5:1-10

 

Hebrews 5:1-10

 

We have seen that the central theme of Hebrews is "the high priesthood of Jesus Christ"...for example--

--in chapter 1 Jesus is portrayed as fulfilling the priestly function of making "purification of sins"...

--in chapter 2 Jesus is called "a merciful and faithful high priest"

--in chapter 3 He is called "the Apostle and High priest of our confession"...

--in chapter 4 He is described as "a great high priest"

--and chapters 5-9, at which we'll begin looking today, focus almost exclusively on the high priesthood of Jesus...

 

In first part of Hebrews 5 the writer lists the basic qualifications of a Jewish high priest and then shows how Jesus exceeds in every way these qualifications.

 

I want to challenge you to read Hebrews 5:1-10 in a rather unusual way.  Instead of reading the verses in chronological order, read a statement about the Jewish high priest and then read the parallel statement about Jesus.

·         Verse 1 – Verses 5-6

·         Verse 2 – Verses 7-8

·         Verse 3 – Verses 9-10

 

The thrust of this paragraph is that Jesus is superior in every way to any earthly high priest...want you to see from these verses how Jesus is superior and what that means to our lives today...

 

I.    Jesus is superior in His calling

1.   First thing this passage says about earthly high priests is that they are "taken from among men" and "appointed on behalf of men"...now, who does the appointing?...even though the prospective priest was expected to acknowledge God's call on his life to the priesthood, the confirmation of that call and the appointment process came through people...

2.   The process is not unlike what I went through when decided to become a vocational minister...sensed God's calling to this vocation...shared that with my church family...they formed an ordaining council to examine me and determine whether or not I should be set aside for vocational ministry...the call was from God but the confirmation and setting aside came from people... was basically how person entered priesthood in first century world...

3    .But verses 5-6 point out that Jesus did not go through a process like that...

      --He was not taken from among men...instead He is the Son of God, the only begotten of    the father...

      --nor was he appointed by men...instead, He was appointed by God who said of the Son, "Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."...

      We'll explore Melchizedek in detail when we get to chapter 7...but point want make now is that Jesus is a superior priest because His calling is superior...while there is a human element in the calling of all other priests, Jesus was made a priest by God alone...

4.   What does that mean to us today?...it means we can have utter, complete confidence in Him...while human spiritual leaders may stumble and fall, Jesus is consistent...He will never fail us...never disappoint us...He is absolutely, 100% trustworthy ...I've met many people have become disillusioned and even bitter because they placed too much confidence in a some person who has disappointed them...this passage should remind us that our trust should never be in a person but in Jesus who has the superior calling from God...

 

II.  Jesus is superior in His caring

1    .Since it was the job of priests in Judaism to stand between God and people, for a priest to function well had to have a certain level of understanding and compassion for people...that's thrust of v.2 which speaks of the high priest dealing "gently with the ignorant and misguided"...and the reason he can do that according to verse 2 is because "he himself also is beset with weakness"...

2.   On surface would think that would give him an edge over Jesus who never sinned...think he would be more understanding and compassionate than Jesus because he would know exactly what it means to stumble and fall...

3.   Sounds good in theory, but in practice not the way it generally works...the fact that we have sinned does not make us more understanding of others who sin...one writer put it this way:  "You would think that one sinner would have compassion for another sinner, but this is not always the case.  Sin makes a person selfish.  Sin can blind us to the hurts of others.  Sin can harden our hearts and make us judgmental instead of sympathetic ... It is the spiritually minded person with a clean heart who sympathizes with a sinner and seeks to help him.  Because we are so sinful, we have a hard time helping other sinners; but Jesus is perfect.  He is able to meet our needs after we sin." [Wiersbe, p.53]

4.   And in vv.7-8 the writer reminds us of the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene and the obedience of Jesus which led Him to the cross...even though Jesus never sinned, He has been to our world, walked in our shoes, and understands what we experience in life...and precisely because He walked in our world without sinning He is superior to any earthly priest in how He cares for us...

5.   What does that mean to us?  In a word, everything! 

--When you have nowhere else to turn, can always turn to Jesus.

--When there is no-one else who will listen, His ear is always turned to us.

--When you feel no-one in all the world understands you, He understands inside and out.

--When you fell totally alone, He is always with you.

6.   The old song says it so well:  "No-one ever cared for me like Jesus, There's no other friend so kind as He; No one else could take the sin and darkness from me.  Oh, how much He cared for me."

7.   Jesus is superior to any earthly priest in His caring....

 

III.  Jesus is superior in His cleansing

1.   Verse 3 points out that the primary function of the high priest was to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people...the verse points out the high priest "is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins..."...as we saw in our study of Hebrews 4:14-16, once a year on the Day of Atonement high priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple...after offering a sacrifice for his own sin, would offer sacrifice for sins of the people...each year, on that particular day, he would repeat that process for the cleansing of the people's sins...

2.   However, the cleansing of sin offered by Jesus is far superior to that...

--as opposed to entering God's presence only once a year, Jesus is constantly at right hand of the Father making intercession for us...

--as opposed to bringing a sacrifice for sin, Jesus Himself became the sacrifice for our sins...

--as opposed to providing only a temporary respite from our sin problem, v.9 points out that the sacrifice of Jesus gives us "eternal salvation"...

3.   What relief and joy that should bring to our lives...the greatest single need any of have is the need for forgiveness...and that need is perfectly met by Jesus...a woman named Ruth Calkin wrote the following beautiful prayer:

      "Lord, there are countless things in my life that are inexcusable.  There are things unaccountable and things unexplainable.  There are things irrefutable and things irresponsible.  But it comes to me with unutterable relief that because of your amazing love, nothing in my life is unforgivable." [Brian's Lines, Vol.12,No.4,P.22]

4.   And that's because Jesus is superior in the cleansing He offers us...

 

                                           CONCLUSION

 

1.   Jesus Christ is our perfect high priest...He is superior in His--

--calling (He is the Son of God)

--caring (He came to our world, experience life as we experience it, yet without sin)

--cleansing (He offers forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation)

 

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