Our Sympathetic High Priest

By Pastor Mark Tanious

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

In our study of the Gospel of Mark, we have seen a clear picture of Jesus as the divine Son of God. Jesus is healing the sick, casting out demons, calming storms, and multiplying bread. The disciples are watching all this unfold before their very eyes.

But, we also see Jesus demonstrating incredible sympathy and compassion for people. His heart breaks over individuals who are outcasts because of physical ailments. Even when he is exhausted, Jesus still chooses to preach the gospel to the crowds because they were “like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34).

And yet, what I find most comforting is when I see Jesus caring for his disciples in the midst of their struggles and fears. Even when Jesus intends to reveal his glory in a unique way by walking on the water, he ends up comforting his disciples instead (Mark 6:48-51). Jesus knew that their hearts were hardened. They did not understand that his miracles were meant to reveal his divinity. They struggled to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh. And yet, in spite of all this, Jesus still went out to his disciples because they were struggling against the storm.

As Christians, we can take great comfort knowing that our Savior sympathizes with our weaknesses. He doesn’t rebuke our fragile faith. In fact, he actively intercedes on our behalf to the Father (Romans 8:34). Jesus knows our struggles. He was tempted in all the same ways as us. That’s what makes Jesus so amazing. He is sympathetic to our struggles and can do something about our struggles.

Because Jesus is our crucified and resurrected Savior, we can now approach the throne of God boldly (Hebrews 4:16). In fact, we are invited to run to our Heavenly Dad and ask for help, knowing that he will not reject us. His love is immeasurable and his grace unconditional. Even when we are struggling with sin and suffering, we don’t have to fear the rejection of Jesus. He has made it abundantly clear, nothing will stand in his way from coming to us. He has endured the cross so that we would never have to. This is our sympathetic high priest. This is Jesus.