What does Hebrews 2:17-18 really mean?

Hebrews 2:17-18 is about Jesus becoming a merciful and faithful high priest who understands and intercedes for humanity’s struggles and temptations, strengthening believers to overcome through his own experiences as a human.

17 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.
18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


Setting the Scene for Hebrews 2:17-18

The scene in Hebrews chapter 2:17-18 takes place in the heavenly realm, where Jesus, the Son of God, is being described as a merciful and faithful high priest. The writer of Hebrews is emphasizing Jesus’ role as a mediator between God and humanity, highlighting his ability to empathize with human weaknesses because he himself experienced the full range of human emotions and temptations during his time on earth.

In this scene, we can imagine Jesus standing before the throne of God, surrounded by a multitude of angels and heavenly beings. The atmosphere is one of reverence and awe, as Jesus is being acknowledged for his sacrificial work on behalf of humanity. The writer of Hebrews is drawing attention to the unique position that Jesus holds as both fully divine and fully human, making him the perfect high priest to intercede on behalf of humanity.

As the heavenly beings look on, Jesus is being praised for his willingness to take on human form, to suffer and be tempted, and ultimately to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. The scene captures the essence of Jesus’ compassion and understanding towards humanity, as he stands as the bridge between God and mankind, offering hope and salvation to all who believe in him.

What is Hebrews 2:17-18 about?

This verse from the book of Hebrews reminds us of the profound significance of Jesus’ incarnation as a human being. Jesus was able to fully empathize with our struggles, pains, and temptations by taking on human form. He, as a merciful high priest, understands our weaknesses and offers compassion and grace to help us in our times of need. This shows us the depth of God’s love for us, as He became one of us to bridge the gap between humanity and divinity.

Have you ever felt alone in your struggles or doubted if God truly understands your challenges? This verse reassures us that Jesus not only knows our hardships but also stands as a faithful high priest, interceding for us before the Father. He is the perfect mediator between us and God, offering forgiveness and restoration. So, let us draw near to Him with confidence, knowing that He is always there to extend mercy and grace when we need it most.

Understanding what Hebrews 2:17-18 really means

Hebrews 2:17-18 delves into the profound humanity and priestly function of Jesus Christ, shedding light on his remarkable ability to empathize with human suffering and his pivotal role in providing atonement for sins. The verse vividly portrays Jesus as being “made like his brothers in every respect,” underscoring his complete identification with humanity. This powerful statement signifies that Jesus experienced the same trials, emotions, and temptations that we encounter in our daily lives, showcasing his unparalleled understanding and connection with our struggles.

Furthermore, the description of Jesus as a “merciful and faithful high priest” encapsulates his central role in mediating between humanity and God. His mercy reflects his compassion and empathy towards us, while his faithfulness highlights his unwavering commitment to fulfilling his priestly duties flawlessly. The phrase “to make propitiation for the sins of the people” encapsulates the essence of Jesus’ sacrificial death, which serves as the ultimate act of atonement, reconciling us with God and paving the way for forgiveness and redemption.

Drawing parallels with related biblical passages such as Philippians 2:7-8 and 1 John 2:2 further illuminates the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice and his profound impact on humanity. The narrative of Jesus humbling himself to the point of death on the cross underscores his profound identification with human suffering, while the concept of Jesus being the atoning sacrifice for our sins emphasizes the universality of his redemptive work, extending to all people across the world.

In today’s tumultuous world, where suffering and temptation abound, the assurance that Jesus comprehends our struggles brings solace and hope. As our compassionate high priest, Jesus intercedes on our behalf, extending grace and mercy to us in our times of need. The notion of atonement elucidates the fundamental principles of forgiveness and reconciliation with God, underscoring the transformative power of Jesus’ sacrifice in our lives.

Consider a poignant analogy: Just as an individual who has battled a severe illness can deeply empathize with others facing similar challenges, Jesus, having experienced human suffering and temptation firsthand, offers genuine understanding and support in our moments of weakness. This vivid illustration underscores the profound comfort and assistance that Jesus provides, drawing us closer to him in times of trial and tribulation.

In conclusion, Hebrews 2:17-18 serves as a poignant reminder of Jesus’ profound empathy and his pivotal role in our salvation. It beckons us to approach him with confidence, knowing that he comprehends our struggles intimately and stands ready to aid us in our time of need. This verse encapsulates the boundless love and sacrificial nature of Jesus, underscoring the depth of his compassion and the extent of his selfless sacrifice for the betterment of humanity.

How can we empathize with others’ weaknesses better?

To empathize with others’ weaknesses better, we should remember that Jesus himself experienced human weakness and temptation during his time on earth. This understanding can help us relate to the struggles and vulnerabilities of others, knowing that even the Son of God faced similar challenges. We can approach others with humility and compassion by recognizing our shared humanity and acknowledging that we are not immune to weaknesses.

Additionally, the verse highlights that Jesus’ own experiences of suffering and temptation allow him to be a merciful and faithful high priest. This can serve as a reminder for us to show empathy and kindness towards others in their moments of weakness and difficulty. We can extend a helping hand and a listening ear to those who are struggling, drawing from our own experiences of vulnerability to be a source of comfort and reassurance, just as Jesus offers understanding and support in times of need. We can cultivate a deeper sense of empathy for the weaknesses of others by reflecting on the hardships and trials that Jesus faced ultimately. This perspective encourages us to approach people with kindness, understanding, and patience, knowing that we all have our moments of frailty and need support and encouragement along the way.


Dear believer, in this fast-paced digital age, we are all in need of a guiding light, a source of strength amidst the chaos of our modern lives. Let us lean on Jesus, our rock in times of uncertainty, holding out His hand to lift us up. Draw closer to Him in moments of doubt, for He knows the weight of our burdens and offers solace. So, let us muster the courage to step forward, reaching out for His unwavering support. Will you embrace His steadfast love and find peace in His words today?