Paul continues on with his argument affirming the priesthood of Christ. Remember, he is confronting the Hebrew race who are very committed to the priesthood which had been established by Moses. They would accept no religion which did not have its priesthood and Paul reaffirms the better priesthood of Christ. He proves that Christ not only is equal to and meets all the requirements of a priest but that he is for superior.
This line of thought is presented in 2:17, 18; 3:1 and then 4:14 and carries on through for the next several chapters.
V. 1. He reviews the qualifications of the priesthood in the Hebrew religion. High Priest here referring to the Jewish religion.
1. This high priest was taken from among men.
a. He was taken from among men for men's benefit as he took care of the things which had to do with man's worship of God as ordained by Moses.
b. We see also that at times this high priest was a minister
of justice as he was to speak for God in a extremely hard matter,
Deut. 17:8-12; 19:17; 21:5.
c. The original high priest was required to be from the family of Aaron (Ex. 29:9), but this was not held to. It became a very political office and Rome appointed this high priest. We see in this that the high priest ceased to be for man's benefit and became for Rome's benefit as they appointed the one best suited for their cause.
d. Our text shows the job of the high priest was not to teach or as a military leader. His responsibility was to the worship and service of God.
e. "That he may offer---" Here we see the responsibility of the high priest. Therefore the office cannot be compared to a pastor. The pastor preaches the word not offers sacrifices for sin.
Romanist have kept the term priest because they believe they do offer sacrifices for the peoples sin, this is blasphemy.
Not only taken from among for men's benefit but---
2. V. 2, who can have compassion-- He was to be able to identify with their infirmities. He had problems and difficulties just like they did.
a. If he had been taken from a order of creatures superior to men he would have been less qualified as a high priest with compassion toward sinners needing forgiveness. "and on them that are out of the way"-- Who have erred from the way.
In fact, by coming from men, he himself is also compassed with infirmity.
b. He himself is tempted also. He also must face death and judgment. Now, in this sense we can apply this to pastors. We should be able to sympathize with those around us in their temptations and fears. God chose a sheep to lead sheep. We (pastors), should realize what makes them tick and what frightens them.
Not only taken from among men for mens benefit so he can have compassion.
But, v. 3 --as for the people, so also for himself. Lev. 9:7, we see that the high priest also had to have the atoning sacrifice. What the people need he needs also.
a. Here again is a good application for pastors. A large percentage of my messages are either what God has dealt with me about or something which has helped me. I need what you need. You need what I need. I need the same (only more), grace and mercy which you need.
Now the fourth thing here, not only taken from man: 1.) For men's benefit. 2.) So he can have compassion. 3.) As the people so is he.
V. 4. No one had the right to enter into this office unless he was called of God as was Aaron.
a. This high priest had to meet the qualifications as laid out by Moses.
b. This high priest could not assume this office. God alone could cause him to be born into the family of Aaron.
(1.) II Chron. 26:18 gives us a record of an attempt by someone
to usurp this office.
(2.) Ex. 28:1 gives us a record of God making this call upon Aaron and his sons.
Now, this has no reference at all to pastors or ministers. Paul here is dealing strictly with the Hebrew religion and their high priest. He is getting ready to compare Christ and show how Christ fits these requirements and he starts in:
V. 5. This is Jn. 8:54. Just as the high priest of old could not exalt himself into this office, Christ did not exalt himself into his office of high priest.
Do we try to exalt ourselves? Into an office? Or Position? Maybe it is the right thing to do but do we try to exalt ourselves into it or do we let God move and do it?
Mike would be a good example. He feels God wants him to pastor some day. If he isn't careful he will try to exalt himself and end up in more trouble with the Lord than he can handle.
Christ waited 33 1/2 years and went through a tremendous amount of suffering, even the death of the cross before he was exalted to the right hand of the Father, Ph. 2:1-11.
Ph. 2:1-11, I know a multitude of people who like to think and work toward v. 9 but I have met very few who are willing to live in vv. 7 and 8.
Many feel that education equips them for v. 9. The only thing which will equip them is living vv. 7, 8. (Of course this is I Pet. 5:5, 6.)
Paul here is pointing out that Christ did not exalt himself to this office any more than the physical sons of Aaron exalted themselves to their office, rather he was born into this office by the will of the Father.
Thou art my son--- Paul here quotes Ps. 2:7 speaking of Christ. Paul is fond of this passage. He also used it in Heb. 1:5. The context of Ps. 2 is Christ as King. The Lord God of heaven and earth, God the Father caused Christ to be born as King. Absolutely everything has been given to Christ. He did not exalt himself to this place. The Father did.
Paul here though uses this as a reference to Christ being the only begotten Son of the Father, therefore, the new high priest. The new mediator of man of God.
V. 6. He goes on to quote another to show that the OT spoke of the man Christ Jesus being the New High Priest. He quotes Ps. 110:4 here. Notice the point he is trying to make here in vv. 5 and 6. These two Psalms clearly shows that Christ DID NOT exalt himself into the office of King or into the office of High Priest. This is the work of God the Father. Christ was born as a Son into these offices.
Ps. 110 is considered a massaniac psalm. God the Father said to God the Son. Notice something here. How long will Jesus Christ our Lord sit in this place? This is confirmed at least seven times in the NT. Matt. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42; Acts 2:34, 35; I Cor. 15:24, 25; Heb. 1:13; Eph. 1:20-22.
Notice 110:5, where is the Lord located as he strikes through kings in the day of his wrath?
Paul here is pointing out that Christ did not exalt himself to this office of the high priest. God the Father 'swore' that Christ would be a priest forever. "Melchisedec" -- we'll find out more about him later on.
V. 7. Here Paul identifies Christ even more with the common man. When faced with death look at what he did. Notice who he prayed to. Now, notice the results.
I think the reference here of v. 7 is to Christ's prayer in the garden as recorded in Matt. 26:39, 42; Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42.
Even though the one he prayed to was able to save him from death, he didn't. The thing I like about this is "and was heard". Here we see that just because our prayers aren't answered doesn't mean they aren't heard.
Notice Lk. 22:42-- The Father didn't answer by removing the cowper removing him. He did not change the situation even though he prayer and the Father heard him. What did happen though was the Father heard his cry of distress and sent an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him to go through the situation.
I think we have this part to claim far more times than to see our prayers for a change in circumstances. I think more often than not we are strengthened to go through the situation for his much higher purpose.
He follows this thought on through to v. 8. Here we have him being born into the office of King of kings. He was born into the office of high priest after the order of Melchisedec, an everlasting High Priest but this Son had to learn through obedience.
I cannot even imagine the Son, God incarnate in the flesh, God with us having to learn anything especially through suffering but he did.
Notice: 1.) The Son of God cried out with strong cryings and tears. 2,) The Father who could save him from death heard him. 3.) The Father though, rather than sparing him, strengthened him that he could go through the ordeal, even the death of the cross. 4.) Through this obedience he became the perfect King and High Priest (Ph. 2:8), and the perfect King. 5.) V. 9, he also became the perfect author of eternal salvation.
V. 9 again, "unto all them that obey him."
I believe Paul here is pointing something out to us:
1.) We may cry out to God even with strong cryings and tears.
2.) The answer doesn't come as we want it to, rather he strengthens us through the situation. He knows what we need to learn to make us more like Christ. To perfect us so he strengthens us in the situation rather than removing it, Rom. 8:28, 29.
3.) As we obey God the Father in the suffering, this strengthens (grace) us as we preached a couple of weeks ago. We only learn and mature through suffering, Heb. 12:15.
4.) In this we see that we cannot shake our fist at God and say "you don't understand." He does, he went through the same thing making him the perfect High Priest, mediator.
a. Also, we cannot point to him as the king eternal and say, "God, if you are the king, why are you allowing this?" He is the King but he was exalted after he learned obedience through suffering.
b. This is tough, we also must learn obedience to the heavenly Father. How? Through suffering. Our Lord had to learn this way and so will we.
V. 10. Again reminding them of Melchisedec. He doesn't peruse this yet because of vv. 11-14. This doctrine is one of "strong meat." But he does come back to it in chp. 7 and deals with it in depth.
Just a couple of things. Remember he is dealing with Hebrews who would probably have a problem with accepting Christ as the Great High Priest, why? (not of Aaron)
Therefore Paul would have to prove that Christ has a legitimate claim upon this office even though he is not of Aaron and he uses Melchisdec to do this.
V. 11, he continues that he has many things to say concerning Melchisdec but it will be very difficult preaching. Why? (Dull of hearing) Why were they dull of hearing?
V. 12. Rather than being teachers and instructors of God's word as mature Christians, what did they need? (To be instructed)
V. 13. We see they are babes. They are they still babes needing milk rather than able to handle the deeper things of God? See Eph. 4:13.
Remember the context. Christ of course was totally mature. How did he mature? All at once?
We saw he matured through obedience to God in suffering. He was made perfect, mature through suffering. He continued on, he kept going regardless.
Now, why were these Christians still babes, in need of milk? I believe the context shows that when the suffering came they went. Rather than suffering for righteousness sake, they fled or compromised. When the price got too heavy they went the other way. The ones who were still practicing the old Hebrew rites and rituals put the pressure on them and they yielded to it.
We are matured in Christ in only one way. We learn of him in only one manner, through suffering. We mature in him and his word through suffering and when we fail in that test of the suffering we remain immature Christians. When we flee rather than remain, we are set back in our growth until we can `see it through.'
Paul points out that because they are still immature he cannot teach them the deep things of God. Now, Paul goes on to explain this doctrine of Melchisdec in chp. 7, but notice chp. 6 is in between. Chp. 6, is calling for the things that accompany salvation. The patient endurance. This brings on the maturity which can handle the deeper doctrines of Christ. As we endure in the sufferings which we go through, then we learn of him.
This fits in well with Ja. 1:22. A person is dull of hearing because they will not do what they know they should do in the situations they are in.
Do we want to know the deeper things of God's word? That ability will come only from enduring the suffering and being faithful to His word.
V. 13. Where does our skill in the use of God's word come from? (It comes used, v. 14 in suffering or hard situations. It comes from standing against compromise.
V. 14. This confirms what we are saying. Notice the margin reads here. "But strong meat (deep things of God's word) belongeth to them that are of full age-marg. perfect-, even those who by reason of us- marg. of a habit, or perfection--have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
The understanding of the deeper things of God's word comes from the perfection which is the result of suffering.
We learn to apply God's word only through suffering and using it. We mature only through suffering and using God's word. We are perfect the same way our Lord was perfected in vv. 8 and 9. There is no shortcut. He had to go through it and so must we. Can we suffer the lose of all things as he did? He set the perfect example.