal creature: Psalm 78:39, 65:2. The "days of His flesh" is antithetical to "made perfect." They cover the entire period of our Lord’s humiliation, from the manger to the grave—cf. 2 Corinthians 5:16. During that time Christ was "a man of sorrows," filled with them, never free from them; "and acquainted with grief," as a companion that never departed from Him. No doubt there is special reference to the close of those days when His sorrows and trials came to a head.
"The ‘days of His flesh’ mean the whole time of His humiliation—that period when He came among men as one of them, but still the Son of God, whose majesty was hid. As applied to Christ ‘flesh’ intimates that He put on a true humanity, but a humanity under the weight of imputed guilt, with the curse that followed in its train—a sinless, yet a sin-bearing humanity. The Lord felt the weakness of the flesh in His whole vicarious work, and though personally spotless, was in virtue of taking our place, subjected to all that we were heir to. We do not, indeed, find in Him the personal consequences of sin, such as sickness and disease, but the consequences which could competently fall to the sinless substitute; for He never was in Adam’s covenant, but was Himself the last Adam. As He took flesh for an official purpose, He submitted to the consequences following in the train of sin-bearing—hunger and thirst, toil and fatigue in the sweat of His brow, persecution and injustice, arrest and sufferings, wounds and death." (Professor Smeaton on the Atonement.)
"When He had offered up prayers and supplications." The Greek word for "offer up" signifies "to bear toward." It occurs in this Epistle sixteen times, and always as a priestly act. See Hebrews 8:3, 9:7, 14, 10:11, 14, 18, etc. Prayers and supplications are expressive of the frailty of human nature, for we never read of angels praying. "Prayers" are of two kinds: petitions for that which is good, requests for deliverance from that which is evil: both are included here. The Greek word for "supplications" occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; in its classical usage it denotes an olive bough, lifted up by those who were supplicating others for peace. What is here in view is Christ "offering" Himself unto God (Heb. 9:14), His offering being accompanied with priestly prayers and supplications. These are mentioned to exemplify His "infirmity," and to impress upon us how great a work it was to make expiation for sin. These prayers and supplications are not to be restricted to the agony of Gethsemane, or the hours of torture on the Cross; they must be regarded as being offered by Him through the entire period of His humiliation. "The pressure of human guilt habitually weighed down His mind and He was by way of eminence a Man of prayer, as well as a Man of sorrows." (Dr. Brown.)
"With strong crying and tears." These words not only intimate the intensity of the sufferings endured by our Priest, but also the extent to which He felt them. The God-man was no stoic, unmoved by the fearful experiences through which He passed. No, He suffered acutely, not only in body, but in His soul too. The curse of the law, under which He had spontaneously placed Himself, smote His soul as well as His body, for we had sinned in both, and He redeemed both. These crying and tears were evoked not by what He received at the hands of man, but what imputed guilt had brought down upon Him from the hand of God. He was overwhelmed by the pressure of horror and anguish, caused by the Divine anger against sin.
"With strong crying and tears." These were, in part, the fulfillment of that prophecy in Psalm 22:1: "the words of My roaring." A part of those "strong cryings" are recorded in the Gospels. To His disciples He said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:38). To the Father He prayed, "If Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me" (Luke 22:42). There we read of Him "being in an agony," that "He prayed more earnestly," that "His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." Such was the "travail of His soul" that He cried for deliverance. He voluntarily entered the place into which sin had brought us: one of misery and wretchedness. No heart can conceive the terribleness of that conflict through which our Blessed Substitute passed. "Jesus cried with a loud voice, My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46): here again we witness the "strong crying" accompanying His sacrifice. And what is the application of this to us? If His sacrifice was offered to God with "strong crying and tears" let none of us imagine we are savingly interested therein if our hearts are unmoved by the awfulness of sin, and are in the coldness of impenitence and the sloth of unbelief. Let him who would approach unto Christ ponder well how He approached unto God on behalf of sinners.
"Unto Him that was able to save Him from death." The particular character in which our suffering Surety here viewed God, calls for close attention. These words reveal to us how Christ contemplated Deity at that time: "unto Him that is able." Ability or power is either natural or moral. Natural power is strength and active efficacy; in God, omnipotence. Moral power is right and authority; in God, absolute sovereignty. Christ looked toward both. In view of God’s omnipotence He sought deliverance; in view of His sovereignty, He meekly submitted. The former was the object of His faith; the latter, of His fear. These two attributes of God should ever be before us when we approach unto His footstool. A sight of His omnipotence will encourage our hearts and strengthen our faith: a realization of His high sovereignty will humble us before Him and check our presumption.
"Unto Him that was able to save Him from death." This also makes known the cause of His "strong crying and tears:" it was His sight of death. What "death?" Not merely the separation of the soul from the body, but the "wages of sin," that curse of the law which God, as a just judge, inflicts on the guilty. As the Surety of the covenant, as the One who had voluntarily taken upon Himself the debts of all His people, the wrath of a holy God must be visited upon Him. To this Christ referred when He said, "I am afflicted and ready to die from youth up; I suffer Thy terrors, I am distracted" (Ps. 88:15). Fiercer grew the conflict as the end was neared, and stronger were His cries for deliverance: "The sorrows of death compassed Me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon Me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver My soul" (Ps. 116:34).
But what was the "deliverance" which He sought? Exemption from suffering this death? No, for He had received commandment to endure it (John 10:18, Philippians 2:8). What then? Note carefully that Christ prayed not to be delivered from dying, but from "death." We believe the answer is twofold. First, He sought to be sustained under it. When death as the penal visitation of God’s anger upon Him for our sins was presented to His view, He had deep and dreadful apprehension of the utter inability of frail human nature bearing up under it, and prevailing against it. He was conscious of His need of Divine succor and support, to enable Him to endure the incalculable load which was upon Him. Therefore it was His duty, as perfect yet dependent Man, to pray that He might not be overwhelmed and overborne. His confidence was in "Him that is able." He declared, "For the Lord God will help Me, therefore shall I not be confounded" (Isa. 50:17).
"And was heard in that He feared." The best commentators differ in their understanding of these words. Two interpretations have been given, which, we believe, need to be combined to bring out the full meaning of this clause. Calvin gave as its meaning that the object of Christ’s "fear" was the awful judgment of God upon our sins, the smiting of Him with the sword of justice, His desertion by God Himself. Arguing against the "fear" here having reference to Christ’s own piety, because of which God answered Him, this profound exegete points out the absence of the possessive "His fear;" that the Greek preposition "apo" (rather than "huper") signifies "from," not "on account of;" and that the word "fear" means, for the most part, anxiety—"consternation" is its force as used in the Sept. His words are, "I doubt not that Christ was ‘heard’ from that which He feared, so that He was not overwhelmed by His evils or swallowed up by death. For in this contest the Son of God had to engage, not because He was tried by unbelief (the source of all our fears), but because He sustained as a man in the flesh the judgment of God, the terror of which could not have been overcome without an arduous effort"—and, we may add, without a Divine strengthening.
The sufferings of Christ wrung His soul, producing sorrow, perplexity, horror, dread. This is shown by His exercises and agony in Gethsemane. While He suffered God’s "terrors," He was "distracted" (Ps. 88:15). "I am poured out like water," He exclaimed, "and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws" (Ps. 22:14, 15). And again, He cried, "Save Me, O God; for the waters are come in unto My soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing . . . Let not the water-flood overflow Me, neither let the deep swallow Me up" (Ps. 69:1, 2, 15). Fear, pain, torture of body and soul, were now His portion. He was then enduring that which shall yet cause the damned to weep and wail and gnash their teeth. He was deserted by God. The comforting influences of His relation to God were withdrawn. His relation to God as His God and Father were the fount of all His comfort and joy. The sense of this was now suspended. Therefore was He filled with heaviness and sorrow inexpressible, and, "and with strong crying and tears" He prayed for deliverance.
"And was heard." This means, first of all, God’s approval or acceptance of the petitioner himself. Christ’s prayer here was answered in the same way as was Paul’s request for the removal of the thorn in his flesh—not by exemption, but by Divine succor which gave enablement to bear the trial. In Gethsemane "There appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him" (Luke 22:43). So too on the Cross. "His mind and heart were fortified and sustained against the dread and terror which His humanity felt, so as to come to a perfect composure in the will of God. He was heard insofar as He desired to be heard; for although He could not but desire deliverance from the whole, as He was man, yet He desired it not absolutely as the God-man, as He was wholly subject to the will of the Father" (Dr. John Owen).
"And was heard in that He feared." Other commentators have rightly pointed out that the Greek word for "fear" here signifies godly reverence or piety: cf. Hebrews 12:28, where it is found in its noun form. Having from godly fear offered up prayers and supplications, He was heard. His personal perfections made His petition acceptable. This was His own assurance, at the triumphant completion of His sufferings: "Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns" (Ps. 22:21). This brings us to the second and ultimate meaning of the Savior’s petition to be delivered "from death," and the corresponding second response of the Father. "To ‘save from death’ means, to deliver from death after having died. God manifested Himself as ‘Him who was able to save Him from death,’ when, as ‘The God of peace’—the pacified Divinity—‘He brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the everlasting covenant’. Hebrews 13:20" (Dr. J. Brown).
Thus, to summarize the contents of this most solemn and wonderful verse, we here learn: First, that our blessed Substitute, in the discharge of His priestly work, encountered that awful wrath of God which is the wages of sin—"death." Second, that He encountered it in the frailty of human nature, compassed with infirmity—"in the days of His flesh." Third, that He felt, to an extent we are incapable of realizing, the visitation of God’s judgment upon sin—evidenced by His "strong crying and tears." Fourth, that He cried for deliverance: for strength to endure and for an exodus from the grave. Fifth, that God answered by bestowing the needed succor and by raising Him from the dead.
Many are the lessons which might be drawn from all that has been before us. Into what infinite depths of humiliation did the Son of God descend! How unspeakably dreadful was His anguish! What a hideous thing sin must be if such a sacrifice was required for its atonement! How real and terrible a thing is the wrath of God! What love moved Him to suffer so on our behalf! What must be the portion of those who despise and reject such a Savior! What an example has He left us of turning to God in the hour of need! What fervor is called for if our prayers are to be answered! Above all, what gratitude, love, devotion and praise are due Him from those for whom the Son of God died!