Page separation

The Priestly Office
Heb. 5:1-10

We have seen the superiority of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the prophets, angels, Moses, and Joshua. The priesthood was established to aid His people in maintaining their relationship with God. In this chapter the Apostle Paul makes a comparison between the high priestly work of Christ to that of the first Jewish high priest which is Aaron. Once more we can see the superiority of Christ’s high priestly work compared to that of the Old Testament priesthood. Christ’s high priestly work still continues today.

I. Qualifications of the OT High Priest (Heb. 5:1-4)
A. For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
1. The High Priest must be man, not an angel who have supernatural power.
2. A man chosen from among men to serve God on their behalf. – It was by God’s appointment that a priest had to come from Aaron and the tribe of Levi. This was a Divine requirement. Any priest who could not prove his lineage was disqualified. No compromise regarding this.
3. That he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” “Gifts” were bloodless offerings; “sacrifices” required the life (blood) of the victim. Aaron and his sons were not appointed to any secular vocation, such as farming, or any other job, but to minister in holy things, such as caring for the tabernacle (Lev. 8:1-5, 35)

Illustration 1/ Application: Preacher Faces Two Silences
Every preacher has to face the “two great silences”—the silence of God and the silence of the soul. It is in dealing with the first that the preacher becomes a prophet, interpreting the message of God to man. It is in dealing with the second that he becomes a priest, conveying the message of man to God. Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
B. Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (Heb. 5:2).
1. The word compassion comes from “metriopatheo” which means “to be moderate in passion, i.e., gentle (to treat indulgently).” The priest had to have balance in dealing with the sinner. He couldn’t be too hard on the sinner, also, he couldn’t condone their sin either. He had to deal with their sin and failure while at the same time reaching out to them.
2. The ignorant are people destitute of knowledge; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; unenlightened. A man may be ignorant of the law, or of any art or science. He may be ignorant of his own rights, or of the rights of others. (Webster). Note that the high priest was to make a distinction between sins of ignorance and sins of presumption.
3. … for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (Hebrews 5:2) The high priest was able to have compassion on the sinner because he knew firsthand the weaknesses and failures of man. The phrase compassed with infirmity means
that he is clothed in weakness. He recognized the natural tendency of men to
yield to the flesh because he himself had to fight the same depravity. He could be compassionate because he could identify with the weakness of those to whom he ministered.
4. Being man, he can understand human weakness and minister to the erring and the ignorant.
C. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. (Heb. 5:3)
1. Offering sacrifices for the sins of the people and for his own sins.
2. The high priest will always remember his being a sinful man every time he offers sacrifices for his own sin.
D. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. (Heb. 5:4)
1. A man didn’t just decide to be a priest. He had to be called and ordained to this position by God. Not self-chosen.

Illustration 2/Application: Weeping for Souls
Many times, tears are effective where reason fails. C. E. Matthews was a warm-hearted, evangelistic preacher. He told me of an experience he had during a revival meeting. In the community was a lost man who had resisted the efforts of many preachers to win him to Christ. One evening just before the revival service Brother Matthews and the pastor sat in a car with the man. He had sought to reach the lost man by explaining the plan of salvation to him, but to no avail. Finally, Brother Matthews burst into tears. That broke the man’s resistance. He received Christ as his Savior and later that evening made his public profession of faith. Where reason had failed, tears for his soul prevailed. Have you wept over a lost soul lately? My Favorite Illustrations.

II. The Superiority of Christ’s Qualifications (Heb. 5:5-10).
How did Christ compare with the earthly Jewish Old Testament Priest?
He performed all the ministries except one: He did not offer sacrifices for Himself because He was without sin. (Heb. 4:15). Priests by divine appointment had to come from Aaron and the tribe of Levi. However, Christ was of the tribe of Judah. So, Paul proves that Jesus still can hold the position of High Priest legally. He quotes two passages from the Psalms to show that Christ was exalted to the position of Great High Priest by Divine appointment. Here are the proofs:
A. He was divinely chosen by God the Father (Heb. 5:5)
1. God Father called Him. Two calling can be seen here:
a. You are my son (Ps. 2:7). His sonship points to His deity, or being God
b. You are a Priest forever (Heb. 5:6, Ps. 110:4). His priesthood points to His humanity in the sense that priests are taken or chosen from among men (Heb. 5:1)
B. He was divinely appointed to be an eternal High Priest of the Melchizedek order (Heb. 5:6).
1. Melchizedek priesthood is another priestly order greater than that of Aaron and Levi.
2. Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.” He was also of Salem, which means peace (Heb. 7:2). He is further described as someone with no beginning of days nor end of life (Heb. 7:3).
3. Christ is called priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. No other priest is an eternal priest. Paul quoted Ps. 110:4 to show the actual divine appointment of Christ to the priesthood.
4. Notice that Melchizedek is not only a king but also a priest. He was a type of Christ who is also a king and a priest.
5. The priesthood of Melchizedek was superior to Aaron’s in two ways.
a. He was a king and Aaron was not.
b. His priesthood was continual and Aaron’s was not.
6. Christ did not have to be of the tribe of Levi to be a priest. His priesthood was after an older and superior order. Again, it is emphasized that Christ is a priest for ever. No high priest lived forever. They all died because they were all human. Christ, however, is the eternal Great High Priest and His ministry continues up to now.
C. He was a true man with a genuinely human nature “in the days of His flesh”, therefore, able to represent men. (Heb. 5:7a)
1. The reference to the days of his flesh speaks of the earthly life of Jesus.
2. The reference to offering up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, refers to Christ’s Gethsemane experience when He prayed to His Father, just before His crucifixion (Mat. 26:37-38, Lk. 22:44).
3. Notice the terms used to describe Christ’s praying in Gethsemane. The first word prayers come from the Greek “deesis” which means to beg, for something we desire or need. The second word used is supplications and comes from “hiketeria” and speaks approaching for favor. The third term is strong crying. The word strong comes from “ischuros” and means “strong, boisterous, forcible, powerful, valiant.” The word crying comes from “krauge” and means “a sharp cry, scream. ” Then there is the word tears. Tears are the visible manifestation of Christ’s grief and suffering. There in Gethsemane, Jesus Christ, the perfect and sinless Son of God knew that the very next day He would die forsaken of God, with the sins of the world upon Him.
4. Christ’s prayer was directed to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.
a. The “cup” of suffering and the death of the cross did not pass from Jesus, but God gave His Son grace that He “should taste death for every man”
(Heb. 2:9). Jesus did not pray to be saved from dying, but saved “out of death” through the resurrection.
b. He was the actual sacrifice or the sin offering, facing death for sinners. (Heb. 5:7b)
c. He was the final victor over sin and death in His resurrection (Heb. 5:7c).
D. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
1. What Jesus knew by omniscience, He “learned” by experience, thus “being made perfect” – not as God (for as God He was eternally perfect by definition), but as man. The idea here is that Jesus suffered as a human being in order that He might sympathize with and have compassion on other human beings.

Illustration 2/Application: Faithful Dog
How we admire the obedience a dog shows to its master! Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that’s exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn’t move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word.
With tearful eyes, the dog’s owner said, “I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it.” 10,000 Sermon Illustrations

III.The author of eternal Salvation (Heb. 5: 9-10)
A.  As a result of His perfect qualifications, He became the author of eternal salvation, not a mere covering for sin (as did the Aaronic high priest’s sacrifice)
His salvation is eternal because His status as a priest is eternal- after the order of Melchizedek.
1. Jesus’ obedience, suffering and death open the way to eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. The words obey him in no way implies a works salvation. The word obey comes from the Greek “hupakouo” and means “to hear under (as a subordinate), to listen attentively; by implication to heed or conform to a command or authority.” The idea is that our Lord’s salvation is available unto all who will hear and call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
2. The word perfect has the meaning of completion or fulness. At Gethsemane and Calvary, Jesus experienced the victories of obedience, finally arriving at the peak of completion of His sacrificial death for mankind. Having given His life on the cross, He became the author of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. When Jesus sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven (1:3). He declared Himself to be the source of eternal salvation, having learned obedience and having made perfect.
3. The high priest in the Levitical dispensation was never perfect, nor was he the author of eternal salvation. It is obvious that the priesthood of Jesus is infinitely higher and better
4. As prophesied in Psa. 110:4, the Messiah would be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”. Thus, His priesthood would be different from the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood. Not only it is different but more superior which would convince the Jewish people not to forsake Christ.

IV. Conclusion:
Christ was divinely appointed by God the Father. By Christ’s obedience to the God the Father, dying in the cross for our sins, He became the author of eternal salvation something the Levitical priesthood cannot do. You want to get saved and go to heaven? Then repent from your sins and receive Him as your personal Saviour

Page separation