Hebrews 5/June 17
“…having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:9)
With the primary target of this book being the Jews, the author, unnamed but considered by many as being Paul, seizes upon a theme that was familiar to the Hebrew race- that of the high priest.
The first priest was the brother of Moses, Aaron, whom God selected and separated for service. In Exodus 28(:1) God commands Moses to separate Aaron and his sons to become ministers for him and intercessors for the people before God. The priests presented the offerings of the people to God asking for the forgiveness of their sins. The role of the priests, therefore, was to stand between the Jews and God and make a bridge for them unto Him.
The author of Hebrews is seeking to establish that this intercessory role was what Jesus performed, but not only in a temporary fashion but for eternity.
Beginning in the third chapter, it starts with, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;”. (3:1) and then finishes the fourth chapter with these thoughts, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (4:14-16). The author is very obvious in wanting his Hebrew readers to see the connection of Christ with the Old Testament work of God.
In chapter five then the writer is wanting to establish the superiority of Christ in the role of high priest by way of His sinless perfection. We read, “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.”. (5:1-3)
Earthly priests from the lineage of Aaron, brother of Moses, were not only offering sacrifices for the sins of the people but for themselves as well since they too were beset by sin. The fourth chapter closes out with the fact that Jesus never sinned. Never. This is what makes Him able to be the sacrifice for our sins. In the first letter of Peter, he wrote, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;” (I Peter 2:21,22). Christ fulfilled what was spoken of Him by the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (53:9); this was required for the Savior- sinless perfection in the flesh! By means of the flesh, not with some supernatural intercession; Christ lived out life in the flesh just as you and me. In Hebrews 5 we read, “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” (5:7-10) The author says, “in the days of His flesh” that He learned obedience. Could Jesus have sinned? Absolutely!, and this is why the devil tempted Him so vigorously, not only in what we read in Luke 4, but v13 says that satan continually looked for opportune times to try and cause our Savior to stumble.
Jesus learned how to resist the devil by use of the power of the Holy Spirit and the desire more than anything to please His Father. In Hebrews 12 we learn that for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross (12:2)- and here is where we fail to be like Christ- we fail to see heaven and our eternal salvation being of such great importance that we will lay aside sin and anything that hinders us from living life in absolute obedience to God. Eternal life is not as important to us as it was to Jesus. He could have failed and been just like us, but this Son of God was determined to please God above anything else. And this same Jesus will come to His beloved in times of temptation to aid us (2:18) and keep us from sinning… if we want to not sin. Most of the time, however, we are comfortable to sin. That is the sin of sin.