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Hebrews Study #3: “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”

Jesus, Our High Priest, Was Made Like Us In Every Respect!

By Richard Allen – February 27, 2023

The phrase: “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” has a long history. First, it was the idea of a Catholic Priest, Father Edward Flanagan, who founded Boys Town – a home for troubled or homeless boys – in Omaha, Nebraska. Here’s how it is explained on the web:

“The title came from the motto for Boys Town, a community formed in 1917 by a Catholic priest named Father Edward Flanagan. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, it was a place where troubled or homeless boys could come for help. In 1941, Father Flanagan was looking at a magazine called The Messenger when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, ‘He ain't heavy Mr., he's my brother.’ Father Flanagan thought the image and phrase captured the spirit of Boys Town, so he got permission and commissioned a statue of the drawing with the inscription, ‘He ain't heavy Father, he's my brother.’ "

That’s the origin of the phrase, but many of us will best remember these words when they were put to music in the 1969 hit by the Hollies, of the same title. Here’s a sample of the lyrics from “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother:”

“The road is long. With many a winding turn. That leads us to who knows where? Who knows where? But I'm strong, Strong enough to carry him. He ain't heavy, he's my brother.”

As we’ve been working our way through the Book of Hebrews and learning of the Supremacy of our Savior, Jesus – this week’s blog is one of the main teachings of this book: Jesus, Our High Priest was madelike us in every respect. He was the ultimate “kinsman redeemer” that we see portrayed by Boaz in the Book of Ruth! If there ever was a friend who “sticks closer than a brother” and who “carried our burdens,” it was Our Lord Jesus Christ! Truth be told, in human terms we’re not strong enough to carry the burdens of one another – at least not in the sense that Jesus did. He was the one who “was made like us in all respects,” that He might bear our burdens, and restore us to God. The Book of Hebrews explains this was why Jesus became our High Priest. The writer alludes to Jesus’ work as High Priest in Hebrews 1:3 when he says: After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” Only a Priest works to make purification for sins. Then the writer of Hebrews picks up the thread again in Hebrews 2:

“Since 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, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore 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” (Hebrews 2:14-18).

Jesus didn’t just carry us, He carried our burden of sin. There’s a lot to learn in this passage above: 1) The reason Jesus became a man wasn’t to give us a nice Christmas Story, but in order to share “flesh and blood” like His children. He not only shared in our earthly frame, but 2) By being made in our likeness, Jesus was able to both partake of, and defeat death for us. An angel or spirit could not suffer death as a man, so Jesus didn’t come to help them. 3) By defeating death, Jesus delivered His Children from “bondage to a lifelong fear of death.” 4) Jesus proved His bona fides as a merciful and faithfulHigh Priest when He was made like his brothers in every respect. And, 5) As our High Priest, Jesus was able to “make Propitiation for the sins of the people.” Remember, the word Propitiation means “to turn away wrath.” It’s also translated “Mercy Seat” in I John 2:2, and lastly 6) Because He suffered being tempted, He is able to help all of us who are being tempted! That’s an impressive list of achievements by Jesus, our High Priest.

But you might say: “A human priest also shares in our earthly frame and could also suffer being touched and tempted just as all of us are. That must be the reason why so many denominations have functioning priests – to take care of our ongoing needs.” But Jesus did more. So, the writer of Hebrews says much the same later, that Jesus, being fully human and made just like we are, was tempted – but He adds three important words: “yet without sin.”

“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).

Those three words are the reason why atoning sacrifices – performed by men, have been done away. Jesus was the only Priest who could offer a sinless sacrifice because He was “without Sin!” I want to be careful here, because while the priesthood with sacrifices that atones for sin have been done away since Jesus Christ, a New Royal Priesthood (I Peter 2:9), has dawned – with all of God’s Children: Male, Female, Slave, Free, Rich and Poor – now able to offer a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15)! Because of this, the writer of Hebrews says Jesus was not a High Priest like Aaron had been, or any of the other Levitical Priests throughout the Old Testament. No, Jesus was a High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek – the mysterious High Priest whom Abraham met when he returned from the “slaughter of the kings” in Genesis 14. Here’s how the writer explains Jesus’ superior High Priesthood over all other human priests:

Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.’ For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not relent, You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek,’ by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the peoples, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” (Hebrews 7:11-28).

This is an amazing section of Scripture. In it, the writer explains the differences between temporary human priests (those ordained by God under the Old Covenant) and the eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ, the guarantor of (one who secures) a Better Covenant by which we actually draw near to God! And the writer of Hebrews uses both the story of Melchizedek in Genesis 14 and a prophecy from Psalm 110:4 to show that Jesus, like this mysterious character of old was made a Priest by an oath that God the Father himself made: “The Lord has sworn, and will not relent. ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’ ” I find it interesting that Psalm 110, universally recognized as a Messianic Psalm, starts off with the often quoted verse: “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ ” Jesus himself quoted this Psalm and applied it to Himself in a verbal altercation with the Pharisees (Matthew 22:41-46). The Psalm doesn’t stop there, but goes on to explain that this ONE, whom David calls “My Lord,” was also sworn as an eternal Priest, after the Order of Melchizedek! He alone is the Priest who can save!

Let me close by asking a few obvious questions:

  1. In light of what the inspired writer of Hebrews is saying – by what kind of twisted logic would anyone teach that God would ever want to bring back a sinful human priesthood to make atoning sacrifices? Why would church leaders ever want to bring back a feeble priesthood which looked anything like the covenant God had already annulled?

  2. What sacrificial offering might an earthly priest offer? As Jesus died He said: “It is finished,” which means “paid in full.” Since Jesus offered His life “once for all,” can Jesus die over and over again for sin?

  3. Since the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that a sinless Jesus Christ did not need to first offer up sacrifices for himself” and “then make sacrifice for the people,” what possible reason could there be to go back to sinful priests?

  4. The priesthood of Aaron and his imperfect sacrifices were just a shadow of things to come. Since a New and Better Covenant has been established – one based not upon “blood” but rather on the power of an “endless life” (Hebrews 7:16), is it reasonable to believe that we still need priests to sacrifice and make offerings of blood to God for us?

  5. What if we just have our priests offer Jesus again and again in a reenacted sacrifice, would that be acceptable? Is any of this taught anywhere in the Scripture?

We’ll look at all of these questions in depth over the next few weeks, as we continue to be taught by the inspired writer of the Book of Hebrews!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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"Boys town" is the perfect example how easily SATAN is able to turn through those susceptible by its gospel of "good and bad" / THE LIE a charitable project in the fellowship of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST into HELL itself if not carried out under the guidance of THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Omaha being the capital of Warren E Buffet preaching the gospel of DESTRUCTION!

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