The Superior Priesthood of Yeshua
Part 2: Hebrews 5:1-10
As we transition to Chapter 5 of the book of Hebrews, looking at the superiority of the priesthood of Yeshua, in 5:1-4, the writer lays out what would be the general qualifications of the High Priest.
The High Priest is appointed to represent men in things pertaining to God, that is the presentation of gifts and sacrifices for sins. To qualify for the High Priesthood in Israel, one had to be a man.
The High Priest was to be a man of compassion, especially for those who are ignorant and going astray—the reason being that he too was prone to weakness and subject to failure.
Because of the reality of his own sinfulness, the High Priest was not only required to make offerings for the sins of the people, he was also required to make offerings for his own sins.
Finally, a man could attain the high priesthood only by divine appointment. Only those whom God chose served in this office. These people were primarily Aaron and his descendants. Eventually, the office of the High Priest became a lucrative political appointment and was corrupted.
Does Yeshua (Jesus) qualify to be a High Priest? This is where we see the writer of Hebrews beginning to show the superiority of Yeshua’s priesthood. We are reminded that the High Priest was to be a man set apart to minister on behalf of men in things relating to God. He was to present his brethren’s gifts and sacrifices for sins and also sacrifices for his own sins. He was to be a man of compassion as he could sympathize with his brethren’s weaknesses. But with Yeshua, note the distinction: while He was fully man, on the cross our Lord presented the sacrifice for the sins of the people, once for all. In heaven now, He offers our gifts of worship and praise to God. Since He is without sin, there was no need for Him to sacrifice for Himself. He was in perfect fellowship with the Father and needed no cleansing. Though He was without sin, He still could have superior compassion for His brethren.
In Hebrews 5:5-6, we see the divine appointment of His priesthood by God. The name Christ was not Yeshua’s last name but rather His title, Messiah or Anointed One, emphasizing His humility and calling from God. Quoting Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 110:4, the writer of Hebrews observes that the One who declared Yeshua to be the King-Son referred to in Psalm 2, declared Him also to be a Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. In combining the text of Psalm 2:7, which had been quoted before in Hebrews 1:5, and the text of Psalm 110:4, the writer joined the two great truths about the Messiah which are at the heart of this epistle. He is indeed the Messiah King and Our Great High Priest.
In Hebrews 5:7-10 the writer reaffirms that Yeshua qualifies to be the High Priest. “In the days of His flesh,” when He was here on earth in human condition, He found Himself totally dependent on the Father, having “offered up prayers and supplications,” accompanied by “strong crying and tears, to the One who was able to save Him from death.”
He was heard, the writer says, because of His godly fear. Though He was not saved from death He learned obedience through His suffering. It is through His suffering, death on the cross, and offering for sins that He became perfected and the author of eternal salvation to those who appropriate His death for themselves.
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