on Hebrews 7 :26
Such a high priest became us - Such a high priest was in every respect suitable to us, every way qualified to accomplish the end for which he came into the world. There is probably here an allusion to the qualifications of the Jewish high priest: -
1. He was required to be holy, ὁσιος, answering to the Hebrew חסיד chasid, merciful. Holiness was his calling; and, as he was the representative of his brethren, he was required to be merciful and compassionate.
2. He was to be harmless, ακακος, without evil - holy without, and holy within; injuring none, but rather living for the benefit of others.
3. He was undefiled, αμιαντος answering to the Hebrew באל מום baal mum, without blemish - having no bodily imperfection. Nothing low, mean, base, or unbecoming in his conduct.
4. He was separate from sinners, κεχωρισμενος απο των ἁμαρτωλων. By his office he was separated from all men and worldly occupations, and entirely devoted to the service of God. And as to sinners, or heathens, he was never to be found in their society.
5. Higher than the heavens. There may be some reference here to the exceeding dignity of the high priesthood; it was the highest office that could be sustained by man, the high priest himself being the immediate representative of God.
But these things suit our Lord in a sense in which they cannot be applied to the high priest of the Jews.
1. He was holy, infinitely so; and merciful, witness his shedding his blood for the sins of mankind.
2. Harmless - perfectly without sin in his humanity, as well as his divinity.
3. Undefiled - contracted no sinful infirmity in consequence of his dwelling among men.
4. Separate from sinners - absolutely unblamable in the whole of his conduct, so that he could challenge the most inveterate of his enemies with, Which of you convicteth me of sin? Who of you can show in my conduct the slightest deviation from truth and righteousness!
5. Higher than the heavens - more exalted than all the angels of God, than all created beings, whether thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers, because all these were created by him and for him, and derive their continued subsistence from his infinite energy.
But how was a person of such infinite dignity suitable to us! His greatness is put in opposition to our meanness. He was holy; We, unholy. He was harmless; We, harmful, injuring both ourselves and others. He was undefiled; We, defiled, most sinfully spotted and impure. He was separate from sinners; We were joined to sinners, companions of the vile, the worthless, the profane, and the wicked. He was higher than the heavens; We, baser and lower than the earth, totally unworthy to be called the creatures of God. And had we not had such a Savior, and had we not been redeemed at an infinite price, we should, to use the nervous language of Milton on another occasion, "after a shameful life and end in this world, have been thrown down eternally into the darkest and deepest gulf of hell, where, under the despiteful control, the trample and spurn, of all the other damned, and in the anguish of their torture should have no other ease than to exercise a raving and bestial tyranny over us as their slaves, we must have remained in that plight for ever, the basest, the lower-most, the most dejected, most under-foot and down-trodden vassals of perdition." Milton on Reformation, in fine.
on Hebrews 7 :26
For such an High Priest became us - Was suited to our condition. That is, there was that in our character and circumstances which demanded that a high priest for us should be personally holy. It was not requisite merely that he should have great power; or that he should be of a rank superior to that of the Jewish priesthood; but there was a special propriety that he should surpass all others in "moral" purity. Other priests were mere mortal men, and it was necessary that their office should pass to other hands; they were "sinful" men also, and it was necessary that sacrifices should be made for themselves as well as others. We need, however, a different priest. We need not only one who ever lives, but one who is perfectly holy, and who has no need to bring an offering for himself, and all the merit of whose sacrifice, therefore, may be ours. Such an high priest we have in the person of the Lord Jesus; and there is no truth more interesting, and no proposition more susceptible of proof, than that he is exactly Fitted to man. In his moral character, and in the great work which he has accomplishcd, he is just such a Saviour as is adapted to the wants of ignorant, fallen, wretched, sinful man. He is benevolent, and pities our woes; wise, and is able to enlighten our ignorance; compassionate, and ready to forgive our faults. He has made such a sacrifice as was necessary to put away our guilt, and offers such intercession as we need to have offered for us in order that we may be preserved from falling.
Who is holy - Not merely "outwardly righteous," but pure in heart.
Harmless - Not injuring anyone. To no one did he do wrong. Neither to their name, person, or property, did he ever do injury; nor will he ever. He is the only one who has lived on earth of whom it could be said that he never, in any way, did wrong to another.
Undefiled - By sin; by any improper desire or passion. He was unstained by crime; "unspotted from the world." Sin always defiles the soul; but from every such pollution the Lord Jesus was free.
Separate from sinners - That is, he did not associate with them as such. He did not partake of their feelings, plans, pleasures. Though he mingled with them, yet it was merely to do them good, and in all his life there was an entire separation from the feelings, principles, and views of a sinful world.
And made higher than the heavens - Exalted above the visible heavens; that is, at the right hand of God; see the Ephesians 1:21 note; Philippians 2:9 note. We needed a high priest who is thus exalted that he may manage our cause before the throne of God.
on Hebrews 7 :26
7:26 For such an high priest suited us - Unholy, mischievous, defiled sinners: a blessed paradox! Holy - With respect to God. Harmless - With respect to men. Undefiled - With any sin in himself. Separated from sinners - As well as free from sin. And so he was when he left the world. And made - Even in his human nature. Higher than the heavens - And all their inhabitants.