Lord, we acknowledge Your supreme High Priesthood.
Read HEBREWS 5:1–10
5 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.”[a]
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”[b]
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘And being found in appearance as a human being, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!’ (Phil 2:8, TNIV) Thank God for the obedience of Jesus.
Priests bridged the gap between a holy God and an unholy people; especially the high priest on the Day of Atonement. A high priest was essential to obtaining forgiveness and reconciliation with God. Once one became a Christian, where was the high priest? How could forgiveness be found? Jesus, says our author, is the high priest – but niggling doubts remain: how could He be? He is not descended from Aaron. The answer is that He is a high priest of a different type, appointed by God in the manner of Melchizedek, the shadowy figure to whom Abraham paid a tithe following his victory (Gen 14:18–20); this may have meant more to the first hearers than it does to us, but it points to important truths.
Jesus is a permanent priest, not a temporary one (6). Jesus is a human priest. Jesus is a perfect priest; since He is without sin, He does not need to make sacrifices for Himself (Heb 7:27). The perfection here (as in 2:10) is not moral perfection but signifies that His suffering qualifies Him perfectly to bring salvation. His sacrificial death was the only way in which humanity could find salvation. Jesus’ prayer in the garden was heard (7) , but He still went to the cross and was saved from death only through the resurrection. Prayer may be heard, but it may not always bring about the outcome that we desire or expect.
Jesus has the right credentials and has secured our salvation. We can be assured of our eternal security if we continue to obey (9). The writer’s rhetoric involves both reassurance and challenge, the benefits of following Jesus and the danger of turning away. We bear both in mind as we continue our journey with Jesus.
Given the status of the Savior and the nature of salvation, let us pursue this with energy. Pray for faith and courage to hold to a strong faith in Jesus.
Lord, Your people are eternally grateful to You for being the author of our salvation through Your death on the cross.