The Book of Hebrews #17 chapter 5:1-9 pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
Jesus Christ, The Perfect Priest, Part 2
Hebrews 5:1-9
 
Last week we began listening in at 5:1-4 as the writer of Hebrews explains to his Jewish audience why Jesus is superior to any other high priest.  He starts with the qualifications and there are three of them. First, the priest had to be selected by God from among men.  You didn’t just show up at the temple one day and announce you were the new high priest.
 
You had to be a member of the right tribe, born into the family of priests and all of that was designed by God.
 
Second, the responsibility of the priest was to be sympathetic.  Since he was selected from among men, he knew what it was to struggle with life and in particular, the weakness to sin.
 
Third, it was the responsibility of the priest to make sacrifices to God to deal with that sin problem.  He started with his own sin and moved next to his people.
 
Once he reminds them of the qualifications, he then introduces Jesus as the Great High priest by showing them how Jesus meets every qualification.
 
Verses 5-9
 
First of all, Jesus was
 
1. Selected by God from Men
 
verse 5a
 
In other words, Jesus didn’t seek the position of priest, it was given to Him by Another.  He was glorified by another and that was God.
 
Notice how we can tell it was God Who selected Him.
 
verse 5b
 
Who said that? God said that. Who chose Jesus to be a high priest? God did. And so He meets the first qualification.
 
Now it’s interesting to me that He quotes Psalm 2:7.  Why is that so significant?  Well remember to whom the writer is speaking.  He is writing to Jews who either have been converted to Christ or are considering it or have rejected Him.
 
For a Jew, his source of authority is the Old Testament.  So throughout the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit uses quotes from the Old Testament because He's writing to Jews and He wants his hearers to see what it says about Jesus.
 
So Jesus fits the chief requirement. He's been called and appointed by God.
 
And just before we leave this point, notice what we have in these verses.
 
Verses 5-6
We’ll look at Melchizedek in a moment, but notice in the middle of verse 5, God says, “You are My Son” and then in the middle of verse 6, “You are a priest forever.”
 
So, according to God, Jesus gets His right to be a priest from God. Now this is heavy stuff for a Jew because the Jew knows Psalm 2:7. And the Jew also knows Psalm 110:4, which is quoted in verse 6. And the Jew knows they refer to the Messiah, and maybe they had never thought about it just like this, but the same God who said, "You're my Son," said, "You're a Priest forever."
 
Now the first objection to that was going to be, “But Jesus is from the wrong tribe.  Priests were of the tribe of Levi.  Jesus was of the tribe of Judah.  And you didn’t serve as priest if you weren’t a descendent of Aaron.
 
So how could Jesus be a great high priest?
 
Verse 6
 
after Aaron's order. You're a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
 
We'll study a lot about Melchizedek when we get to Chapter 7, but let me give you a little Melchizedekian preview.
 
Melchizedek was more than the average run of the mill priest.  First of all, he pre-dated Aaron as a priest.  In fact, Melchizedek makes his first appearance in Scripture in Genesis 14:18 long before Aaron ever got on the scene.
 
And there Melchizedek is identified as the King of Salem and the priest of the Most High God.  So here is a man who is a king and a priest.
 
Now let me ask you this, “Was Aaron ever a king? No. Was he a priest? Yes.
 
Now Jesus is both a king and a priest.  Therefore, he obviously couldn’t be the kind of priest Aaron was.  That doesn’t disqualify Him; it just tells us He is a different kind.  He’s not of the order of Aaron, He is after the order of Melchizedek because He is a king and a priest.
 
And catch that little word “forever” there in verse 6 of Hebrews 5
 
Was Aaron a priest forever? No, but Scripture reveals an interesting fact about Melchizedek in that there is no record of his birth or his death or who his parents were.  And as we’ll see, Hebrews 7 makes a big point of this.
 
In like manner, Jesus Christ was not just a priest who was a king, or a king who was a priest, but he is forever a priestly king.
 
Therefore, He is not a priest after the order of Aaron. He is a super priest king typified by Melchizedek who served in both offices.
 
Now that imagery was not lost on this Jewish audience because they knew full well about Melchizedek.  And if Jesus is after the order of Melchizedek, He would have to be some kind of
wonderful individual because Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.
And Abraham was no small time guy in the mind of the Jews. In fact, Abraham was a lot higher up on the ladder than Aaron.  And Abraham paid tithes.
 
 So the Holy Spirit says out great high priest, Jesus Christ, is not just your plain, old, run-of-the-mill kind of priest.  He’s selected by God and He's typified by Melchizedek, who was a king priest forever.
 
So He fits the first qualification chosen by God from men.
 
The second qualification was to be
 
2.  Sympathetic with Men
 
Did Jesus qualify?  Was He sympathetic with men? Did He feel what they feel? We hardly even need to talk about this.
 
Verse 7
 
Jesus Christ couldn't have been a fully sympathetic high priest if He hadn't spent the days of His flesh feeling what we feel. I would say that verse indicates He understands what it is to have a need in life.
 
And notice that phrase, “in the days of His flesh”.  Remember, His life on earth was just a little interlude.  He had a life before his days on earth and He has a life after His days on earth.  But those days on earth, days in the flesh are so important to what we are studying because it was in those days in the flesh he experienced what we experience.
 
 
It was in the days of His flesh that He felt what we feel. And the climax comes when He offered prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears.
 
Obviously that is a reference to the Garden of Gethsemane.  It was there He began to bear the sins of the world.  It was there He began to feel the crush of sin upon Him. He began to feel Satan bruising Him.  And never before or since has a human experienced the kind of pain he suffered there.
 
He sweat, as it were great drops of blood.  He cried to the Father. His heart was grieving and broken at the prospect and the pain of bearing sin. He felt the power of sin.  He felt temptation. He felt everything Satan could throw at Him.   He felt everything you'll ever feel.
 
He ran temptation to its gamut at every point.  He suffered temptation that we'll never know. He felt it all.
 
The word for crying is a very distinct word in the Greek language, and it means a cry which a man does not really choose to utter, but which is rung out of him, involuntarily in the anguish of excruciating pain.
 
The gospels tell us His agony was so great that He sweat as it were great drops of blood. And then it says He prayed. He knew what it was like to be in anguish and to pray.
 
And notice, “He prayed to Him Who was able to save Him from death”. Who is that? God.
 
Now remember, Jesus understood why He had to come to this earth.  And we know that struggle between human desire and Godly intent from His prayer about letting the cup pass and nevertheless, your will be done.
 
But I want you to catch something here that is easy to miss. Almost without exception, every English translation handles this verse the same way by saying "save Him from death."
 
In the Greek, the word translated “from” means “out from within”. Therefore, the phrase reads, “He prayed to the One who was able to save Him out from within death”.
 
See what it’s saying?  He wasn't saying God don't let me die. After all, He said "for this hour came I into the world." He was simply saying Father, once I get into this thing, get me out of it.
 
He wasn’t praying from deliverance from the cross; rather He was praying for the reality of the resurrection.
 
Do you know what He was praying for? Not that He wouldn't get to the cross. He was praying for the resurrection.
 
He’s praying to be saved, not from the experience of death, but out of the experience of death.  When He died, by faith He turned Himself over to God. And with deep pain and vehement tears and sheer agony, He commits Himself to the Father.
 
Listen:  He knows anguish. He feels the pain of all that He's going through and He commits Himself to God.
 
And how does God respond?
 
It says, "He was heard because of His Godly fear.”
 
The word fear carries the idea of being devoutly  submitted to God in reverence”.
 
He recognized God as sovereign and committed Himself to God. So the point then that Spirit makes is that Jesus is qualified to be a sympathetic high priest by His agony, by His tears, His prayers, His suffering, and all of that. He went through every bit of it, every bit of it.
 
Wherever you've been, Jesus has been. Whatever anguish you go through, He knows. He knows when it's real and He knows when you're faking.
 
Now notice verse 8.
 
This is an interesting thought.  Here He is, the Son of God, divinely selected to serve as the forever priest King like Melchizedek, and yet He learned obedience through suffering.
 
Most of the time we try to protect our children from suffering.   From the time they're born, we say now don't do that; if you do that it's going to hurt you and we try to avoid any pain.  But unfortunately, they never learn it until the feel it and experience it.
 
 
But the point is, even though they learn when they suffer, we don't purposely push them into that.
 
But that’s what God did with Jesus.  God pushed Him into it. Even though He was God's Son, He had to learn by suffering. That's the only way you learn experientially. And by the way, that was for our benefit.  And because of it, we’ll never be able to say, “You don’t know what I’m going through”.  He does know.  He’s experienced it and learned the lesson.
 
Sympathy comes from experience and Jesus learned obedience as a child in the sense of His relation to God in His incarnation through suffering. That's the kind of high priest I want.
 
Isn’t it wonderful when you go to the Lord in prayer and you fall on your knees before Him and you say God this is what's breaking my heart, to feel His arms around you and just in your heart sense that He's saying, “I know, I know”?.
 
Verse 9
 
That word “perfected” means complete. Jesus went through everything He had to go through so He could be the complete, perfect high priest and what He had never or could never experience as the Son of God in glory, He came to earth, put on human flesh and experienced as the Son of God in the flesh.
 
And because of that, He is perfectly qualified to be the perfect high priest.
 
 
Quickly, there's one more qualification. Besides being chosen by God and being sympathetic and understanding, the high priest had to offer
 
3.  Sacrifice for sins
 
Did Jesus do that? Look at the end of
 
verse 9.
 
By His death He opened the way to eternal salvation. All the priests of all time couldn't provide eternal salvation. They could appropriate forgiveness momentarily and every day more sacrifice, more sacrifice by one act, by one offering. He perfected forever them that are His.
 
Now, an author is an originator or the cause of something.  He is the originator of eternal salvation. That's some kind of high priest.
 
And notice who gets in on it.
 
It is for “all who obey Him”?
 
The idea is not obeying a lot of rules and doing certain things and not doing others.  He’s taling about the obedience of faith.
 
You know what God wants you to do? Obey Him by believing in Christ. That's the obedience of faith. God doesn't expect anybody to be redeemed by running around and keeping rules. It's the obedience of faith.
God says believe in Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. And when you obey that, you have obeyed in faith.
 
Sadly, tragically there are many who will miss heaven and God because they don’t obey that one simple command.
 
And there is a tragic commentary regarding them in Scripture.  Romans 10:16, "For they have not all obeyed the gospel."  In 2 Thessalonians 1:8 we read, "In flaming fire, God will take vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
 
Do you believe tonight that He is God's great high priest? Do you believe you need no other high priest? You need no other to stand between you and God, if you do that's all God asks of you. That's the obedience of faith.
 
Let’s pray
 

 

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