In this study we are going to take a look at Jesus’ role as our Great High Priest talked about in Hebrews chapter 4 and 5.
JESUS, OUR COMPASSIONATE HIGH PRIEST…
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)
As Christians, our “confession” is that Jesus died for our sins. The writer here is saying that we should truly believe or “hold fast” to this claim because the One we have put or faith in has come from the heavens and He is worthy, willing and able to save us.
The title used here: ‘Jesus the Son of God’ refers to His human nature (JESUS) as well as His title as God (THE SON OF GOD). Jesus, the Man and Jesus, the God; this is a theme throughout these verses as you’ll see starting with the next verse.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
The Plan of Salvation called for God to come in the flesh to be a sacrifice for our sins. To do this Jesus took on an additional nature — a Human nature — while He still kept His Godly nature. This is why we can see Jesus performing miracles and at the same time tempted and suffering. We can see Him die and be raised again because there are two natures at work. A difficult idea for us to understand.
Because of His Human nature Jesus was tempted continually and suffered greatly (Read Isaiah 53 for an insight into this). This is why we can go to Him when we are tempted and when we are suffering. He will not only hear our cries – He will understand them too. That’s why in time of need we can go to Him – because He’s been where we are and has overcome it. Our strength is in Jesus! .
QUALIFICATIONS OF A HIGH PRIEST…
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.” (Hebrews 5:1-4)
The theme here switches to the earthly high priests (notice it says, “from among men”). The earthly high priest was appointed by God and could relate to the people he represented because he was tempted like they were. So he made sacrifices for their sins as well as his own (Once a year on the Day of Atonement. See Leviticus 16).
Now the difference here is that the earthly high priest sinned. Jesus did not yet He died because of sin (yours and mine not His. Isaiah 53 is again helpful in understanding this). Its like the owner of a railroad buying a ticket – he doesn’t need one. So he has a ticket he can give away to someone who can’t afford to buy his or her own. Because Jesus died even though He didn’t have to, He has a “free ticket” that we can use to pay for our sins.
A PRIEST OF A HIGHER CALLING…
“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’” (Hebrews 5:5)
The earthly high priest were appointed by God. They didn’t name themselves to the position. The same is true with Christ. It was God the Father who appointed Jesus as the heavenly High Priest.
God the Father and Jesus are equal and along with the Holy Spirit (who is equal to them both) make up the Trinity (One God existing in three forms. Romans 1:8-9; Matthew 28:19). So this verse is not saying that the Father is greater than the Son because Jesus Himself said that He and the Father are one (John 5:17-23, John 14:11). Jesus willingly subjects Himself to the Fathers will.
How can we explain this? Let’s say you have a mother and a father. The mother says to the father, “Put the baby to bed,” now the mother and father are equal in their relationship and the father doesn’t have to put the baby to bed but he does out of love for his wife and to accomplish a goal (the goal is putting the baby to bed). Same thing with God the Father and God the Son. Both are equal but the Son submits willingly, out of love, to accomplish the goal (the goal in this case paying for our sins).
“And He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek’” (Hebrews 5:6)
To be an earthly high priest you needed to be born from the tribe of Levi. But Jesus was born from the tribe of Juda so He can’t be a Priest, right? No. what the writer just got done saying here was that there is a higher order of priesthood, the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7) And Jesus is from a higher order than the earthly priesthood.
“Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,” (Hebrews 5:7)
Are you broken, beat up, suffering, crying Bring those problems to Jesus because He understands them. He went through them. And He wants to help you through them.
Jesus prayed to the Father (again we are seeing Jesus’ Human nature) and ask to be saved from death. Which He was. Three days after He was crucified He rose again. Through Jesus you too will overcome death!
“Godly fear’ doesn’t mean “scared” it means “respect”. It means realizing that only God can save someone from death — a fact that demands respect.
“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
“He learned obedience”. In other words even though Jesus is God the Son, He submitted Himself to His Fathers will, and became obedient to Him. This obedience was revealed by the fact He suffered so much for us.
“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
“Having been perfected”. How could Jesus have been perfected? What that means is that Jesus proved He was perfect by the fact that He was tempted yet never sinned (From verses 4:15-16). Because of this, He was worthy to take our place in judgement.
As you can see, paying for our sins involved a lot more than we realized. God Himself took on an additional nature so He could suffer and be tempted. He did this to prove He was perfect. Once this was proven He was beaten to the point that you couldn’t even tell that He was a man, raised up on a cross and was killed. He was judged so that you wouldn’t have to be.