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The Hebrews Commentary Project

Contents:

Hebrews 5:5-10

  1. Murray McLellan
  2. Kenneth M. Mick, Jr.
  3. Jim McClarty
  4. Maurice Bergeron
  5. Tim Clifton
  6. Kevin Hartley
  7. Michael Cruz

Hebrews 5:5-10

5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
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1. Murray McLellan

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. (5:5)

After reminding his readers of the old covenant priesthood, the writer of Hebrews now exalts the better priesthood. The first covenant is now obsolete (Heb. 8:13). This does not mean that we are left without a high priest. The truth is, we now have a better and far superior High Priest. Jesus Christ, our perfect High Priest, did not take this honor to Himself, but He was appointed by God (see v. 4). Jesus proclaimed in John 7:18,

He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

And most assuredly, there is no unrighteousness in Jesus Christ. In another place He said,

If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me. (John 8:54)

The high priests of the old covenant were taken from among men. The great High Priest of the better and enduring covenant was taken from heaven itself - the very Creator became a man. Yes, He was taken from among men, but He was not just a man. The Father appointed His Own beloved eternal Son. No wonder His priesthood is far superior.

 

As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.(5:6)

Jesus Christ is not a priest according to the order of Aaron, but according to the order of  Melchizedek; that king-priest who lived at the time of Abraham (Gen. 14:18-20). Nothing is known of this man's lineage or ancestry. He was a king of Salem (now Jerusalem). His priesthood preceded that of Aaron and did not end when Aaron's priesthood ended.

In addition, this priesthood of Jesus Christ's is a kingly priesthood. O, what a better Mediator. We are represented by the King of the universe Himself!

What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is He who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (Rom. 8:31-34)

 

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (5:7)

Here Christ's superiority over Aaron is demonstrated again. He met all the qualifications for high priest mentioned in verses 1-4 and surpassed them infinitely. Jesus was compassionate towards men, was identified with them, and understood them. He was a man Himself - just like any high priest that served in the temple. However, who had the compassionate understanding like that of our High Priest, who in the days of His flesh, offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to God? Who loved his people like Jesus? High priests taken from Aaron's line were also descendants of Adam. As such, they had the self-centered tendencies of their father. Who understands his people like Jesus? He is our Maker. He discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. All things are naked and open to His eyes. He is an omniscient High Priest! He knows us better than we know ourselves. And knowing us this intimately, He still loves us intimately and infinitely. This is an amazing thing. This can be because in His perfect sacrifice, He has dealt with our sins and cast them from us as far as the east is from the west. He has reconciled us to God, by His blood. It is His obedience to the Father's will that purchased this redemption for us (Phil. 2:8). He knows our needs. We like to think that we do, but if the truth be known, we aren't always thinking righteously. Praise God. We have a High Priest who does, and who has the full perspective of all things. He sees the end from the beginning. What a Mediator we have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (5:8)

What a committed High Priest - and though a King, He did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Christ does not just identify with our situations and suffering through His omniscience, but also through experience. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Though He was God's Own Son, He was not exempt from suffering. He understands that obedience costs. Believe me, He understands! And He proclaims it is worth the cost. O how we need the faith to believe it always. He went it alone, forsaken by those closest to Him. For Him there was no other way than to trust and obey. Is your heart breaking in billows of sorrow? Are you experiencing hardship and pain? Jesus knows. He understands. Even as I try to come alongside you; even if I've had a similar experience, I cannot relate to you as our Elder Brother. He is the perfect intercessor. He has gone before and promises to be with us. "I will never leave you nor forsake you,"  is His rock-solid promise. His perfect example calls us to commit ourselves to Him who judges righteously. Commit yourself to the God who knows what is best and sees the big picture. Let us not glory in our wisdom. Let us not glory in our might. Let us not glory in our riches. Let us glory in this - that we understand and know the Lord (Jer. 9:23-24). Let us glory in His wisdom. Let us glory in His might. Let us glory in His riches. O, He is someone we can trust!

 

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (5:9)

Jesus, having fulfilled these requirements, became the perfect High Priest. His perfect obedience shows Him to be the perfect High Priest. Thus, He needed no sacrifice for Himself. In fact, He then was able to offer up Himself as the perfect sacrifice, acceptable to God. He alone is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him in faith (Rom. 1:5, John 6:29, 2 Thess. 1:8). Eternal salvation originates with Him - as does faith and obedience. Apart from Him we can do nothing. Praise God that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith that leads to obedience in our lives.

 

Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (5:10)

God, You, who knows all things, have called Your Own dear Son as the High Priest that would glorify You. He is the One we needed. You have implemented a better and enduring priesthood. Let us glorify the One who did not glorify Himself to become High Priest. Father, glorify Your Son in those You have given Him. Though He is no longer in the world in human form, He has not forsaken us. Cause us to learn obedience by the things we suffer. Grant us the faith to believe in our heart that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4: 8-10)

What an exalted privilege! Let us remember,

our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Cor. 4:17)

As a royal priesthood, with such a gracious and precious High Priest, let us live for His glory and let us fulfill our ministry of reconciliation. To us who have been reconciled to God by Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice, He has committed the Word of reconciliation. We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us. Let us implore sinners, on Christ's behalf, to be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (See 2 Cor. 5:18-21).

Murray McLellan
m.mclellan@sk.sympatico.ca
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2. Kenneth M. Mick, Jr.

So also.... (5:5)

As God alone ordained Aaron; as only God honored Aaron, so Christ came to glorify the Father not Himself (John 17:4). He glorified the Father by doing what God sent Him to do. By obeying, He honored God. Do you see the glory of God and Christ in the church or do you see yourself fighting for your own honor? Obey Christ and think of others as more important than yourself.

 

...offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him....(5:7)

Reflect on Christ emotionally, spiritually, and physically pouring Himself out to the point of bloody sweat. Such agony of the greatest magnitude can be heard. Listen:

Not My will but Thine be done. Glorify Me with the glory I had with You before the world was.

Follow the example of the Lord of Glory. Be submissive to the Father. He honored not Himself who most deserves the honor of all men. No, He will take no honor, but that which will honor the Father first.

 

The Son (5:8)

The Son, being the very form of God, the Second Person of the Godhead, the eternal I AM, Self-sufficient and All-powerful, obeys by suffering. Will we grumble and complain at the suffering we endure, or seek to avoid it? Yet Phil. 1:29 says it is given on the behalf of Christ to suffer. Let us learn to be like our High Priest and willfully suffer joyfully. "Yea, and all that desire to live godly shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim 3:12). We are far from being very godly at times, aren’t we?

 

And being made perfect....(5:9)

Why should we suffer? To be made perfect, complete, mature. Christ’s mission was incomplete without suffering. He came to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. If He did not suffer, we would have no eternal salvation. The road to our salvation was paved with the suffering of Christ. Do you see the blood stained Highway of Holiness?

 

Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (5:10)

Do you need comfort? Look to Jesus. This Jesus, this High Priest, is not of Aaron’s line. No, but He is after another sort, that of Melchisedec. We need not fear that the suffering of Christ will not avail for us. For, unlike Aaron, our Priest is sinless and fulfilled the Law’s demands. He has the compassion of Aaron, but not his sins. Live free with a pure conscience before God, O sinner who clings to Christ. Christ has suffered to be glorified. He has honored the Father. The Father is satisfied. Come, enjoy this Savior and the suffering He grants. It is only in this way, you will be glorified.

Ken Mick, Jr.
kmickjr@juno.com
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3. Jim McClarty

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. (5:5)

Let's start by placing this verse with its predecessor. The entire thought is

...no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. (Heb. 5: 4,5)

The author has been making comparisons between the Old Covenant high priest and Christ, our Great High Priest. He's honing in on one particular aspect of Christ's ministry which really demonstrates the uniqueness of this Son of Man: His utter humility. Orthodox Christian theology states categorically that Jesus was the fleshly incarnation of one third of the eternal Godhead. The eternal word became the fleshly word. As such, He left His former estate and stepped down from His heavenly glory. He was always seated with the Father, always face to face with the omnipotent God. Yet, in accordance with His Father's decree, He put off that light unto which no man could approach and took on an earthly tent to walk and talk with the very creatures He had come to save. That's a very long step down.

Throughout His ministry He demonstrated an almost unfathomable humility to men who could never deserve it. And He testified of Himself that without His Father He could do nothing. But He always did His Father's will. Always. (John 5:30) So, He did not take to Himself the highest religious position on earth without His Father's command and consent. Within the context of the verse, the author (as is often his penchant) reaches back into the Psalms (2:7, to be exact) and points out that it was by the Father's choosing that His one-and-only Son became the ultimate priest for mankind. Just as Aaron was hand-chosen on Sinai, Christ was chosen in Heaven.

 

As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (5: 6)

This is a second supporting reference, this time to Psalm 110:4. In chapter 7of this study we will approach this Melchisedec connection in much more detail. You'll want to stick around for it - it's really interesting. But, for the moment, the author is pointing out that the Messiah's High Priestly work was foretold long before it became actual. Notice, as well, once this Priest assumed His office, it was a done deal. It was a ""forever"" priesthood.

Let's take a second and discuss this word ""forever.""  How long is that? The popular notion is that forever extends from this moment forward out into eternity. That's half right. But, to truly qualify as ""forever,"" a thing would have also  ""always been""! If it has a starting place, it is temporal. It is less than ""forever."" Now, apply that notion to our Great High Priest. He has always been our mediator. He has always been our sacrifice. He was "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world" (Rev.13:8). His ministry to us - "ordained for men" - did not begin with His fleshly incarnation or baptism. He has always been at the altar of God, pleading His blood and demonstrating His compassion on our behalf. And that makes sense. Our sin is of such gravity that it would condemn us forever in the courts of an eternal judge, so we need an eternal advocate. We need a ""forever"" sacrifice, and, we have one!!! Thus, we have an eternal security based on the eternal nature of our eternal Priest...""a priest forever.""  But, back to the matter at hand, which is Christ's humility.

 

I must admit that I disagree with the number placement in the next verse. Remember that the numbers and punctuation were added by the translators. They're not God-ordained. So, I'm disagreeing with their choice, here. I think the passage should contain the whole thought, which is:

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared, though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. (5:7,8)

This is clearly a reference to Christ's passion. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed until his sweat became drops of blood. The blood of His agony dripped down His sacred brow long before the centurions pierced it with a thorny crown. And He took His three closest apostles with Him: Peter, John, and James. They overheard Him in the garden and wrote of His impassioned prayer:

        And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me."
        And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
        And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
        He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." (Matt. 26:37-42)

The Son of God was in dire fear. Imagine. The central event around which all of human history revolves was about to unfold. God would take the mass of guilty, blood-soaked sin which had accumulated against His elect people and place it on the body of His beloved Son. But that's barely half of it. This One who had never known anything except the presence, fellowship, and communion of God would be heard to cry out, ""My God, My God! Why hast though forsaken me?!!"" This One who had lived as eternal spirit had taken on a body which would be so racked with pain that Isaiah would declare, ""His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men"" (Isaiah 52:14).  His body was torn and distorted as God poured out the cup of Holy wrath. He was beaten, bruised, and abused by men and God. As it loomed before Him, He feared. The more amazing side of this story, though, is that He knew it was coming. He cried out to the one who could save Him, ""if it be possible, let this cup pass from me."" Yet, He submitted Himself. You're not getting it...I'll say it again... Yet, He submitted Himself!!! In humility and obedience to the will of His Father, knowing the horror that lay ahead of Him, our eternal Priest acquiesced, ""nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."" May I go on for a moment? I can't let this rest. Do you want to see faith personified? Look at Him hanging on the cross. Beaten, disfigured, bloody, agonizing...and totally alone - abandoned by everyone including the Father. Yet, at the moment of death, He looked toward Heaven and cried out in submission and faith to the very one who had forsaken Him, ""Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!"" He trusted God to raise Him from this desolate, abject misery to an eternal glory unmatched in Heaven, hell, or earth. Though He'd been broken and forsaken, yet He believed! What faith! What submission! What obedience! Is it any wonder the Hebrews' author will later say, ""Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith"" (12:2).  May I point out that the word ""our"" found in many versions of that verse is in italics. It was added by the translators. But, it doesn't belong there! Jesus is the author and finisher of ALL faith! Wherever you find faith in any realm or dimension, under any circumstances, it was Christ who authored it and completed it.

 

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (5:9)

Christ's obedience to the Father was part of His perfection as a man. As our substitute, He perfected us. And being an ""forever priest,"" he was able to perfect us forever, "For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb.10:14). We are by nature disobedient. The Hebrew audience who first read this letter were descendants of the Israelites who attempted to achieve righteousness through their obedience to the Mosaic law. But, where the law could not create a perfect, continuous, righteous obedience, Christ learned perfect obedience on our behalf, gaining that complete righteousness which is imputed to us!

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5:19)

Is it necessary to point out the ""eternal"" word, here? How long is ""eternal""? Yep, you got it! That's "always was, always is, always will be"  The salvation of which we are recipients was always in the mind of God. It was decreed and ordained in time and it will be celebrated ceaselessly in the ages to come. There was never a time when our salvation was in doubt. It was as sure as God's faithfulness to His word, and as certain as the obedience of the Lamb slain. He's the author! He wrote it! He laid down His will before the Father and gained the souls of His sheep through His willing sacrifice.

What's the upshot of all this? Well, our obedience to Him. Notice that last phrase in verse 9: "" he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."" God searches our hearts and minds, and He knows our intentions and desires. We cannot achieve perfect obedience,  but our Elder Brother did!  And because He agonized over us, we are called to spend ourselves on Him. Our best efforts will never scratch the surface of the labor He invested in us - ""Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin"" (Heb.12:4), but we will strive. As we are conformed into the image of the Son, we will ""press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"" (Phil.3:14).

One last word before we move on--this verse does not say that if we obey Him He will save us eternally. That's a popular misreading of it. No, in order for the salvation to be genuinely ""eternal,"" the obeying is simply an outgrowth of the fact that we are eternally saved. That's an important distinction. He didn't labor in vain. He didn't suffer in hopes that someone would obey. He didn't sweat blood just in case someone decided to get in line with Him. He accomplished everything He set out to accomplish, and He eternally saved those who are obedient in reaction to that fact.

 

Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (5:10)

Oh, here's that Mel guy, again. Like I said, stick around for more about him. It's going to be fun.

 

CONCLUSION:

Humility and obedience were hallmarks of Christ's earthly walk. And certainly he expects our humble obedience in return. It's sad how those concepts have dissolved in the current church atmosphere.

For instance, there is a controversy afoot concerning ""carnal christians."" It's a natural outgrowth of the popular notion that people ""choose"" Jesus and ""make Him your Lord and Savior."" These are repugnant notions to Scripture. Jesus never announced our choice of Him as the deciding factor in our eternal destiny. Contrariwise, He stated that it was His acceptance of us which would seal our future. And we don't make Him Lord - He IS Lord!  And we don't make Him savior; He makes us saved! Anyway, out of this confusion has grown the notion that, in the steps of spiritual ""decision-making,"" some people may have made Jesus their Savior, confirming their salvation, but they haven't yet made Him "Lord of their lives."   Hence, they live a carnal life, but are saved Christians. I say again, the Bible knows nothing of this sort of talk. Jesus declared His redeemed would bear good fruit (Matt. 7). He said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10). He said they would pick up their cross and follow His lead (Matt. 16:24). He said they would deny themselves, their flesh, their lusts, their desires, and they would ""seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness"" (Matt. 6:33).  I refuse to believe Christ learned perfect obedience through His suffering with the intent that His followers could then live according to every fleshly whim without conviction or conscience.

Another movement in ""pop"" Christianity is the proliferation of the letters ""W.W.J.D.""  They stand for ""What Would Jesus Do?"" I understand the original intent and have read the history of the movement. While the widely merchandised wristbands, necklaces, earrings, t-shirts, hats, etc. are designed to remind the wearer of Christ's presence in their everyday situations, the question really misses the point. None of us are capable of doing what Jesus would do at any given moment. He was likely to raise dead folk and heal blind eyes. He might decide to feed 5,000+  with 2 fish and 5 loaves. He bore the brunt of our shame and sin, paid the price of our slavery, and guaranteed our heavenly estate. Your average wristband-wearing 15 year-old isn't likely to do any of these. So then, the proper question would be: ""What would Jesus have ME do?"" And the answer of course is: "obey."

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Rom. 6:15-17)

The wind obeys Him. The seas obey Him. The demons obey Him. The angels obey Him. The heavens obey Him. Every part of His creation bows in submission to the One who is Lord of lords - - - except men!  Frightening, isn't it? Only stubborn men fight against the only means of salvation. Only men raise their fists against the Great Eternal Judge. And so would you. And so would I - had it not been for the intervention of the Perfect One who obediently purchased us from ourselves to gift us to the Father. Our eternal High Priest intervened on our behalf and drank the cup of wrath dry, leaving not a drop to be poured on our heads.

Humility and obedience. The servant is no better than his Master. May God teach us to follow obediently, and may He bring us to true humility. I once heard an old preacher say, ""You need to take sides with God against yourself.""   It's taken me awhile to learn what that means, but it's true. God is working in our best interest and we're working recklessly to mess Him up. Fortunately, He's bigger than we, and our faithful High Priest has attained for us those things we could never accomplish on our own.

Jim McClarty
McClartyfam@juno.com
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4. Maurice Bergeron

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; (5:5a)

Our Lord never sought the preeminence. This verse brings out that which is glorious concerning our sinless Lord. Unlike the multitudes of men and women who love to enjoy rule over others our Jesus “glorified not himself.”  For Him to do otherwise would be out of character.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. (John 7:18)

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: (John 8:54)

How can anyone seek their brethren’s good when they would inwardly and selfishly desire to rule over them?

 

Thou art my son, to day have I begotten thee. (5:5b)

I do not understand how Christ could not have served as the high priest of His people even before the cross, yet it is through His faithful cross work that the honor is secured. Remember this: Moses was instructed to make copies of the genuine article in the heavenlies. Aaron was, while he yet lived, a copy of the genuine.  "See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount" (Heb. 8:5).

 

As he saith also in another [place], (5:6a)

See Psalm 110:4, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

 

Thou [art] a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. (5:6b)

Though Melchizedek was no stranger to the Hebrew reader, it had to have come as a shock to the believing Hebrew that this Jesus, the carpenter’s son, was now to be honored and revered as High Priest of the New Covenant. It should be noted that many writers fail to emphasize that Melchizedek was more than just an High Priest. Let’s not neglect the fact that Melchizedek’s office was that of King/Priest. Our Jesus is dressed accordingly. He not only hears the cry of His people as their priest, He brings forth their bread and wine. Which of His saints is not satisfied? He commands His servants and they run to meet our need.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." And he gave him tithes of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

 

When he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears. (5:7a)

Never was there a need such as His. His crying and tears sprang from your burden and mine that He carried as God’s lamb. What lamb was ever a beast of burden? Yet the full weight of our sin was laid upon our Lord Jesus. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39b).

 

...in that he feared; (5:7b)

His was to do the Father’s will, and to do it perfectly. Not one task would be left undone.

 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience...(5:8a)

Oh that we may learn obedience as he learned. In His obedience did His Father delight.

The first thing which God requires of His child is obedience; and though you should give your body to be burned, and all your goods to feed the poor, yet if you do not hearken to the Lord's precepts, all your formalities shall profit you nothing. (Charles Spurgeon)

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Sam. 15:22)

 

By the things which he suffered. (5:8b)

We ought to thank God often that we need not suffer as Christ suffered. Yet He meets us in our sufferings.

 

And being made perfect. (5:9a)

There was a time when a young lad would be called to serve as a journeyman’s apprentice. The journeyman would teach the young man all the skills the young man would require to earn his own keep. The same cannot be said of our Lord. There was no skilled journeyman to teach him. Yet He learned obedience, suffered, and did all things perfectly. We rightly call him "Teacher."  Hear Nicodemus...

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:2)

 

He became the author of eternal salvation. (5:9b)

I love the use of the word “author” with regard to eternal salvation. This eternal salvation is His very own intellectual property. The unique idea was born in His very own mind. All praise and glory to thy name my Jesus, my love, my Messiah

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

 

...all them that obey him. (5:9c)

Miracle of miracles, those who were once accounted as disobedient are now found obeying Him. No question of Lordship is here to be entertained. The choice is to obey or perish.

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)

 

Called of God an high priest. (5:10)

When he had suffered he was called of God an high priest, or entered upon his priesthood. We are forever in His debt for, even as we read these words, we know He does yet intercede on our behalf.

What a priest is our Christ!! Our delight is to delight in Him.

Maurice Bergeron
ic@mdc.net
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5. Tim Clifton

To Offer For Sins (5:5)

Who may offer for sins? It can be only the one of God's own choosing! Aaron was chosen. Well, so was Messiah in Psalms 2:7, ""I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."" Messiah was indeed chosen by God. And this Messiah is none other than Christ Jesus! ""..He gave his only begotten Son.."" here in v.5 actually takes on the significance of credentials for our Lord.

 

Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (5:6)

And even more than that, let's go to the next verse, Psalm 110:4 and see it again! Verse 6/Ps 110:4 ""The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."" Here is one of those nuggets from Gill about the import and flavor of this verse to the Hebrew audience, ""..the psalm, from whence these words are taken, belongs to the Messiah, and this very passage is applied unto him by the Jewish writers....""  This is indeed major then to the Hebrew audience, who had seen the order of Aaron all their lives, and now sees God Himself giving Jesus the credentials of a Messianic order that had been accepted by them all their lives! But it is a change in order from that of Aaron to that of Melchizedek, and thus a change in the law under Aaron to whatever 'law' this new order entails. The summary of it is that Messiah may offer for sins, under an order given and ordained by God that is not of Aaron, the law, or of Sinai. I'm willing to guess that the readers who saw the order as Messianic were very eager to read the rest of the book to see this new order developed, and the author of Hebrews does exactly that!

 

...and was heard in that he feared; (5:7)

May I just look at one precious phrase here, and that being, ""and was heard...""  I'm so glad it says that in the Bible. I'm so glad that Christ was heard by the Father. Think of the consequences if He had not been heard! It would have meant failure for His mission and Hell for you and me! But Jesus had truly said, ""...And I knew that thou hearest me always,"" and because of that we will truly be delivered! Amen and Amen.

 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (5:8)

It was God's will that He suffer and die on a tree. ""Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second"" (Heb. 10:9). But this will of God, and even the suffering that must be a part of it, takes away the law that could never deliver this Hebrew audience (even though it was precious to them), and establishes the second. This is where the author is headed as he begins to develop the order of Melchizedek. The suffering of Christ as an offer for sins will connect the order of Melchizedek with the New Covenant, the New Jerusalem, and a better law than that of Aaron.

 

And being made perfect,....  (5: 9, 10)

We're not going to be left hanging with His suffering. His offer for sins was accepted. It satisfied the wrath of the Father toward His people. It is the happy ending to this passage, and certainly an excellent reason to forsake the old order for the new! Aaron was not perfect, but this Messiah, after a different order,  IS. We not only see Jesus here, we see Him as He truly is: perfect, and better, and worthy. His salvation will also be perfect. Sin will have no reign over this one or His kin. His salvation will be eternal, because HE is the author of it, and HE is perfect. If Hebrews ended here, it would be enough.

Jesus saves!

Tim Clifton
tclifton@hotmail.com
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6. Kevin Hartley

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (5:7-9)

Commentary:

In this next section we continue a subject matter from the previous chapter, Christ as High Priest touched by our feelings of infirmity. Verses 7 through 9 then are subordinate clauses tied to the argument of verses 5 and 6, which are a subsection of this treatise begun at the close of the fourth chapter. The Son is the subject of these verses and His sympathetic High Priestly service is the matter of address. Verse 1 gives us the clearest insight into the issue at hand; it is the service for men by the one appointed of God that mediates the content of our text. We are not given broad liberty in our discussion of the matter then, as contextually our author restricts both our inquiries and applications. We are to focus on Christ the Son of God and His High Priestly service on behalf of men for the remission of sins. Moderation is required, for we are not at liberty to haphazardly address issues which our text does not address; we are bound to consider the matter at hand.

One finds it difficult to restrict himself to the matter at hand when faced with the divine mystery which this text presents. For how is it that the Son was saved from death, feared, and learned obedience that He might be made perfect through suffering? These are proceedings that we look upon, marvel at, and place within the chasm of faith, knowing they are too wonderful to obtain. Thus let us be chaste in our inquiries that we do not miss the blessed application of this text. We have a High Priest who has become the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him.

Notice His labor; first we find the relative clause has its antecedent in Christ the Son, verse 5. We note that the sphere of our attention is focused upon ‘the days of His flesh,’ clearly constraining the address to His incarnation. Then we are further restricted by the coordinating conjunctions that further define ‘the days of His flesh,’ as the days when He offered up prayers and supplications with strong tears and crying unto Him who was able to save Him from death. Gethsemane is the place, the Father is the object of His prayers. That Christ’s obedience was the cause of His being heard is stated as apo thV eulabeias "apo ths eujlabeiva."  Robertson defines the word as ‘taking hold of.’ This is not the word for fear, but a word that speaks of reverence, and awe, and proper submission. He faithfully served His office well, with due obedience and humility.

The author, who has gone to great lengths to set Christ as Son in a most prized and lofty position, next states that ‘although He was a Son He still learned obedience through suffering.’  In no way is Christ here in His submission and servitude being relegated to a lesser glory, but what we are seeing is the great mercy and willingness of Him to take upon Himself such labors. Yet His labors were made complete in my mind at the cross, as the aorist participle ‘being made’ speaks of the completion of the event. It is through this obedience and faithful service that Christ has become the author of salvation, to those who through Him have learned obedience.

Application.

One is hard pressed to miss the application of this matter to the reader. It is obedience and faithfulness in suffering that Christ has known, and it is the mark of the one who knows salvation through Him. He who authors salvation saves them to the uttermost, and they are those who, by His labors,  are made obedient. The author of salvation has written such salvation with the eternal quill marked by obedience. He who first suffered has saved a people who know obedience.

Again the issue of   prolegomena "prolegomena" arises. What was the situation impugning upon the souls of the readers who were considering a most destructive course? They appear as a group that is under tremendous anguish and persecution in their day. What better to know than that the very Son of God, even He Himself,  underwent such trouble that He might demonstrate for us what form of salvation He authors; it is a persevering and obedient salvation. Those whom He saves obey Him. How blessed it is to know that He who first suffered has so written the pages of our book that we shall be an obedient people.

How sweet the mercy to know that the bloody sweat and precious tears of the Son of God did neither drop in vain nor in any way demean His glory. Rather, by His acquiescence,   we are made obedient as He was and are sealed unto that day. How sweet an author He is, the cause of our obedience. For an author is just that, the mediating cause of our salvation, which is a salvation that does make an obedient people. Ah sweet Sovereign, O blessed Son, how wonderful the divine mystery of the Godhead, the Father in His provision of His Son, willingly giving Him up to such a tutor as suffering, that He, by His majesty, might save us to the uttermost. For it is not a mere salvation that His obedience has wrought, but an eternal salvation. So obey Him. Suffer as He suffered, learning such things as is fitting the children of God. Delight to be like Him, take comfort that there was One as He who first did suffer on our behalf. Consider Jesus, the Christ, and the very Son of God, who is the author of our eternal salvation.

Solus Christus.

Kevin Hartley
kartleyk@erols.com
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7. Michael Cruz

So Christ did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my son; today I have become your Father."   And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."  (5:5,6)

In the same way that the other servants were not self appointed, but God called, just so, Christ was called of God to be our high priest. The glory was not of his own making but bestowed upon Him by God the Father. The writer presents two prophecies from the Psalms (2:7 & 110:4) that were fulfilled when God the son was born into human flesh. Having existed as the son of God from eternity past in Spirit, He became the only begotten of God in the flesh at the incarnation. He also became a high priest in the line of Melchizedek; the mysterious priest and king of Salem in the Old Testament who foreshadowed Christ's priestly and kingly nature.

 

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions to the one who could deliver him from death and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered....(5:7,8)

These verses should immediately turn our minds to the garden of Gethsemene where Christ poured out His soul on the eve of His death. In the gospel accounts of the night before Christ's death, we can put together a majestic picture of the obedient son who prayed for God's will even though he suffered doubt. In Mark we see that upon arriving at Gethsemene, He took Peter, James, and John along with him and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he confided in them. We know that he prayed that, if possible, the hour of his death might pass from him "Yet not by my will but by yours." This gives us a glimpse of the humanity of Christ from which we should not recoil. For we see in the book of John that in addition to his request for deliverance, that Christ also submitted to the Father's will (John 17:1-5). We see that through the obedience of placing His trust in the Father's will he became strong (Luke 22:48). He prayed for his disciples (John 17:6- 19) and, in John 17: 20-25, prays for all those who will believe in Him. From what can be gathered, He prayed for His father to take away His cup of suffering immediately upon entering the garden. On the heels of the doubts that He had about His mission, the strength that God gave him enabled him to bring forth the most sweeping and eloquent prayer of the Bible which teems with all of the qualities of God's electing and sovereign grace. Also in this prayer, He prayed for the Father's glorification through Himself, prayed for the disciples, and interceded for all believers. In this, He gives us a perfect example of how we should come before the throne of grace when we are tempted. I am not implying that Christ ever exuded anything other than the character of God (for without this we have no savior) but He acted in such a way as to give light to the world concerning how we should face temptation and trials. In many ways he was living out the verse, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." And cleansed He was so that we might see that the promise holds.  For on the heels of confessing, He came forth in full glory.

 

...and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him (5:9)

In one sense, Christ's sacrifice was always perfect as evidenced by the verse: "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world." But there is another aspect of this that should be examined. In Galatians 4:4, we hear of the "fulness of time" which is another way of saying that when the time was ripe, God sent his Son. This concept which explains the fashion in which God sent his son, also gives insight as to how Christ's sacrifice became perfect. We see in John 17:1, Mark 14:41, Matthew 26:45 and other places, that there were prophecies that had to be fulfilled before Christ's final sacrifice could come to pass. Once all these things were fulfilled, once he had relayed to us all that we needed to know, God allowed Him to be put to death and become our sin offering.

With His death we inherited three complete and perfect gifts:
1) Redemption - deliverance from the bondage of sin and the devil,
2) Reconciliation - restored our relationship with God as it was before the fall, and
3) Propitiation - turned away the wrath of God the father.

These things are eternal for all who will believe because they have no beginning and most importantly for us -- they have no end. We can be sure that "He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it," and we will enjoy Him forever.

 

...and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (5:10)

It is God the father who has designated Christ as high priest in the line of Melchizedek. It strengthens my confidence in Christ when I see the New Testament writers tie the work of Christ to types in the Old Testament, and I am able to see the pieces of God's plan come together. One of these is here in the relation of Christ to the high priest and King of Salem Melchizedek. As we look at the section of Genesis 14 concerning Abram and the mysterious priest and king, let us mentally replace the name Melchizedek with that of Christ. As Abram returns from rescuing Lot from Sodom he sits down with Melchizedek after he has brought out the bread and wine with which to bless Abraham. He also offers the words, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God, Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hands." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. What a marvelous picture of the Lord's last supper with the disciples. It is to this I say,

"Blessed be our god Most High, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our high priest in the order of Melchizedek."

Michael Cruz
a_la_cruz@technologist.com
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