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Hebrews 5:1-10

Posted by Matt Postiff December 28, 2010 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts 

Jesus was introduced by the title "Great High Priest" in Hebrews 4:14. Chapter 5 begins to explain His priesthood, a topic which will take up the majority of the following several chapters in Hebrews. In the first 10 verses of the chapter, two main points of comparison are made between the Aaronic priesthood and the priesthood of Christ.

The two points of comparison are introduced with Aaron. First, Aaron was a man. He had solidarity with man and could have compassion on people who often are ignorant and go astray from God. Second, Aaron was called by God to be priest. He did not take that honor to himself.

Similarly, Jesus was (and is) a man. He shares with man the part of human nature that is without sin and can sympathize with our weaknesses (4:15). He earnestly prayed in time of trial, he learned obedience through suffering, and he thus became a perfect high priest for mankind. That is, not that He had sin that needed to be purged, but that He is proven to be a complete and perfect human high priest. Jesus was also called by God to be priest, as the Melchizedek quotation demonstrates in verses 6 and 10. Christ did not take the honor or glory of priesthood to Himself, but was appointed by God to that task.

The author of Hebrews demonstrates the two principles in the OT texts and shows how they apply to Jesus in the present era. Jesus fulfilled both of these qualifications for priesthood. To a Jewish believer or "almost" believer, this would be strong assurance that God has indeed prepared a new priesthood which is a new way to God. The old priesthood has been superseded by the fulfillment of the promised Melchizedekian priest. On the basis of Hebrews 5, we can be sure that Jesus is the legitimate God-appointed high priest taken from among men to bring man to God.

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