Using the Bible in Ministry and Mission
Post Seminar Project, Hamilton Smith, May 16, 2017
I find a deep mine of comfort in this thought, that Jesus is perfect Man no less than perfect God. He in whom I am told by Scripture to trust is not only a great High Priest, but a feeling High Priest. He is not only a powerful Saviour, but a sympathizing Saviour, He is not only the Son of God, mighty to save, but the Son of man, able to feel.
This excerpt from J.C. Ryle’s sermon The Ruler of the Waves sets forth an element of Christology that is easily overlooked: Jesus the sympathizing Saviour. Ryle points out His sympathy is only possible because he was fully Man as well as fully God. The pastoral importance of Christ’s full humanity is clearly seen in the atonement, but Ryle brings this different pastoral benefit of Christ’s humanity to our attention. Why is this important? Not only does a sympathetic Christ provide a “deep mine of comfort” to suffering believers, but I argue that this truth can also be used as an evangelistic tool to those who do not believe.
In order to prove this point, I will begin by exegeting the key passages from Hebrews (2:16-18; 4:15-5:3) as they are the foundational scriptures for this Christology. In this first section, I will show the Biblical foundation for understanding Christ as one who sympathizes with us, and I will expound the core texts by showing the multiple dimensions of this sympathy. Moving from this direct textual interpretation method, I will then show how Christ fulfills the Old Testament office of the High Priest by being the sympathetic man that office has always required. I will conclude with a short application of how this truth could be an effective method of evangelism.
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