Jesus is as fully man’s Son as He is God’s. Hebrews tells us Jesus could not mediate between God and man unless He was like us in every way (Heb. 2:17). This is why the writer of Hebrews says it was appropriate that God should make the source of our salvation perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10). It is not as though suffering has saving value in itself. But to be a fallen person in this fallen world *is* suffering. For Jesus to be like us in every way He had to suffer. Hebrews 2:14 says He destroyed the devil and death by dying. In the same way, Jesus suffered to destroy the fallen order of suffering.
The cross, of course, was the height of that suffering. But Jesus’s suffering was more comprehensive yet. Extraordinary suffering (like the cross) is certainly part of the human experience, but not for most. For those who don’t know great agony, Jesus suffered in all the mundane ways as well. He probably knew muscle aches; maybe He hit his thumb with a hammer on occasion; Jesus experienced the tidal pull of temptation (though without failing); sometimes He didn’t sleep; scripture tells us He felt hunger; He felt alienation and rejection; He grieved.
Jesus joined to all our sufferings and took them to the cross. Hebrews tells us “the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all of one. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers….” (Heb. 2:11). It is stunning that Jesus knows us so completely but isn’t ashamed. He was the one who suffered on our behalf to save and purify us. But in Jesus’s heart there is no difference between Him and us; there isn’t even a whiff of condescension in the way He relates to us; not the slightest glance or tone of voice that says, “Just don’t forget who is Savior and who needed saving.” Paul said God “made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Savior or saved, righteous or sinful, we are all of one.
How deeply and completely Jesus loves us! Just before the cross, Jesus told His disciples that laying down your life for your friends is the greatest love of all (John 15:13). Friends! He called us friends. Jesus didn’t mean He was only dying for His clique; He meant He was dying for those who are of His kind, who share flesh and blood. Friends, peers, humans.
There is no moment of pain, indecision, limitation, depression, or disappointment that Jesus can’t personally relate to. Whatever we are going through, Jesus can say, “I know how that feels. I hear you; I’m with you.” How could God more completely meet our needs than to see through our eyes, feel with our hands, hear with our ears, and walk in our footsteps? It is one thing to save someone. It is quite another to know how it feels to need saving, like our Lord does.
The writer concludes these thoughts by saying, “Therefore…consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Heb. 3:1).
We are urged to carefully consider—to study—Jesus, our apostle and high priest. Hearing “apostle” as only a title diminishes what is said. Apostle means, “one sent.” Jesus is the one sent to us, sent to be like us in every way, sent to be tested and suffer so he can help us (as Hebrews 2:18 says). This is what makes Him a “merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb. 2:17).