Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Preaching Series on Hebrews
Hebrews 4:14--5:10 Commentary
by Craig R. Koester
[This is Week 3 of a 5-week preaching series on Hebrews.]
Preaching text: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
This passage includes an odd pair of words: sympathy and boldness. The term “sympathy” describes Christ’s role as a priest. The word can seem superficial. When someone says “I’m sympathetic” in casual conversation, it can suggest that the person is more or less inclined to see things your way, but is not ready to go beyond that. In Hebrews, however, sympathy conveys Jesus’ depth of feeling for those who are weak. He enters into the struggle.
The writer recognizes that weakness can include moral failing. And when he describes human priests, he acknowledges that this is all too true. People in ministry are flawed human beings. They understand human sin because they share in it, and being honest about that is important for ministry. It allows people to minister as one flawed human being attending to another.
But the writer explains that when he speaks of Jesus’ sympathizing with weakness, ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL185: Preaching Series on Hebrews
August 23, 2015
Narrative Lectionary podcast on the 5-week preaching series on Hebrews (Aug. 9 - Sept. 6, 2015).