About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The High Priest (ch. 4:14-5:10)
again in verse 14 the writer admonishes his readers ďto hold firmly to
the faith they profess.Ē Words
donít necessarily mean a lot at times. We
can profess faith, but do we act out our faith?
We say that we trust Jesus, but do our actions show this trust?
Why do we need to hold strongly to our faith?
The answer is that Jesus is our high priest and He has gone
"through the heavens." He
now stands before God on our behalf, interceding for us as high priest.
This can be seen clearly in Romans 8:34 where it says that Jesus
intercedes for us.
here in verse 14 the words "gone through the heavens."
Some translations may have "heaven" singular instead of
"heavens" plural. The
Greek has the plural "heavens."
To me, this suggests the ascension of Jesus into heaven to sit at
God's right hand of authority. The
author seems to be saying that in order for Jesus to get back to heaven He
had to pass through the heavens. Whether
this is symbolic language or not is debatable.
see again in verse 14 that the author is encouraging these people to hold
on to their faith, as if it were possible to lose it.
As I've been saying throughout this commentary, this is yet another
verse that tells me that the recipients of this letter were Jewish
believers and not Jewish non-believers as some suggest.
verse 15 we see that Jesus was tempted in every way that we can possibly
be tempted. There is no
temptation that He has not been tempted with.
This may be hard to picture, but Jesus was tempted in every way,
yes, the Son of God was tempted into a life of immorality.
He was tempted to cheat and to lie.
He was tempted to kill and to steal, yet He did not give into any
these temptations and sin. This
means that even though He is God, He understands with all certainty our
temptations that come across our paths on a daily basis.
"Jesus can sympathize with us," as the writer says.
The Greek word translated as "sympathize" means "to
suffer with," as in, "to suffer with another."
Concerning Jesus' temptations and His pre-ministry life we just do not know much about His life. Think about this. While being a teenage boy, and, if he was tempted like any other teenage boy, He would have struggled with lustful feelings over the girls in his town. You may not want to view Jesus with such temptations, but this verse says He did. Of course, He did not yield to them. I think, and it's only speculation, the Bible is silent on Jesus humanness during His pre-ministry years because we would put too much emphasis on His humanity and neglect His divinity
verse 16 the writer tells us to "approach the throne of grace with
important point to note here is that the confidence that we have should
not be based in our own human effort.
Such confidence has no place in our attempt to come to the throne
of God. Our confidence is in
Jesus and what He has done on our behalf.
This is the only way in which we can stand before the God of this
universe. This will always be
the only way in which we will ever be allowed to stand before God, both
now and forever into eternity. It
is a privilege to be able to stand in a spiritual sense now, and in
reality later, before our God.
in our time of need, can be assured that our God will hear us as we stand
before Him. We can be
confident of this fact. We
donít have to shrink back and not ask for His help and grace when we
need it. He is there for us.
author says in verse 16 that we can receive both mercy and grace.
In this instance mercy means God can help us even though we don't
deserve the help. Grace, in
this verse, does not mean unmerited favour, as the word "mercy"
means. As in many cases in the
Bible, grace here means God's divine ability given to us to overcome the
temptations we are faced with.
5, verses 1 through 3 continues on to explain that "every high priest
is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters
related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins."
This is the duty of a high priest as seen in Old Testament days.
Although these high priests came from a certain Jewish tribe and a
certain Jewish family, they were all regular men, like you and I.
Because of this these priests can "deal gently with those who
are ignorant and are going astray."
The word "ignorant" in this verse refers to being
uneducated in the ways of God. The
high priest is subject to the same short comings of the people they
represent before God. Therefore,
when it comes to sacrifices, he is sacrificing for his own sins as well as
the sins of the people.
need to make further comment on the word "ignorant" in verse 2.
We should understand that all of the Old Testament sacrifices were
offered for sings of ignorance. That
is to say, sins that you commit that you do not know that you are
committing them. The verses to
point that out are these; Leviticus 4:2, 22, 27, 5:15 to 18, 22:14, and
Numbers 15:22 to 31. The
following passages are those passages that state there is no sacrifice for
willful sins. That is to say,
sins you know that you commit. They
are; Deuteronomy 1:43, 17:12 and 13, 18:20, and Psalm 51.
4 says that the job of being a high priest is a calling.
One is called of God. He
does not choose to be a high priest. This
calling is a serious calling, one that is not taken lightly.
In the same way the author says in verse 5, "Christ did not
take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest."
God called Jesus to be a high priest, therefore, the writer quotes,
"You are a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."
Melchizedek is only found in two passages of the Old Testament.
They are in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110.
The name Melchizedek means "King of righteousness."
He was a Canaanite king; the King of Salem, that later became
author relates Jesus to Melchizedek in the since that Jesus will be a high
priest forever. If forever
means forever, then throughout eternity Jesus will be our high priest,
representing us to God. I
donít fully understand why we would need a high priest in eternity, but
the fact remains that this calling is an eternal calling.
For all eternity we will see Jesus as high priest and we will be
ever reminded of the great sacrifice He made for us.
author also quotes Psalm 2:7 in verse 6 that says that "You are my
son, today I have become your father."
I won't get into the context of this Psalm here.
You can read that in my commentary on Psalm 2.
The point to be made here is that the eternal high priest that
Jesus is, is also the very Son of God.
7 is interesting. It tells us
that "While on earth, Jesus offered up prayers and petitions with
loud cries and tearsÖ" There
is a difference between general prayers and petitions, or supplications as
some translate it. Petitions
are more need based. You are
petitioning God for something that you need, or something that someone
else needs. The actual Greek
word used in Hebrews 5:7 has connections with the Greek word that would be
used to "hold out an olive branch," thus,
we get the phrase "holding out an olive branch" when attempting
to deal with someone, to make peace with someone in order to receive
something from that person.
see Jesus pictured here with much emotion.
He cries out with loud cries and tears.
The writer says that He was crying out to the one who could save
Him from death. Well, in one
sense of the word Jesus did not get saved from death.
He suffered death in all of its aspects, yet, He did not stay dead,
and therefore God heard His prayer.
offered up prayers and petitions, plural.
That is to say that He made more than one prayer and petition.
Some people suggest that prayers specifically the author has in
mind here are found in John 17 - Jesus' prayer for unity, and, His prayer
in the Garden
the words "reverent submission" in verse 8.
The word "reverent" is actually one of the two Greek
words that are translated as "fear" in other places in the New
8 says, "Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered."
Does this mean that Jesus was disobedient?
I donít think so, but we do know that He was tempted to be
through His sufferings, He learned what it meant to obey.
He was tempted to disobey during times of sufferings, and take the
easy road, but He didnít. Thus
He learned the lesson of obedience.
it comes to suffering, whether with Jesus or with us, it increases our
trust in our God, and suffering did this for Jesus as it does for us.
In today's modern prosperity gospel world, we think we should not
suffer, and if we do, we must be out of God's will.
This is simply unbiblical. If
it were Biblical, then the Apostle Paul was out of the will of God, and I
certainly don't believe that.
in chapter 2:10 we talked about Jesus being made perfect, meaning, being
made complete. It was not that
Jesus wasn't perfect or complete. It
was that His sufferings completed His mission on earth.
When Jesus said "It is finished" on the cross, He was
made perfect. That is to say,
He and His earthy ministry was complete.
verse 9 the author says that because of Jesus' perfection, His complete
trust in His Father, He became the source of eternal salvation.
In short, Jesus' obedience, that was perfected or complete, is the
source of our salvation.
9 says that eternal salvation is given to all who obey Him.
What obedience is required by this verse? It
is the obedience of faith that leads to salvation.
It is responding to Godís command for us to trust Him for all
things, including our salvation. This
is the obedience required here. Any
subsequent obedience, after the first obedience of faith for salvation,
secondary obedience of faith is also very important.
Obedience is one mark of a mature Christian.
10 closes this section. It
speaks to Jesus, being in the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus was not a high priest in the order of Aaron and the priests
after him. Melchizedek lived long
before the Law of Moses was given. Little
is said about him in the Bible, but he does appear to be a very special
priest that had nothing to do with the Law of Moses.
In fact, he was not from the family of Abraham.
He was not a Jew. Jews
did not exist in his day. He
was a Canaanite priest. He was
a priest for all men, you might say, not just for the Jews.
Jesus also, was and is a high priest, not just for the Jews, but
for all peoples of the world.