5 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him 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,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Apostasy
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5 Commentary
by Hank Workman
A high priest according to the Law of Moses specific role was to bring the gifts and sacrifices before God for an individual’s and the nation’s sin. This role was not something he decided for himself but was called by God, just like Aaron originally was. He was the highest of the order of priests. He was called to operate in compassion and hold a loving heart toward the people. Interestingly, on the Day of Atonement, he first had to sacrifice for himself before he did others showing he himself was subject to weakness as well. Through all of this, no one was to approach God except the appointed priest to do so.
These concepts, many times we don’t understand, speak to the depth of Jesus Himself being our High Priest. He goes before God with our sin, stands before Him interceding on behalf of our own sin. He is the mediator between us and God over and over again. And Jesus full of compassion brings our needs and hurts before the Father because he had been fully human and God at the same time. He knew firsthand the difficulty we face. Learning obedience through the very things He suffered, God enthroned Him to His position due to his obedience and humility; His sacrifice.
What a beautiful reminder we have Jesus, our own High Priest, who has stood before the Father, is at His Right Hand, and offers up pleas for us. He understands our weaknesses and compassionately intercedes on our behalf over and over. It is His sacrifice, the one time all time sacrifice, that brings us in good standing with the Father. Praise God and truly, Thank You, Jesus.
Hebrews 5 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
First, let’s just point out that this chapter is deep!
Here in Hebrews 5, we see two distinctive attributes of Christ’s character.
- It was by humility He was given (by God) the title of High Priest
- It was through suffering He learned obedience
We live in a world of self-made, self-appointing peacocks. Strutting around with all their colorful feathers on display, they elevate themselves with a significant and authoritative title. They want everyone to know and see their power. This is happening in the church with both lay people as well as leaders.
No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, the Messiah did not exalt Himself to become a high priest, but the One who said to Him, You are My Son; today I have become Your Father, 6 also said in another passage, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.Hebrews 5:4-6 HCSB
Jesus could have claimed this title on His own through His own divinity. In other words, He could have stepped down onto Earth to claim His title of Messiah and high priest while demonstrating this fact with His unquenchable power. But this verse is not referencing His deity. We already know He is God’s Son through the Trinity. This passage is affirming his title as high priest because of His calling fulfilled through His obedience. When Aaron was ordained as high priest, he offered animal sacrifices to God. When Jesus was ordained as high priest, He offered Himself to God. Jesus became both the high priest as well as the slain Lamb of God by humbling Himself sacrificially. His glorification came through humility.
Amazingly, the author of Hebrews goes on to describe this kind of radical obedience as a learned process.
During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. 8 Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.Hebrews 5:7-8 HCSB
What does this mean? It is true that as the Son of God there was nothing Jesus needed to learn. However, His experiences in the human flesh prepared Him for the final act of atonement where He would willingly give Himself up for the sins of humanity. We’ve heard this phrase so much we tend to take it lightly. None of us can know the type of obedience necessary to willingly have the sins of the world laid upon us while also being separated from our Father in Heaven. Jesus always knew how to obey, but His life of suffering allowed Him to understand the process involved in radical obedience to the Father while He identified Himself with us.
This is an incredibly convicting passage that requires us to dig deep into our souls and evaluate our own view of suffering and obedience. Throughout His life, Jesus modeled the idea that faith, obedience, and glorification stand on the other side of suffering. It’s not a pleasant thought to our flesh or a popular worldview today. However, this is exactly the point that the author of Hebrews is making. We can find rest for our weary souls in the High Priest Jesus Christ. He has been through the physical pain and suffering, the temptation from the enemy, and the rejection of friends and family. He is encouraging us to lean into the Father just as He did in His darkest hour. This is how we fight our battles!