More than Qualified (Hebrews 5:1-10)

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In Hebrews 4 the writer has stated that Jesus is the High Priest who can sympathise with those whom He represents. Therefore, Christians need not be hesitant to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and to find grace in our time of need (4:16). We are to come boldly to Him with the assurance that He cares. We are to come boldly to Him with the assurance that He will make us right with God. But we will only “come boldly” if we are convinced that we need a High Priest and if we are then convinced that Jesus qualifies as High Priest. This is the burden of the writer from chapter five through chapter ten.

The writer assumed that his readers would understand their need for a High Priest, for, after all, they were Hebrews. In fact, it was because of their understanding of the Jewish old covenant that they were now in a bit of a muddle concerning the new covenant. They knew they needed a High Priest, and they knew that the new covenant was predicated upon Jesus being the High Priest, but their concern was, does Jesus actually qualify as High Priest? The writer informs them in 5:1-10 that Jesus Christ in fact more than qualifies.

We will see this under three headings: His solidarity with sinners, His sympathy for sinners and His selection for sinners

Ancient Irrelevance or a Postmodern Essential?

This issue of a High Priest may seem very far removed from the world in which you and I live. Clearly, for those with a postmodern worldview, to even talk of a High Priest seems ridiculous. Nevertheless, this truth is absolutely essential if any of us will be saved from our sins and from the eternal judgement which we deserve.

To some degree, in some way, people are looking for salvation from the mess of both their own lives and from the mess of a sinful world. And make no mistake, there are plenty of self-confessed saviours offering their services and their solution. But before embracing them you had better make sure they can deliver.

Anyone claiming to be a saviour had better be qualified. Unfortunately, the world is filled with gullible people. The writer to the Hebrews assumed that his audience was not. That is why he writes this chapter. They were apparently ignorant about some things, but they were not gullible. You can be neither if you will be saved from your sins.

It is ironic how modern man mocks the supposed naivety of previous generations. The chronological snobbery is almost palpable. We tend to see ancient cultures as superstitious while we pride ourselves that we will only be convinced of a truth claim by the hard and provable facts. But if you consider this epistle to the Hebrews then such caricatures are nonsensical.

You see, the writer understood that he was writing to intelligent people. He understood that, to a large degree, they did understand the grand metanarrative of Scripture. They at least understood the Old Testament structure of acceptable worship and grasped the importance of the ministry of the high priest. They well understood the issues related to the Day of Atonement as prescribed in Leviticus 16. And it was because of this understanding that they were struggling with the temptation to turn away from Christ and the new covenant and to turn back to the temple rituals of the old covenant. They were being challenged by a huge religio-cultural shift. In a word, they were doubting their salvation. Specifically, they were doubting whether it was true that Jesus saves. They needed some facts to aid their assurance. And I maintain that our age is no different. If we will have assurance of our salvation then we need to be sure that our Saviour can indeed save. He must be qualified to do so. And thank God that Jesus Christ is more than qualified to do so.

Contemporary Dark Age

Now, I want to park here for a moment before proceeding. We do not live in an enlightened age. In fact, we live in what I am persuaded one day in the future will be dubbed another “Dark Age.” By and large, when it comes to the deep and real issues of life, the majority of people are superficial and irrational. They are superficial about the root cause of the world’s miseries and are irrational when it comes to addressing them. For the most part, the average person in the wider culture gives no serious thought to the need for divine forgiveness. Most people do not take God seriously. And perhaps the “climate change” we are experiencing in the world is a means that God is using to get people’s attention. Most of the talk about “global warming” is nonsense; most is superficial and irrational. What the world needs to see in the global climactic conditions is a global warning. There is a God, and He is holy, and He punishes sin and sinners. Contrary to superficial theology, God is against people—He is against those who stand against Him. But equally, He is for them in the sense that He is willing to change them so that they stand right with Him. The church must not shy away from this message.

I say all of this to drive home the point that the ancient recipients of this letter were far wiser than most in our day because, even though they were confused about salvation, they were not confused about their need to be saved. Postmodern sinners need the same realisation. And so, like the writer to the Hebrews, we need to help them to see their need and then to point them to the one who is more than qualified to meet their need.

Taking Seekers Seriously

The writer took their doubts seriously. He did not merely exhort them with, “Don’t be silly; simply believe!” or with, “Stop your nonsense—of course Jesus is the Son of God and is therefore Prophet, Priest and King.” No, rather he quoted some forty Old Testament texts to prove that Jesus is the Christ and therefore His High Priestly ministry is sufficient to assure our everlasting salvation. He showed them the credibility of their faith, the reasonableness of the gospel. The writer dug deep into existential issues as to what a High Priest has to be in order to mediate effectively between God and man. He shows in a very tightly woven argument that the Christian faith is not merely pie in the sky for when you die, but rather that our faith is rooted in both time and eternity; it is credible.

We too need to take the doubts of people seriously and to be prepared to give Scriptural answers. We need to patiently lay the biblical and propositional foundation for credible faith in Jesus Christ as God’s appointed Saviour.

This, by the way, is one reason for the regular corporate gathering of the church. We gather to be built up in our faith, to be instructed in the Word, to learn doctrine. And the goal is worship.

Donald Miller (of Blue Like Jazz fame) recently posted an article saying that he does not go to church that often because he is not an “auditory learner.” Rather he learns best by “doing.” He said that he does not connect with God by singing or by listening to a lecture (his synonym for preaching) and so he sees little value in attending. There is much to say in response, but suffice it for now to point out that the weekly corporate gathering is essential if we will be grounded in the gospel. The faithful exposition of God’s Word is vital for our assurance and for our ability to help others in their assurance. It is vital if we will effectively evangelise others. The gospel is propositional truth, not pie in the sky mythology.

A Priest from Judah?

Keep in mind that these biblically literate Hebrews (and please note that our challenge is first to help the biblically illiterate to become somewhat literate) had been taught, correctly, that the priesthood of the temple had to be of the tribe of Levi. And so those who understood the genealogy of Jesus (which, of course, was a matter of public record) would note that He was of the tribe of Judah. How then could He possibly qualify as a priest, and especially as High Priest? That was a legitimate concern and a valid question. The Lord is not intimidated by such questions and His Word stands up to them.

In this chapter, the writer will begin to answer that concern and to put forth the fundamental argument that the High Priesthood of Jesus is biblically legitimate and therefore salvifically effective. In fact His High Priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood. The following chapters will flesh this out further.

For our purposes, we will look at three qualities of Jesus that qualified Him to be the High Priest of both God and man; in other words, three qualities that qualified Him, and which continue to qualify Him, to be the Saviour of the World. And as stated earlier, Jesus Christ is more than qualified and so you can be most certain that He saves those who believe on Him from their sins. That is good news; that is gospel.

The writer begins this chapter, in the first four verses, acknowledging three major qualifications for one to serve as High Priest. Then, from vv. 5-10, he makes the connection between these qualifications and how Jesus therefore more than qualifies. We will do so simultaneously under three main headings.

Jesus’ Solidarity with Sinners

The first qualification for one to serve as High Priest almost goes without saying: He must be a man; he must be human. This is clear from v. 1, where the writer speaks of “every high priest taken from among men” and later of Jesus “in the days of His flesh” (v. 7).

The point is not primarily that he must be a male, though that is true. The main point being established is the logical necessity that if one will represent God to man and man to God then there must be solidarity with those who are represented. After all, the high priest “is appointed for men” so “that he may offer . . . sacrifices for sins” of men. Therefore there must be a relationship of solidarity between the one representing and those being represented. This verse clearly reveals the basic truth that a high priest was chosen “among men” to represent men.

The writer wants to establish early on that Jesus Christ meets this essential qualification. In the passage that follows, he will provide hard evidence to prove the humanity of Jesus, but at this point simply note vv. 7-9 and the words, “who in the days of His flesh,” “with vehement cries and tears,” “He learned obedience,” “the things which He suffered,” and “having been perfected.” All of these phrases highlight the humanity of Jesus. Jesus shares in human nature with those whom He represents. He identifies with His fellow man so that He can relate to His fellow man. Jesus was a man and therefore, like all previous high priests, is in solidarity with those whom He represents: sinners whom He came to save.

Why the Incarnation?

People ask the legitimate question, why did God have to become man in order to save man? In other words, why was the incarnation essential for our salvation? The answer is that only one who is one with us can intercede for us. Only a man can be a mediator between God and men. We need a peer to be a priest.

Now, we need to be careful here. I recently read an anecdote, which helps to illustrate both what I am saying and what I am not saying.

A man was arrested by a sheriff in Texas on the charge of stealing horses. When he appeared at court, he was asked if he would rather be tried by a judge or by a jury of his peers. He didn’t understand “a jury of his peers,” but when the magistrate told him that a jury of his peers meant that he would be tried by those who were “just like him,” he immediately rejected the offer saying, “No way! I don’t want to be tried by a bunch of horse thieves!”

Jesus was our peer in the sense of being man and therefore being made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), but He was without sin. He was a peer of “horse thieves,” but unlike us He was not one.

Federal Whatship?

This matter of solidarity—one representing the whole—is a foundational biblical truth. It is a truth intimately connected with the doctrine of original sin. Adam was in solidarity with all of humanity, which came from him. All of humanity is born in solidarity with Adam. He is our “federal head,” to use some theological jargon. In other words, what happened to Adam when he sinned happened consequentially to us as well. Adam’s sin was consequentially representative of all who are related to him—which, of course, is everyone who is conceived in this world. Adam was the first of many “horse thieves.”

The second person of the Godhead became a man in order to create a new solidarity. He came to be in solidarity with those whom He would save from their sins and to transform from horse thieves into holy people. To again use theological jargon, Jesus is the Federal Head of those whom He saves. This is inherent in the concept of being an effective High Priest.

The high priest represented those who were in relation to him; that is, he represented all who were Israelites either by birth or by virtue of being proselytes. And whatever happened to the high priest was likewise experienced by the people. This was particularly seen by two things.

First, this solidarity was symbolised by the ephod, which he wore over his chest; and second, it was demonstrated by the experience of the high priest on the Day of Atonement.

The ephod, you may recall from our studies in Exodus (especially chapter 28), contained twelve stones each representing a tribe of Israel. The high priest would bear these over his heart as he entered the tabernacle, thereby indicating and symbolising that he was one with them. It was a tender picture indicating his solidarity with his people.

Each day as the high priest would go about his duties he would be dressed in his stately garments (heavenly colours) with this ephod fastened securely to his shoulders and around his front and back by golden cords. The twelve stones on the front of the ephod served to remind the high priest that he represented the nation before God. Their destiny was tied to his destiny. That was a sobering thought indeed.

Let me pause here to make an important application.

An Inseparable Destiny

Recently, in preparation for a pastors’ conference, where I taught from 1 Timothy, I was studying 1 Timothy 4. In v. 16 Paul exhorts Timothy, “Take heed to yourself and to your doctrine [teaching], for in doing so you will both save yourself and those who hear you.” Philip Ryken commented on this: “The spiritual destiny of any church is tied up with the spiritual destiny of its minister and his faithful proclamation of the gospel.”1 That is a most sobering and powerful insight. And though I understand fully that I am not a high priest, nevertheless I do have a priestly ministry of teaching the Word of God to my fellow priests. Further, I have a priestly ministry of prayer by which I bear on my heart the burdens of the congregation. And as long as I keep this in mind, I am helped in my own pursuit of God and in my own flight from sin. By bearing the church on my heart I am demonstrating my solidarity with you. My concern is that our destiny will be the same: glory.

The second aspect of this solidarity was profoundly demonstrated on the Day of Atonement. The prescriptions for this most important date on the old covenant calendar are found in Leviticus 16.

On this particular day, the high priest would enter the holy of holies to offer the blood of the prescribed sacrifices on the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant. It was an offering that secured atonement (“covering”) for the sins of the people committed in the past year. It was therefore a solemn day for those who took sin and their relationship with God seriously. It was, for all practical purposes, judgement day.

If God accepted the sacrifice offered by the high priest on behalf of the people then the nation would have the assurance that God had accepted them.

What should be noted is that on this day the high priest entered the tabernacle or temple without his priestly garments. He entered dressed in simple white linen. There were a number of reasons for this, but primarily it demonstrated his complete solidarity with those whom he represented. And as the writer will soon tell us, he had his own sins to deal with.

We can sum this up by highlighting that, in a very real and true sense, the spiritual destiny of the high priest and that of the people were inseparably linked. The people were either accepted or rejected in complete solidarity with the acceptance or rejection of the high priest.

These Hebrews to whom this letter was written understood that. Do you?

Do you realise that you need a representative, an advocate before God, to intercede on your behalf? Individualism is a destructive force in the world. It is particularly so when it comes to one’s standing before God. You cannot in fact stand before God; you need one who stands for you on your behalf. All individualists, when it comes to approaching God, will be turned into hell (see Revelation 20:11-15; John 3:36; etc.).

Jesus’ Sympathy for Sinners

In vv. 2-3 and 7b-9 we read of Jesus’ sympathy for sinners.

Verses 2-3 highlight the qualification that the high priest was to be one who sympathised with those whom he represented. He was to “have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray.” The picture here reinforces the idea that, under the old covenant, there was a distinction between sins of ignorance and sins of presumption. The concept of “going astray” may in fact be referring to the latter. Nevertheless, the point was that the high priest was to sympathetically offer sacrifices on behalf of those with whom he was in solidarity. He offered the sacrifices with feeling.

More than a Feeling

The word “compassion” in the original Greek conveys the median attitude between apathy and anger; between indignation and indifference. Leon Morris observes, “It refers to taking the middle course between apathy and danger. A true high priest is not indifferent to moral lapses; neither is he harsh.”2

In other words the high priest was neither merely going through the motions when he offered the sacrifices for sinners nor reacting out of selfish and reactionary anger. He truly was sympathetic. Perhaps the major factor in this approach was his knowledge of his own sins. “He is able to show forbearance and compassion because he knows his own limitations.”3

I appreciate Hughes’ insight in this regard: “A harsh, judgmental, unsympathetic spirit is a tell-tale indication that one has outgrown his sense of weakness and awareness of sin.”4

The two Great Commandments

It needs to be said that there was an implicit qualification of love for God that was involved in serving as high priest. If one did not love God then sin would not be dealt with properly. After all, without true love for God we will look for a therapist rather than repentance.

But equally, there needed to be love for those whom the high priests represented. In other words, the two great commandments of loving God and loving one’s neighbour were essential if one was to function fruitfully as a high priest. The high priest represented the God that he loved to man, and represented the people that he loved to God. He was a loving mediator.

As an important aside, no one can serve faithfully as a minister who does not have these same characteristics. Jesus taught this to Peter in John 21:15-17, and as his later ministry would prove, he learned and lived this lesson well. Every believer is a priest before God and man and so each of us must be zealous to keep these commandments if we will be effective in this world for the spiritual good of others to the glory of God.

Humble Self-Awareness

The assumption here is that the high priest was properly introspective in the sense of healthy self-examination. He was well aware of his own shortcomings. He was well aware of his own sins against both God and man, and this of course provided sufficient means for his sympathies with fellow sinners.

As he offered sacrifices, first for this own sins and then for the people, his solidarity would burn with sympathy. In other words, self-awareness of his own “weakness” before a holy God would go a long way to empowering his feelings of compassion and desire for a corporate holiness to the glory of God. His sinful “infirmities” would help him to be a patient and tender and yet forthright physician of the soul. And the same can be said of those who serve the church as leaders in our day.

Self-awareness is a great humbler, and the humbler the leader, the more helpful the leader.

The more honest the high priest, the more fit for the task he was. And yet, on the other hand, regardless of how honest and humble he was, nonetheless he would never be holy enough to fulfil all that the people needed from a high priest. For, in fact, sinful people need a high priest who not merely provides the way to God but who is the Way to God. Jesus Christ was and is such a High Priest. Verses 7-9 speak to this truth.

Sinless yet Sympathetic

We have been informed that the high priest was one who could relate to the weaknesses of those whom he represented. His sympathies were empowered by the knowledge of his own sinful shortcomings. Therefore, at this point, there is a breakdown in the comparison between Jesus and all other high priests throughout history. After all, Jesus was without sin. How then can we say that He sympathises in the same way with sinners as did a fellow sinner? In fact, we would not say that, and neither does the Bible make that point.

As we have seen in previous studies, the Bible does claim that Jesus sympathises with sinners (see Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16). But as we saw, it was because Jesus so perfectly and fully resisted temptation that He is able to sympathise with us. Because He felt the full strain of temptation (precisely because He did not give in)He is uniquely positioned to know what it is like to be tempted—in a far greater way than one who gives in to temptation before the full strain is experienced.

However, in this passage the parallel is a bit different. Here we have been told that the high priest under the old covenant was a fellow sinner who, for this reason, could sympathise with those whom he represented. He knew what it was like to fail. But when it comes to Jesus as our High Priest under the new covenant, we must ask whether there is the same type of continuity? No—and yes.

No, in that Jesus never knew what it was like to fail.

Blessed Discontinuity

There is a huge discontinuity therefore at this point between the old covenant high priest and the new covenant High Priesthood of Jesus. And this is good news! It was because He did not fail that He could bring in the new covenant and we can be saved. As the writer will later show us, the sinlessness of Jesus is precisely the reason for the abrogating of any more animal sacrifices. His sinlessless enables us to believe and to sing, “Jesus paid it all.”

The point of these verses is not that Jesus knew by experience what it is like to sin, with its resultant guilt and futility, but rather Jesus knew the profound experience of the full effects of the penalty of death which sin brings.

Verse 7 is a comprehensive statement of the life of Jesus on earth, and yet it clearly points us to the climax of this as seen when our Lord struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane. There He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:35-36). This scene highlights the profound suffering that awaited the Lord Jesus as He was soon to be arrested and crucified. Jesus was under such stress that He sweat great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). But what precisely was the cause of the stress?

A Reverent Submission

No doubt, our Lord’s knowledge of the physical torture that awaited Him was deeply distressing, but this was not the main cause of His heartache. What so disturbed Jesus was that He knew that, by becoming the sin offering, He would be separated from His Father. Coupled with this, and absolutely indivisible from it, was the knowledge that He would become sin for those for whom He died.

As we learned previously, sins under the old covenant were forgiven but were not punished (Romans 3:24-26). An animal could not properly be punished by God in the place of a person. But a Person could be. And not just any person, but rather the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

No doubt the Holy Son of God was deeply distressed by the knowledge that He would be viewed as sin by His holy Father. This was almost too much to bear. It was for this reason that Jesus asked the Father to be spared if it was at all possible. Jesus was asking that He might escape the spiritual death that He would experience on the account of others. But there was no other way. There was no escape. There was no Plan B. And so our Lord reverently submitted to the cross and the wrath of God that awaited Him there. As Hughes observes, “As a man Christ cried for escape, but as a man he desired the Father’s will even more.”5

Again, this is essential to the argument concerning Jesus as High Priest. He was different than all previous high priests, for He did not die for His sins and yet He did know the experience of those who do. Such experience was never the lot of anyone who died and who lived to tell it. Yes, Jesus can sympathise with those who fail—not because He knows what it is like to fail, but rather because He knows what it feels like to suffer for failure. No high priest had ever—or would ever—be able to relate to such an experience.

Simply put, Jesus never knew the experience of being a sinner, but He experienced what I will never experience: to be fully treated as a sinner. Nothing that I experience can compare to the wrath of God that Jesus experienced in my place. So although it is true that Jesus never experienced what it is to sin, He experienced what it is to be treated like a sinner. No sinner has been treated like this—neither in life nor in death.

It must be understood that Jesus was both God and Man. That is why we identify Him as the God-Man. Because He was God we should not interpret this scene as Jesus seeking to undermine the will of God or to turn away from it. That was never a serious option for Him. Rather, it was a demonstration of His perfect submission to the Father. This is why the writer says that He “was heard because of godly fear.” That is, Jesus’ reverent submission to the Father was displayed in His perfect obedience. F. F. Bruce helpfully notes, “At no point can the objection be voiced that because He was the Son of God it was different, or easier, for Him. He who would not have recourse to miraculous means to relieve His hunger in the wilderness refused to summon angelic forces to rescue Him from His enemies. He recognized the path of the Father’s will, and followed it to the end; herein lay His ‘godly fear’—His ‘humble submission.’”6 And such obedience is expected of all who have a saving interest in His work.

The Father’s Answer

Now, we need to ask the question, what does it mean that “He was heard” when Jesus prayed to Him “who was able to save Him from death”? For in fact Jesus did die. This prayer, this trust in the Father, was vindicated because, although Jesus did die, He did not die for His own sins—and for that reason He was ultimately delivered from death. In fact, He arose and ascended on high!

The text tells us that “though He was a Son [that is, the Son of God, see 1:2, 4:14] yet He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author [source] of eternal salvation.” This does not mean that there was ever any imperfection in Jesus, but rather it is revealing that what He faithfully and with reverent submission suffered resulted in the completed work that He came to do. This suffering of death was the completion of His redemptive work and hence the result is the securing of eternal salvation for all who trust and obey.

Trust and Obey

It is important for us to see that the solidarity that Jesus has with those whom He saves works two ways. That is, Jesus in solidarity with sinners dies for them. But those for whom He dies are to live in solidarity with and for Him. That is, His obedience in going to the cross unites those for whom He died in obedience with and to Him. In the words of Romans 6, we now walk in newness of life.

Again, Bruce is helpful as he comments, “The salvation which Jesus has procured, moreover, is granted ‘unto all them that obey him.’ There is something appropriate in the fact that the salvation which was procured by obedience of the Redeemer should be made available to the obedience of the redeemed.”7 There will be future opportunities to explore this issue further, but suffice it for now to say that one of the marks of saving faith is a life lived of “long obedience in the same direction.”8 Or as Westcott notes, “Continuous active obedience is the sign of real faith.”9

Jesus’ Selection for Sinners

Finally, in vv. 4-6, 10, we read of Jesus’ selection for sinners.

The writer has informed us that no high priest served at his own whim but rather had to be “called by God” (v. 4). Verse 1 hints at this by the words “is appointed.” “A proper priest was filled with deep humility. His work was never a career. It was a divine calling.”10

The high priests were appointed by God (Exodus 28—29), and only a fool would dare to take this honour upon themselves lest they die. Some were so foolish (e.g. King Saul, King Uzziah).

We should pause here to note that, when it comes to pastoral ministry, only those who are called of God should enter. Simon Kistemaker soberly reminds us that “anyone inducted into sacred office must be called by God. If this is not the case, he is an affront to God and a provocation to His people.”11

Richard Baxter commented many years ago that too many men enter the ministry before learning how to be a Christian..12 That is, they are not fit for office. Those whom God appoints He equips.

When it comes to Jesus as our High Priest, we can rest assured that He is more than qualified. We have already seen that Jesus is the Apostle of God (3:1), which means that He was sent from God with the authority of the triune God. He was appointed by God, and I might add that He was appointed from before the foundation of the world. He is the legitimate High Priest, to whom all previous high priests merely pointed. And because He is the High Priest, there are no more coming—for no other is needed!

The Father’s Appointment

In later studies, we will examine what Hebrews reveals concerning Jesus being a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, but for now I want to simply show that the writer’s quotation of Psalm 110 (in v. 6) as well as his quotation of Psalm 2 (in v. 5) are for the purpose of proving the legitimacy of Jesus’ Priesthood.

In v. 5, Psalm 2 is referenced again (see 1:5) to drive home the truth that, upon Jesus’ ascension, He was recognised as glorious—not by self-exaltation but rather by the Father’s exaltation. His self-humiliation paved the way for this honour. In fact, His coming to earth to serve as the High Priest in many ways was an act of humiliation rather than exaltation. Westcott captures the point well when he writes, “Christ, as sinless man, could approach God Himself; but He waited for His Father’s appointment that He might approach God as Son of man for sinful humanity.”13

In v. 6, Psalm 110 is quoted (and will be quoted many more times in Hebrews) to highlight that Jesus is a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. This enigmatic character makes a brief appearance in Genesis 14, where we learn that He was both a king and a priest. This is clearly the case with Jesus, as these two texts make clear.

But who was Melchizedek? He was priest of the Most High God long before there were any Levites and long before there was even a Jewish nation; in fact, long before there was even any Jewish people! Remember that Abraham was a Gentile until the time he was circumcised, which would only occur several chapters later (Genesis 17).

There is no genealogy of Melchizedek (an argument used later by the writer), and this points to the eternal priesthood of Jesus. “Christ is a Priest for ever, because He has no successor nor any need of a successor.”14

The point that the writer wants us to grasp is that Jesus is indeed “called of God” and that He qualifies in every way to be our High Priest. He is more than qualified to be our Saviour.

Your Response?

There are plenty of individuals who have claimed to be saviours but who have fallen short. It is easy to call yourself a deliverer, but only God can deliver. And He has done so by His appointed Son. If you are going to put your trust in someone to deliver you from your sin problem, then you had better make sure that that person qualifies. Jesus Christ, the proven Son of God does so. He is the source, the author of salvation to all who will obey Him as their Kingly Priest. God’s prophetic word points to Him as such. The record of His life, death, resurrection and ascension is proof enough. Obey Him today as He calls you to repent and call upon Him to save you. As we have seen, He is more than qualified to do so.

Show 14 footnotes

  1. Philip Graham Ryken, 1 Timothy: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2007), 191.
  2. Leon Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 12:47.
  3. William L. Lane, Hebrews: Word Biblical Commentary, 2 vols. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 1:116.
  4. R. Kent Hughes, Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, 2 vols. (Wheaton: Crossway, 1993), 1:139.
  5. Hughes, Hebrews, 1:141.
  6. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 102.
  7. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 105.
  8. Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society (Leceister: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
  9. B. F. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The Greek Text with Notes and Essays (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 129.
  10. Hughes, Hebrews, 1:139.
  11. Richard D. Phillips, Hebrews: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2006), 160.
  12. Ryken, 1 Timothy, 181.
  13. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 122.
  14. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 123.