Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


Jesus, A Priest Forever


Hebrews 5:1-10


Introduction:

·         In this chapter the subject of the priestly office of Christ is continued and further illustrated. The Jews regarded the office of high priest as an essential feature in their faith; and it became, therefore, of the highest importance to show that in the Christian system there was a High Priest every way equal to that of the Jews. In his rank; in his character; and in the sacrifice which he offered, he was more than equal to the Jewish high priest, and they who had forsaken Judaism and embraced Christianity had lost nothing in this respect by the change, and had gained much more!

 

I.                    (Hbr 5:1-4) Principles of priesthood under the Law of Moses.

a.      For every high priest taken from among men: God established both the priesthood and the office of high priest in the days of Moses

                                                              i.      Remember a priest served as a mediator between God and man

                                                            ii.      The priesthood is a reminder about God’s holiness, and our sinfulness! Our sin puts a barrier between us and God, disturbs our relationship with Him!

                                                          iii.      So, then, the priest existed to open the way for the sinner back to God--so long as he wanted to come back.

b.      The phrase “gifts and sacrifices for sins” reminds us that not every sacrifice was a blood atonement for sin. Many of the ritual sacrifices were gifts to God, expressing thanks and desiring fellowship.

c.       Who can have compassion- the high priest was more than a “butcher” offering animals for sacrifice. He also had compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray

d.      He ministered the atoning sacrifices with a loving heart for the people. In this ideal, the high priest had this compassion because he understood that he himself is also compassed with infirmity- subject to weakness.

                                                              i.      V. 3- God made specific commands to help the high priest serve knowing that he was also subject to weakness. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest had to sacrifice for himself first,

                                                            ii.      In the breastplate of the high priest were set twelve stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, and on the shoulder straps were stones engraved with the names of the tribes. In this, the people of Israel were always on the heart and on the shoulders of the high priest (Exodus 28:4-30). The intention was to stir the compassion of the high priest.

                                                          iii.      Application: we must minister and serve with compassion. We recognize that people have to be taught, and need time to grow in Christ

e.      The High Priest was taken from the community of God’s people but was not chosen by God’s people. He was appointed by God for His people. The principle is that no man takes this honor to himself. The office of high priest was nothing to aspire to or campaign for. It was given by right of birth and therefore chosen by God. It was an honor no man could take to himself.

f.        Every priest came from the Levites, and more specifically the family of Aaron.

g.      They were chosen by God, not elected by man

                                                              i.      There are dreadful cases where men who were not priests presumed to act as priests. These include:

1.      · Korah, who was swallowed up in a divine earthquake (Numbers 16).

2.      · King Saul, who was rejected from his place as king over Israel (1 Samuel 13:11-14).

3.      · Uzziah, who was struck with leprosy in the temple itself (2 Chronicles 26:16).

h.      In Judges 17, we read about a mixed-up fellow named Micah, who "had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest" (Judges 17:5).

i.        I Kings 12:28, we read that wicked King Jeroboam "made two calves of gold, and said‚ĶBehold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

j.        King Jeroboam started his own religion, "and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi" (I Kings 12:31).

k.       But all of this was in violation of God's Word.  Just as much of what is going on today in churches is in violation of God's Word.

l.        There are no priests today- God provides Jesus as a mediator and priest, and we must use the priest God provides.

II.                  (5-6) Jesus is qualified to be our High Priest.

a.      Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest: Jesus did not make Himself High Priest. Instead, just as much as Jesus was declared to be the Son (in Psalm 2:7), He was also declared to be a priest forever (in Psalm 110:4).

b.      It is easy to see why the priesthood of Jesus was difficult for early Jewish Christians to grasp. Jesus was not from the lineage of Aaron. Jesus neither claimed nor practiced special ministry in the temple. He confronted the religious structure instead of joining it. In Jesus’ day, the priesthood became a corrupt institution. The office was gained through intrigue and politicking among corrupt leaders.

c.       Today I have begotten You: This refers to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. At that time He fully assumed His role as our great High Priest, having been perfected (Hebrews 5:9).

d.      Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated that He was not a priest like Aaron, who had to atone for his own sin first

e.      A priest forever: This is an important contrast. Jesus’ priesthood (like Melchizedek’s) is unending, but no High Priest descended from Aaron ever had a forever priesthood.

f.        Hebrews 7 will more fully develop the theme of Jesus as a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

III.                The Compassion of our High Priest- v. 7-10

a.      When He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears: The agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemane (Matthew 26:36-39, Luke 22:44) proved He struggled with the difficulty of obedience, yet He obeyed perfectly.

b.      The rabbis had a saying: "There are three kinds of prayers, each loftier than the preceding--prayer, crying and tears. Prayer is made in silence; crying with raised voice; but tears overcome all things." Jesus knew even the desperate prayer of tears.

c.       Christ’s prayer was heard, and so will ours, because He prayed for the Father’s will to be done! The key is that He prayed in such a way that He would accept God’s will.

d.      V. 8- What a mystery! Philippians 2:8. Jesus did not learn how to obey; He learned what is involved in obedience.

e.       “Obedience is a trade to which a man must be apprenticed until he has learned it, for it is not to be known in any other way. Even our blessed Lord could not have fully learned obedience by the observation in others of such an obedience as he had personally to render, for there was no one from whom he could thus learn.” (Spurgeon)

f.        He learned obedience by things which He suffered: Suffering was used to teach Jesus. If suffering was good enough to teach the Son of God, we must never despise it as a tool of instruction in our life.

g.      Suffering can be a good teacher- I Thess 3:3, Rom. 8:17-18, 35-37

h.      V. 9- translated "perfect" so long as we remember what the Greek meant by that perfection. To him a thing was teleios (Greek #5046) if it perfectly carried out the purpose for which it was designed. When he used the word he was not thinking in terms of abstract and metaphysical perfection; he was thinking in terms of function. What the writer to the Hebrews is saying is that all the experiences of suffering through which Jesus passed perfectly fitted him to become the Saviour of men.

i.        Some don’t want Jesus to be the author of their salvation. They want to write their own book of salvation – but God won’t read it. Only Jesus can author your eternal salvation.

j.        Notice Christ authored a salvation that lasts forever! We are secured in Him!

Conclusion:

·         The emphasis is repeated. Jesus is a High Priest, who was called by God (not by personal ambition), according to the order of Melchizedek.

·         Unlike the Aaronic priesthood, the order of Melchisedec (5:7, 10) is not an order with a hereditary succession (7:3).  Therefore no one can be consecrated in it except by God Himself.

·         Furthermore, no one else before Christ belonged to it, and no one else after Christ (despite what the Mormons teach).

·         V. 11- Of whom we have many things to say: The much to say comes later in Hebrews 7.