Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part V: The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood To Other Priesthoods, Hebrews 5:1-10:39
A. The Superiority Of Christ's Qualifications As High Priest
(Hebrews 5:1-10)
  1. Introduction
    1. The Old Testament priesthood has been used as a pattern by religious groups such as the Roman Catholic Church (or Mormonism) with the belief that a mortal priest can remit sins in God's place, cf. The Council of Trent, cited in Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism, 1978, p. 49-51.
    2. However, as noted in Hebrews 5:1-10, such a system itself fails to be effective with God since the priest is himself a sinner in need of cleansing from sin, so we need a sinless but adequate High Priest, Jesus Christ:
  2. The Superiority Of Christ's Qualifications As High Priest, Hebrews 5:1-10.
    1. The Old Testament priesthood had qualifications for those who ministered in it, but they ultimately failed to be COMPLETELY adequate priests due to the sinfulness of the priests themselves, Hebrew 5:1-4:
      1. The Old Testament priest had to represent the people of Israel, so he was selected from among them in matters relating to God, Hebrews 5:1.
      2. These matters included offering to God both gifts (dora) as well as sacrifices (thysias) for sins, Hebrews 8:3; 9:9; Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament , p. 791.
      3. In representing the people, the priest had to be compassionate, metriopathein, to "deal gently" (NIV) with (a) the ignorant and (b) those who have astray from righteousness, Hebrews 5:2a; Ibid.
      4. This compassion grew out of the priest's awareness of his own vulnerability to similar weaknesses (Heb. 5:2b) that left him vulnerable to his own acts of sin, requiring that he offer sacrifices both for himself as well as for the people he represented, Hebrews 5:3.
      5. This role as priest was not assumed by the priest's own initiative, but he was appointed to it by God's command as based on his birth in the line of Aaron, Hebrews 5:4 with Exodus 28:1.
    2. However, Jesus Christ not only met the qualifications to represent the people, but as the Sinless Son of God, He was fully effective before the Father as our representative, Hebrews 5:5-10:
      1. Just as the Old Testament priest was appointed to his position by God and not by his own initiative, so Jesus was appointed by the Father, Hebrews 5:5-6:
        1. God in Psalm 2:7 assigned Jesus the office of King as the Son of God, Hebrews 5:5.
        2. In Psalm 110:4, God assigned Him to be the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, Heb. 5:6.
      2. Then, beyond His priestly appointment as King as the Son of God, in superiority to the mortal priests, Jesus was qualified to represent us as High Priest due both to His sufferings and His sinlessness:
        1. In Jesus' earthly life as God Incarnate, "he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death," Hebrews 5:7a. These events were like those described in Matthew 26:39-44 when Jesus suffered in Gethsemane.
        2. However, these prayers offered in intense suffering were nevertheless heard by the Father, for, unlike other human priests who were also sinners whom God could not hear due to their sin, Jesus was sinless, being always reverently submissive to the Father, Hebrews 5:7b NIV.
        3. Nevertheless, though being the sinless Son of God, Jesus humanly learned obedience from what He humanly suffered, insight that perfected Him as our All-Sufficient High Priest, Hebrews 5:8-9a.
        4. Becoming thus perfected in this role, Jesus became the Source of eternal salvation unto all mortals who obeyed Him, believing in Him and His Word for that deliverance, Hebrews 5:9a,b.
        5. Christ thus became designated a High Priest of an order superior to the Aaronic priesthood, that order being the order of Old Testament priest, Melchizedek, Hebrews 5:10 (cf. Genesis 14:18-20)
Lesson: In vast superiority to other human priests, though Jesus as God Incarnate could empathize with the sufferings of the afflicted and though He was appointed by God like the other priests, He was also the Son of God without sin, so His work in our behalf is truly effective and yields lasting results.

Application: May we rest confidently in Jesus' adequate high priestly ministry for us as being superior to all other religious priesthoods, that we rely only on Christ versus other religious priests and orders!