Jesus the Great High Priest
4 14So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.Heb 4:14-16
Chosen and Designated by God
5 1 Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins. 2And he is able to deal gently with ignorant and wayward people because he himself is subject to the same weaknesses. 3That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as theirs. 4And no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honour. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. 5That is why Christ did not honour himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” 6And in another passage God said to him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 7While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. 8Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. 10And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.Heb 5:1-10
Don’t Remain Like Babies; Go Beyond the Basics
11There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
6 1So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. 4For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 6and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.Heb 5:11-6:6
Two Illustrative Examples
7When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 8But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it. 9Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. 10For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. 11Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
13For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: 14“I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” 15Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. 16Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. 17God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.Heb 6:7-20
Jesus, A High Priest Like Melchizedek
7 1This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. . .Hebrews 4:14-7:1
Did you notice the link?
And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest.Hebrews 3:1
If you did what I suggested in the last Gem and kept reading until you reached the end of the section on the High Priest and all things related to the High Priest – i.e. the priesthood, the covenant, the Holy Place, the blood sacrifice – then you would have seen that you ought to have read until Hebrews 10:18. You would also have seen how this writer introduces something briefly and then returns to explain it later on. He did it when he introduced the idea of Jesus as High Priest (3:1) only to return to his point and explain it further (4:14). He repeats this technique when introducing the notion of Jesus being a priest like Melchizedek (5:10) only to pick up the thought again in 6:20. I must admit, I was not sure whether to make the break before or after 6:20. But I concluded the better approach would be to follow the author’s pattern by introducing Melchizedek at the end of the one segment and pick it up to explain it in the next. (6:20 ~ 7:1)
The complete section from 7:1 to 10:18 includes the following segments, according to the Pericope Titles in E-Sword:-[I considered choosing the most appropriate title out of the many available from the versions for each segment (pericope) before I have a chance to analyse each segment more thoroughly. But that was just confusing because they varied so greatly and there was neither consistency in where to break each segment, nor what to name a segment. So I have stuck with the segment titles from E-Sword for the moment to cover in outline form what we find between Hebrews 7:1 and 10:18. All segments relate the notion of the Priesthood in some way.]
- The Priestly Order of Melchizedek (7:1-7:10)
- Jesus Compared to Melchizedek (7:11-7:28)
- Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant (8:1-8:13)
- The Earthly Holy Place (9:1-9:10)
- Redemption Through the Blood of Christ (9:11-9:28)
- Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All (10:1-10:18)
After these segments, the writer appears to begin a summary section with the words:-
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.Heb 10:19
I hope this is helpful in providing you with a map of the propositions between Hebrews 4:14 and 10:18. This is a long section relating to Jesus, having been chosen by God as High Priest and the significance that flows from it. Keep in mind it is all part of the bigger picture of comparing Jesus with elements of Judaism in order to persuade the Jewish Christians not to return to the synagogue and the Old Covenant.
Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot more about the significance of what you encountered on the way.Ian
We cannot discover new treasures in the Word of God unless we are prepared to leave behind our preconceptions of passages we have read before.Ian
The most amazing thing about the Bible is how something with which we are so familiar can suddenly yield new treasures.Ian
Open my eyes to see the miracle-wonders hidden in your word.Psalm 119:18
Suddenly, their eyes were opened and they recognized him and at that moment he disappeared!Luke 24:31