Reflections For Life
ALL I HAVE IS CHRIST
RUN THE RACE | The Hebrews Series
Hebrews 5 : 1 - 10
Pastor Lou Gallo
May 10, 2020
In Hebrews 4:14-16, Christ is described as a great high priest. He far surpasses all of the priests who went before Him. Christ is a human priest but He is more than a human priest – He is One who has passed through the heavens.
These verses teach us that there is a man in heaven who understands us and knows our trials. He is without doubt a priest like none other before Him. The author declares; He is the Son of God. Christ’s 100% deity and 100% humanity, are the central theme in the book of Hebrews. No other priest, no mere human priest, could have achieved victory over sin, death, and the devil. After He secured that victory, He sat down at the right hand of the Father, meaning that His saving work was finished.
Hebrews 4:14-16, teaches us that God is emotionally invested in His creation; He sympathizes with our weaknesses; He is involved because He cares.
Jesus is a better and greater high priest.
Let’s read 5:1-10,
“For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself
is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does
for those of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him who said to him,
“You are my Son,today I have begotten you”; 6 as he says also in another place,“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.” 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,
with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest
after the order of Melchizedek.”
1. The Old Priesthood
5:1, says, “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
In this verse is the qualification and job description of a “high priest.”
Qualification: A high priest is appointed by God from among men.
Job Description: He represents the people before God and offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
Verses, 5:2-3 say, That the high priest is a God-appointed human, who is subject to weakness. “The law appoints as high priests men who are weak.”
As a result of that weakness, the high priest can deal gently with those people who are ignorant and are going astray because, in many ways, he is like them. The high priest wasn’t above God’s people – The high priest was a sinner just as they were and had to offer sacrifices for his own sins. He wasn’t above God’s people he was in between God and His people. He represented Israel to God.
5:4, This office was not earned – it was given by God just as it was given to Aaron.
Even though the high priest was appointed by God, the high priest is a sinner just like everyone else. He was in his position for a short time, since like all humans – he will die. His sacrifices needed to be made over and over. They were only effective for a short time and then needed to be done again.
The writer of Hebrews was urging his audience not to go back to the old system, the old priesthood. To the imperfect priesthood. The whole book of Hebrews can be summed up by the exhortation: Run the Race!
Don’t go back! Don’t get off the path of following our Great High Priest.
What are we tempted to go back to? Where are we tempted to find relief from uncertainty, pain, sorrow, and grief?
If it’s in anything other than Christ it is ineffective – and worse than that, it’s offensive to Christ. There’s a better way because there’s a better priest!
2. A New Priest, A Perfect Priest
Just as the high priest of old, Jesus was appointed by His Father.
Look at verses 5:5-6, “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him who said to him,“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 6 as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
Jesus didn’t strive to obtain His high priestly position. It was given to Him as He humbled Himself. It reminds me of the verses in Philippians 2:5-11;
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
There’s no striving with Christ – He was appointed by His Father for the work of bringing many sons to glory!
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of Jesus’ humility He can sympathize with our weakness.
In this way, Jesus knows what we go through because He experienced the same temptations as we do – yet He was without sin. He is the effective high priest that we need for salvation. And He’s the high priest who has made it so our prayers are heard….
Hebrews 5:7-8 says, “In the days of his flesh (in the days of His humility), Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”
3. The New Priest Who Hears
Humanly speaking, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced the terrifying and necessary sacrifice. In His hour of intense need, He came into the presence of a holy God as he knelt in the garden on the night He was arrested.
He couldn’t look to his friends for help – they were asleep. In His humanity, He was alone. His soul was ‘very sorrowful’ and he could find real comfort at the throne of his Father. Jesus did not for a moment doubt God’s ability to save him from death. He cast himself upon His Father, who was able to save him. But he was not rescued! Yet, it does say He was heard! The Father heard Him!
Was Jesus’ prayer unanswered?
Of course! Not only was Jesus’ prayers heard, but they were answered. Not by keeping Christ from the agony of the cross, but by giving him for it and in it. A commentary on this verse says, “It is grammatically possible to translate verse 7: ‘… And because Jesus humbled Himself and died for our sins and rose from the dead. He has reconciled us to God so that for us – our prayers are heard by God as well..
Our comfort is in that God hears our cries. He hears every word, He sees every tear.
And our confidence is in that He heard and acted in the exact way that brought Him glory and that had Lisa’s parents’ good in His heart.
Certainly, there are times when God answers our prayers in the exact way that we ask Him. Is that because we prayed just the right prayer at the right time with the right words? No. He decided to answer our prayers because it was good for us and it brought Him glory. Did He answer the prayers because He heard only those prayers? NO. He hears of our prayers!
What about our prayers for Lisa’s mom? Did God not answer our prayers? He did answer them, just not in the way we wanted Him to. He is answering them by giving us the grace to walk in this intense grief.
For those of us who are His children, has there ever been a time in your life when you can say, God was not providing for me? Or, God was not with me (even if you couldn’t feel Him)?
When we strip away all the uncertainty, all the ways of coping with grief, all the earthly comforts… When all of that is gone…
What do we have? All we have is Christ. Our hope, our comfort, our salvation is IN one and only one place.
It is IN Christ, our Great High Priest who hears our cries.
As we conclude; Hebrews 7:23-26 brings us great comfort and confidence.
Hebrews 7:23-26, “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”
When we cry out to God, even with tears – He hears. He is able to save us to the uttermost.
He may not do what we want – but He knows and He will do what He wants, what is best.
All we have, when everything is stripped away…all we have at the end of the day?
All we have is Christ. And….that is all we need.
Questions for Reflection:
Where are we tempted to find relief from uncertainty, pain, sorrow, and grief?
How are you comforted by the fact that Jesus sympathies with your weakness?
What difference does it make for you to know that God hears your prayers?
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.