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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

April 25, 2012

Hebrews 5:1-10

I.    Introduction. In the previous versus, the writer introduces Jesus as not only the word of God, but as the great High Priest. Now this mention of high priest for the Hebrew reader would have hit a familiar cord. The Jews understood the role of the high priest. They knew what the function was, but this writer is about to show them that Jesus is the last High priest and the greatest high priest. This High Priest discussion is actually going to take place over several chapters. The discussion began when the writer was talking about believers entering another rest in chapter four. The writer shared that Joshua led the people into the physical promise land, but hundreds of years later David wrote a psalm that talked about another rest that the people of God could enter. This led the writer to say that the rest of the physical promise land in Canaan was not the real rest for the people of God. The writer leads us to see that just as Joshua led the people into the physical promise land, Jesus the great High Priest leads us into the spiritual promise land of rest which is the presence of God. Because in the presence of God, we rest on God’s work not our work. This is the true Sabbath rest. Because the writer described Jesus as the Great High Priest who leads us into the presence of God, the writer is compelled by the Spirit of God to show Jesus can satisfy the requirements to be our great High Priest.

II.    Verse 1-3. The first thing we see is that the office of the High priest could not be fulfilled by just anybody. This was a special office. The high priest had to be a direct descendant of Aaron as well as fulfill other requirements (Lev 21). Over the years there had been many high priests. Generation after generation had held this exalted office. Each year, for over a thousand years, a high priest had entered the Temple and offered a sacrifice. But we have something unique. We have something that the Jews never had. We have a GREAT high priest. He is a great high priest because He has passed through the heavens. The high priest of the Jews passed through the veils into the inner part of the Temple once each year. But our high priest has gone much further. Our high priest has passed through the veil of time into the holy presence of God. As exalted as the position of the high priest of Jerusalem was considered to be, the position of Jesus Christ is much higher. He earthly priests were selected from men and appointed by God. By picking men to be priest, it allowed the priest to be sensitive to the issues of the people because they themselves were able to relate to the conditions of other men. As a matter of fact they even had to offer sacrifices for their own sins as well as make sacrifices for the rest of the community. The writer is making the case that just as the high priest came from among men, Jesus was qualified to be our high priest because he too was born of a woman just like all the other high priest were. The first requirement of the high priesthood was that the priest must be from among the people.

III.    Verses 4-6. The second requirement of the high priesthood was that the high priest must be selected by God. Aaron and his descendants were separated by God to serve as High Priest.(Leviticus 21). One could not just decide to become a High Priest you had to have been selected and separated by God for this office. The writer in Hebrews shows through scripture that the Son was selected by the Father. David had prophesied the selection of Christ in Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 110:4. These obscure Old Testament passages were not readily understood until they are spoken in light of the Christ. The writer, in verse 6, introduces the listener to this idea that even though Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah and not the tribe that Aaron was from does not disqualify him from being High Priest. The early Jew would have said this would disqualify Jesus from fulfilling the High Priest Role, but the writer quotes that David prophesied hundreds of years before that the God would send a priest in the line of Melchizedek and not from the line of Aaron. The writer doesn’t go too deep with the Melchizedek issue at this point, but he will later. What the writer wants the reader to see is that Jesus was qualified because he has better credentials than the priest from the line of Aaron. Melchizedek was a high priest during the time of Abraham who was the forefather of Aaron. Melchizedek was a priest that even the forefather of Aaron gave honor too. This will be elaborated on more in chapter 7. The main point is that Jesus meets all the initial qualifications.

IV.    Verses 7-10. In verse 7, the writer highlights that Jesus, while living on earth, was also able to sympathize with others who were living in the flesh. He was seen and heard offering prayers with loud cries and tears. This is a symbol of knowing pain and suffering. He was able to feel this because he submitted to living like a man. The writer teaches us that Jesus was obedient to the task of becoming the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. He was in position as the Son, but submitted to becoming like man so that he could be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of man. Once he became that sacrifice he also became the way of salvation. He was not only a better priest, but he was able to offer a better sacrifice as well. Since he offered this better sacrifice as this better priest, he was designated as the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, meaning his priesthood would have no end like Melchizedek’s had no end or beginning( see Chap 7:1-28). Since his priesthood has no end and his sacrifice is the best sacrifice for sins, there is nothing else to believe in. To reject the better priest and this better sacrifice is to reject the ultimate payment and only payment for sins.


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