Jesus comes running to the cry of His brethren which is beautifully pictured by a parent who responds without hesitation to the cry of their child crying out in distress!
Come to the aid (997) (boetheo [word study] from boé = at a shout or cry as for aid or help [only NT use = Jas 5:4=”outcry”, the cry of the oppressed] + théo = to run) means literally to run on hearing a cry from one (in need or danger) to give help, relief, aid and/or assistance to someone. To hurry or hasten to the help of someone who is oppressed or in need of assistance. To bring or furnish aid. To assist by supplying what is needed.
TDNT – Boetheo “is often used of the physician…and cf. also the healings of Jesus (Mk. 9:22, 24; Mt. 15:25). Similarly in Ac. 16:9; Rev. 12:16. Of God as the One who helps it is used only at 2 Cor. 6:2, quoting Isa. 49:8. It is used of help in religious need at Mk. 9:24; Heb. 2:18. (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament – Volume I)
Gary Hill’s discussion gives us a good feeling for the meaning of this great Greek verb – boēthéō (from 995 boē, “intense exclamation” and theō, “run”) – properly, run to meet an urgent distress-call (cry for help); deliver help by quickly responding to an urgent need (intense distress). boētheō (“supply urgently needed help”) means to give immediate aid – in time for a pressing need, i.e. “to run, on a call to help” (TDNT, 1:628). Boētheō was originally a military word, responding to a critical, urgent need (MM). Boētheō is also used in Homeric Greek (800-900 BC) for responding to a war-cry. (ED: A GREAT DESCRIPTION FOR BELOVED WE ARE DAILY IN AN ONGOING SPIRITUAL WAR WHETHER WE KNOW IT OR NOT!) (The Discovery Bible) (Bold added)
THOUGHT – Dr Hill’s description begs the question – What is my response when I am tempted (and we are always being tempted to one degree or another – cf 1 Peter 2:11 where “wage war” is present tense = continuously, James 1:14) Which direction do I go when I tempted? Do I run toward the temptation? Do I flee from the temptation (cf 1 Cor 6:18)? Do I cry out for urgent help from Jesus Who was tempted in the same way and yet did not sin and Who is ever able to run to my aid when I am tempted? May God grant us the desire and the power to cry out to Jesus when we are sorely tempted to sin against our Father (cf Ge 39:9). Amen. But remember even though we “cry out” our part is not just passive and to “let go, let God,” but more like “Let God and let’s go (flee from the temptation)!” And remember that with the temptation comes the way of escape, but we must (energized by the Spirit) choose to run through the way of escape.
Hendriksen – The word “help” is very meaningful and touching. In the original it consists of two smaller words: a cry and run. In any context in which this word is used it is an earnest and moving request that the Lord, or whoever the potential helper happens to be, may rush toward the person who is in need, and may help him. (New Testament Commentary Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark )
Mills writes that boethéo “denotes a loud, ringing cry for help, thus emphasizing the desperate, helpless state of the supplicant.” (The Acts of the Apostles. 3E Ministries)
Moulton and Milligan have identified the noun help (boetheia) and the verb to help (boetheo) repeatedly recurring at the end of petitions in Greek secular writings (papyri)
SPIRITUAL HELP FROM
THE GREAT PHYSICIAN!
Secular Greek often used boetheo in the description of a physician according to Kittel (TDNT). It is interesting that the Gospels uses of boetheo in situations where individuals address Jesus (the Great Physician) in a sense “interceding” with Him to come to the aid of loved ones who are demon possessed. Thus the sense in those passages is to provide spiritual help and healing. In Paul’s vision of the man of Macedonia, the man appealed to him “Come over to Macedonia and help (aorist imperative) us” clearly a call to bring the soul healing/saving Gospel to Europe! Jesus sent help in this case in the form of a His man on the scene, the Apostle Paul! Paul also alludes to the saving help of the Gospel in 2Cor 6:2. In short, we see that most of the NT uses boetheo are in the context of individuals in need of spiritual help, even as is true of Hebrews 2:18.
Boethéo means to relieve – the verb relieve in English means to free, wholly or partially, from pain, grief, want, anxiety, care, toil, trouble, burden, oppression or any thing that is considered to be an evil; to ease of any thing that pains the body or distresses the mind.
JESUS THE SAVIOR
SUCCORS SUFFERING SAINTS
Jesus became a Man of SORROW
that He might become
The One Who able to SUCCOR
Boetheo means to succor (KJV reads “He is able to succor them that are tempted”) which is a word you may not be too familiar with, but which means literally to run to or run to support hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners. (succor is derived from Latin succurrere = to run up, run to help, from sub– = up + currere to run). (See below for more discussion of this aspect of Jesus’ help to the helpless)
Boetheo – 8x in 8v and rendered (NAS) as – come to the aid, 1; come to…aid, 1; help, 4; helped, 2. Boetheo is used 78 times in the Septuagint translation – e.g., in Ps 121:1 “where does my help come from?” and Ps 124:8 “Our help is in the Name of the LORD.” See also 1Sa 7:12, Ps 28:7, 37:40, 40:13, 44:26, 46:5, 54:4, 70:5, 79:9, 86:17, 94:17, 109:26, 119:86, 175.
Matthew 15:25 But she came and began to bow down (proskuneo = verb translated “worship” in Mt 15:25KJV!) before (Jesus), saying, “Lord, help (present imperative in context signifying a petition not a demand) me!”
Wuest: And having come, she fell upon her knees and touched her forehead to the ground in profound reverence before Him, saying, Sir, be helping (Ed: picking up on the present tense) me.
Comment: The Canaanite woman pleaded with Jesus to help her demon-possessed daughter, and in so doing we see her desperation, her persistence and faith (Read context = Mt 15:21-28, especially Mt 15:28), her humility, her submission (her posture of worship), her dependence and her bold confidence(help is in the imperative mood – where the imperative expresses a petition, not a command) in Jesus.
THOUGHT – Would it be that more of God’s children had this Gentile woman’s desperate, dependent attitude and like her we would not hesitate to cry out for Jesus to come to our aid when we find ourselves drowning in the dire straits of temptation and in great need of His assistance! Do you really believe Jesus will come running to your aid and has the power to overcome your temptations? Do you cry out when you are being tempted ( Caveat : I am assuming you have not gone somewhere, done something or looked at something that has aroused the flesh and the fires of temptation and that is the pathogenesis of your current strong temptation!)
Mark 9:22 “It (the demon) has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity (verb form splagchnizomai derived from splagchnon) on us and help (aorist imperative) us!”
Comment: Do not miss the association – His great pity for us precedes His matchless help for us! The aorist imperative is a petition that seeks instant help! “Now not later please” is the idea!
Hendriksen comments on “help” in present imperative: “Continue moment by moment and day by day to come to my aid, so that I may overcome my unbelief.”
Comment: The man of Macedonia in using the plural for himself speaks for Europe, and his cry for help Europe’s need of Christ. Paul recognized a divine summons in the vision.
Kent Hughes helps us understand the picture of the verb boethéo remarking that: This was one of the great turning points of history, and we should thank God for it, for as a result the gospel has come to us in the West. Nothing makes a person strong like hearing someone cry for help! You can be walking down the street completely fatigued so that you would like to lie down on the curb and go to sleep, but then you hear a cry—someone is in trouble!—and you completely forget your weariness. Paul and his associates moved forward in the power of Christ’s strength. (Hughes, R. K.. Acts: The Church Afire. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books) (Bolding added)
Acts 21:28 (Context = Acts 21:27-29) Unbelieving Jews from Asia who were in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost “upon seeing (Paul) in the temple (of Herod), began to stir up all the multitude and laid hands on him, (then they began continually) crying out, “Men of Israel, come to our aid (see boetheo below)(present imperative)!
Comment – (boethéo – Acting as though Paul had committed an act of blasphemy, they called for help in dealing with it – a vivid picture of the meaning of running to the aid of one who cries out for aid!). This is the man who preaches to all men everywhere against our people, and the Law, and this place; and besides he has even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place. For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. -29)
2 Corinthians 6:2 for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” (“I ran to your cry and brought you aid” = Wuest) Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME (now is a propitious, favorably disposed, epochal season),” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION “–
Comment: Paul is addressing the Corinthians, saved (who were not living in grace) and/or unsaved (who had never received grace) warning them not to receive the grace of God in vain. He quotes the Septuagint (Greek of the Hebrew OT) of Isa 49:8.
The cognate (related) noun boetheia is used in Hebrews in the exhortation
Let us therefore (based on the truth of Heb 4:14–note, Heb 4:15–note) draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16–note)
Comment on “time of need”: Greek adjective eukairos (eu = well, good + kairos = opportunity) = seasonable, timely, opportune, at the right time, well-timed, in season, timely. Mk 6:21 = only other NT use. BDAG = “in our lit. only pert. to time that is considered a favorable occasion for some event or circumstance, well-timed, suitable.” A T Robertson = well-timed help, help in the nick of time, before too late.
Vincent on “time of need”: Lit. for seasonable help, or help in good time; before it is too late; while there is still time to seek God’s rest. Others, however, explain, when it is needed; or, before temptation leads to sin.
Ryrie comments: His grace comes when we come in our time of need, and not until. (Ryrie Study Bible)
The Lord is my Helper [boethos – the One Who responds to my call for help], I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?
Comment: This is the only NT uses of Boēthós which is common (45 uses) in the Septuagint (Lxx), the first use describing the wife as a man’s helper (Ge 2:18). The writer of Hebrews uses boethos to describe the Lord as poised and ready to run to the relief of His tempted/afflicted children. When? When they cry out for His assistance. Crying out reflects humility, a sense of dependence, a laying aside of self-reliance, that dangerous tendency we all “run to”. One has to make a choice to cry out to Jesus! Are you too proud or too self sufficient to cry out?
HELP FROM ANGELS
HELP FROM JESUS
Warren Wiersbe makes a distinction between the help angels give and the help given by our merciful and faithful High Priest, Who “stands ready to help us! He was tempted when He was on earth, but no temptation ever conquered Him. Because He has defeated every enemy, He is able to give us the grace that we need to overcome temptation. The word “succour” (boethéo “Come to the aid”) literally means “to run to the cry of a child.” It means “to bring help when it is needed.” Angels are able to serve us (Heb 1:14–note), but they are not able to succor us in our times of temptation. Only Jesus Christ can do that, and He can do it because He became a man and suffered and died. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor) (Bolding added)
Kenneth Wuest commenting on Hebrews 2:18 says “How precious to know that when we are being tempted, the Lord Jesus always stands ready, eager to run to our cry and bring us aid.’
Philip Hughes – The help that he brings is twofold: in the first place, forgiveness of sins, the annulment of past defeats, and, in the second place, the power (his power) to fight and overcome temptation. His own conquest of temptation means for the Christian that the dominion of sin over him has been broken (Ro 6:14–note). These two realities, forgiveness and power, are present in the passage before us. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews – Philip Edgbumbe Hughes)
A W Pink adds that we need to “Remember Who He is. Remember the experiences through which He passed! He, too, has been in the place of trial: He, too, was tempted—to distrust, to despondency, to destroy Himself. Yes, He was tempted “in all points like as we are, sin excepted.” Remember His present position, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high! How blessed then to know that He is “able” both to enter, sympathetically, into our sufferings and sorrows, and that He has power to “succor.” (Pink, A W: An Exposition of Hebrews)
As Man, a man of sorrows,
Thou hast suffered every woe,
And though enthroned in glory now,
Canst pity all Thy saints below.
KJV Study Bible – How much easier it is to help someone when we ourselves have gone through similar trials! Christ as Man has fully suffered the greatest of trials and so can ably comfort. These suffering Jews needed to hear that Christ had suffered as they were suffering.” (Bolding added. King James Version Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
As Paul reminds us
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” (2 Co 1:3-5)
MacArthur – Ours is not a cosmic God, powerful and holy, but indifferent. He knows where we hurt, where we are weak, and where we are tempted. He is the God we can go to not only for salvation but for sympathy.” (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
Wiersbe – Now He is a merciful and faithful High Priest; we can depend on Him! He is able to succor us when we come to Him for aid. The word succor means “to run when called for” and was used of physicians. Christ runs to our aid when we call Him! (Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
Matthew Poole – This is the most powerful preservative against despair, and the firmest ground of hope and comfort, that ever believing, penitent sinners could desire or have.”
Adam Clarke – “There are three things,” says Dr. Owen, “of which tempted believers do stand in need: 1. Strength to withstand their temptations; 2. Consolations to support their spirits under them; 3. Seasonable deliverance from them. Unto these is the succour afforded by our High Priest suited; and it is variously administered to them: 1. By his word or promises; 2. By his Spirit; (and, that, 1. By communicating to them supplies of grace or spiritual strength; 2. Strong consolation; 3. By rebuking their tempters and temptations; ) and 3. By his providence disposing of all things to their good and advantage in the issue.” Those who are peculiarly tempted and severely tried, have an especial interest in, and claim upon Christ. They, particularly, may go with boldness to the throne of grace, where they shall assuredly obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Were the rest of the Scripture silent on this subject, this verse might be an ample support for every tempted soul.”
Although the word boetheo is not used, Matthew gives us a blessed illustration of Jesus’ succoring or coming to the aid of one in need recording the story of Peter walking on the water
“but seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt 14:30, 31)
Comment: Jesus’ response is a vivid picture of what He will do for us beloved. And what was the condition? He cried out and so too must we. It is a humbling thing to cry out in need to another but God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. If a man or woman is willing to humble themselves in the presence of the Lord, he will lift them up!
E. A. Thomson has this quote in regarding the succor provided by our Savior Who has suffered slings similar to His saints…
If ever I fall into a surgeon’s hands with broken bones, give me one whose own bones have been broken.” How can those who have never known what illness is, enter with the tenderness of a perfect fellowship into the chambers of the sick? or how can those who have never known a want understand with a matter-of-fact experience the anxieties of the poor and needy? (The Biblical Illustrator)
The writer’s point is this – Jesus is the Great Physician Who knows! He is able. He is ready to come to your cry for aid. Cry out beloved. His is the same One today Who yesterday said…
Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness… (Isa 50:2)
Later in Isaiah He answers declaring
Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save. Neither is His ear so dull That it cannot hear. (Isa 59:1)
In a similar statement W. Gouge writes that
It is found by experience that childbearing women are more pitiful (Ed: mercy filled) to others in their travails than such women as are barren. The like may be said of such as are afflicted with any painful malady. (Ed: Point? Jesus is mercy filled [Heb 2:17–note, Heb 4:16–note], because His cup of trials and temptations suffered was filled to the brim beloved!) (The Biblical Illustrator)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes concerning “JESUS SUCCORING.
He is able to succor them that are tempted. In this we note His pity (mercy), that He should give Himself up to this business of succoring them that are tempted. He lays Himself out to succor them that are tempted, and therefore He does not hide Himself from them, nor pass them by on the other side. What an example is this for us! He devotes Himself to this Divine business of comforting all such as mourn. He is Lord of all, yet makes Himself the servant of the weakest. Whatever He may do with the strongest, He succors “them that are tempted.” He does not throw up the business in disgust; He does not grow cross or angry with them because they are so foolish as to give way to idle fears.” (The Biblical Illustrator)
Spurgeon goes on to discuss Jesus’ “methods of succoring them that are tempted” listing out four areas as follows
(1) Usually by giving a sense of His sympathy.
(2) Sometimes by suggesting precious truths, which are the sweet antidote for the poison of sorrow.
(3) Sometimes He succors His people by inwardly strengthening them. (Ed: Cp Eph 3:16 where the Spirit of Christ is the One through Whom Christ strengthens.)
(4) I have known the Lord bless His people by making them very weak. The next best thing to being strong in the Lord is to be extremely weak in yourself. They go together, but sometimes they are divided in experience. It is grand to feel, “I will not struggle any more; I will give all up, and lie passive in the Lord’s hand.” Spurgeon then draws his discussion to a conclusion asking two questions “Where else can you go?. Where better can you go?” (The Biblical Illustrator)
Jeremy Irons asks
Now shall I tell you how our Lord “is able to succor” you? It is just simply by revealing Himself. “I am thy salvation”; “It is I; be not afraid.” It comforts, it cheers, it upholds. Just observe what encouragement here is for faith to the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Having Himself “suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” He has the fulness of grace; “all power is given to Him in heaven and in earth” (Mt 28:18); it is in His own hands, and He is “full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14) “He is able to succor them that are tempted.” “Well,” say you,” is He willing?” Suppose I reverse the question: Are you willing that He should? or are you looking somewhere else for succor? Are you willing that He should do it in His own way?” (The Biblical Illustrator)
G. Lawson writes regarding our Savior’s ability to succor His brethren that
The saying is, “None so merciful as those who have been miserable”; and they who have not only known misery, bat felt it, are most powerfully inclined, not only to inward compassion, but to the real relieving of others miserable. And this was a contrivance of the profound wisdom of that God, who is infinitely knowing and merciful, to find a way how to feel misery and be merciful another way. This was by His Word assuming flesh, that in that flesh He might be tempted violently and suffer most grievously; and all this that He might be more merciful and effectually succor sinful man.” (The Biblical Illustrator)
W. F. Adeney writes that Christ is able to succor
By His knowledge and sympathy He can give just such grace as is needed. Pathology must precede therapeutics. The diagnosis of disease is the first duty of the physician, and it is the most difficult; when that is successfully accomplished, the prescription follows almost as a matter of course. (The Biblical Illustrator)
W. A. Bridge asks
“HOW DOTH HE SUCCOR those that are tempted in the day and time of their temptation?
1. Christ succors tempted souls before the temptation comes sometimes, by a special manifestation of Himself, His love and fulness, to them. Again, He succors before the temptation by filling the heart with the Holy Ghost. When the vessel is filled with one liquor, it keeps out another.
2. He succors also under temptation by opening the eyes of him that is tempted to see that it is but a temptation. A temptation is half-cured when a man knows that it is but a temptation: when a man’s eyes are open to see the tempter and the temptation. Therefore men are so hardly cured, because they are hardly persuaded that it is a temptation. When they see that, then they say, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Christ opens their eyes. Again, He succors under temptation, by letting fall some glimpse of His love, some love-look upon a tempted soul. And so, when Peter was in the high priest’s hall, Christ looks upon him, and he went out and wept bitterly.
3. After temptation He succors: by filling the heart with joy unspeakable and full of glory; by sending the angels to minister: as when the devil left Christ, had tempted Him and left Him, then came the angels and ministered to Him. Every way — before temptation, and in temptation, and after temptation — the Lord Jesus Christ is a succoring Christ to tempted souls. He was a Man of Sorrows that He might be a God of succors; His heart is full of succors.” (The Biblical Illustrator)
DOES YOUR FRAME
Unger has an interesting note on ancient ships…
The imperfection of the build, and the tendency to strain the seams, led to taking on board “helps” (Gk. boetheia), cables or chains (apparatus for securing a leaking vessel), that in case of necessity could be passed around the hull, at right angles to its length and made tight—a process called frapping in the English navy.
Luke uses the noun boetheia in his description of the storm tossed ship in (Acts 27:17), writing that
after they had hoisted (the lifeboat) up, they used supporting cables (boetheia) in undergirding the ship and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor, and so let themselves be driven along.”
Comment: In Acts 27:17 “boetheia” refers specifically a rope or chain for frapping a vessel to keep the beams from separating. Frapping (derived from Mid French [fraper] to draw tight as with ropes or cables) means a lashing binding a thing tightly or binding things together.
In nautical terms, this procedure of passing ropes under the ship to hold it together is termed frapping. Frap is a nautical term that means to draw tight, to lash down or together. So in the midst of the storm in Acts 27 the sailors wrapped cables around the ship’s hull and winched them tight. Thus supported, the ship would be better able to withstand the severe pounding of wind and sea.
THOUGHT – Beloved, do you see the word picture inherent in the Biblical use of (verb – boethéo, noun – boetheia) in other verses? From time to time all saints encounter unexpected storms with potentially destructive wind and waves and find themselves in desperate need of our great Captain, Jesus, to batten down the hatches, sending His help that we might be able to endure the stormy trial or temptation, emerging on the other side of the “storm” intact, even unscathed! That’s supernatural! That’s what happens when we cry out for the Savior’s succoring!
Beloved Jesus is able to run to your aid
when He hears your cry for His help.
Perhaps right now you need to take a moment and like the Canaanite woman above (click), bow down in worship (even singing the hymn below), reminding yourself that your Helper Jesus is truly ready, able and willing to run to your assistance no matter the “size or shape” of your test or temptation.
WHAT A FRIEND
WE HAVE IN JESUS
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there