Hebrews 5 Bible study

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Chapter 5

 

Christ Our High Priest.

 

Having introduced Christ as our Great High Priest, Paul further expounds Christ's ministry as compared with that of the Aaronic order.

 

1. Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

 

Every High Priest is taken from among men, that is, he must be a man. Christ is qualified in this respect, having become partaker of flesh and blood as we are. The one who holds this office does not do so for his own benefit, but represents men in things pertaining to God. The High Priest acted as go between the people and God, bringing offerings and sacrifices for sins on their behalf, so that they might approach God to worship.

Christ now acts as our go between (mediator), for he offered himself once for all as a sacrifice for our sins, though which we are forgiven. Now we are able to enter God's presence boldly because of Christ work as a mediator on our behalf (Heb. 4:16 ; Heb. 10:19-22). It should be noted that the one who is the mediator between God and man is at the same time fully God and fully man (1 Tim. 2:5).

 

2. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness.

 

The high priest understood the problems and temptations other men faced, for as a man he faced the same problems and weakness himself. So also in every way, except that he was without sin, Christ has shared our human weakness and tasted the tears of the path of life we also face. This means he can be patient with those who do not understand God's ways, and compassionate toward those facing any kind of difficulty.

 

3. And because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people.

 

In this respect Christ's priesthood differs from the Aaronic, for the sons of Aaron had to offer sacrifices for their own sins, but Christ had no sin. It is well to remember that any pastor or evangelist is at best a sinner saved by grace. Let us not expect from them what we are not prepared to expect from ourselves.

 

4. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

 

It was not Aaron's idea to be high priest, or that his sons should serve as priests after him. God called Aaron to this position. Those who sought to remove Aaron from his office and take his place were consumed with supernatural fire from the presence of the Lord, or swallowed alive by an earthquake (see Numbers 16).

 

5,6. So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"; as he says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."

 

So Jesus Christ did not take on himself the honour of becoming our high priest, but the office was bestowed on him by God with the words "You are my son today I have begotten you." And "You are a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." God sent His own Son into the world to become our high priest forever. Paul has much to say to enlarge on these verses, but since he does not do so until later chapters, nor shall we until then.

 

7. In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

 

Thinking of the time when Jesus lived as a man on earth, - the days of his flesh are the years between his incarnation and his death - Paul writes that Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with strong outcries and tears to the God who was able to deliver him from death. And he was heard because of his reverent submission to the will of his father. So although Christ prayed in the garden "let this cup pass from me," he also prayed "nevertheless not as I will, but as You will". He submitted to the cross where he laid down his life, but God heard his prayer and this was fully seen when he raised him from the dead.

 

8. Although he was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.

 

Though a Son Christ did not claim special privileges during his life on earth, but humbled himself to do the will of his father, and learned obedience through the painful experiences of suffering. As a man, Christ's sufferings brought his obedience to its full maturity, revealing its limit - a limit of perfection "he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

9. And having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.

 

Having reached that place of perfect obedience, giving up life on the cross, he became the source of eternal salvation for us. His becoming complete in his human experience and in his obedience to God led to his being able to provide complete salvation to all who obey him by making him Lord of their life.

 

10. Having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

 

Paul again quotes "you are a priest forever after the order of Melchizadec" and seems about to begin an exposition under this heading, but then pauses (his exposition coming later).

 

 

Stunted Growth.

 

11. About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding.

 

Paul pauses to bemoan the fact that his hearers were not yet ready to receive these deeper teachings of the word of God. Paul does not mean that the things of God he wishes to teach are difficult, rather that they would find it difficult to understand them since they had not progressed further than basic knowledge of Christian faith. They had become sluggish in their grasp of spiritual truth. This was their own fault. They should have been eager, hungry and thirsty for more of God and his word, but were indolent. Since they were not willing to play their part, their growth was stunted.

 

12. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.

 

Indeed, even though they had been Christian for a long while - long enough for them to have become competent teachers - they not only lacked a grasp of deeper truths, but they had also let go of much of what they once understood about the basics. "You have need that someone teach you again," he says, "what are the basic principles  - -or fundamentals - of the Christian faith." They were unable to take in the stronger truths of the faith, and could only accept the basics. Rather than progress in the faith, they had regressed - gone backwards. Any mother will tell you this is quite against nature, older children reverting to being infants fed by their mother's milk.

 

13. For everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness.

 

They were immature Christians, who had not made the Word of God their chief employment and joy.

 

14. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

 

Paul is challenging them to make an effort to grow more mature by a better acquaintance with the word of God. By reason of use, means a habitual mediation and searching of the scriptures. The early Hebrew church met every day for the apostle's Bible Study. Paul is urging a return to this practice, whether collectively or individually, meditation in the word is for every day (Joshua 1:8).

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