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1-3 The Jewish high priest is merely a man like anyone else, but he is chosen to speak for all other men in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers to him the blood of animals that are sacrificed to cover the sins of the people and his own sins too. And because he is a man, he can deal gently with other men, though they are foolish and ignorant, for he, too, is surrounded with the same temptations and understands their problems very well.

Another thing to remember is that no one can be a high priest just because he wants to be. He has to be called by God for this work in the same way God chose Aaron.

That is why Christ did not elect himself to the honor of being High Priest; no, he was chosen by God. God said to him, “My Son, today I have honored you.”[a] And another time God said to him, “You have been chosen to be a priest forever, with the same rank as Melchizedek.”

Yet while Christ was here on earth he pleaded with God, praying with tears and agony of soul to the only one who would save him from premature[b] death. And God heard his prayers because of his strong desire to obey God at all times.

And even though Jesus was God’s Son, he had to learn from experience what it was like to obey when obeying meant suffering. It was after he had proved himself perfect in this experience that Jesus became the Giver of eternal salvation to all those who obey him. 10 For remember that God has chosen him to be a High Priest with the same rank as Melchizedek.

11 There is much more I would like to say along these lines, but you don’t seem to listen, so it’s hard to make you understand.

12-13 You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others, but instead you have dropped back to the place where you need someone to teach you all over again the very first principles in God’s Word. You are like babies who can drink only milk, not old enough for solid food. And when a person is still living on milk it shows he isn’t very far along in the Christian life, and doesn’t know much about the difference between right and wrong. He is still a baby Christian! 14 You will never be able to eat solid spiritual food and understand the deeper things of God’s Word until you become better Christians and learn right from wrong by practicing doing right.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 5:5 honored you, literally, “begotten you.” Probably the reference is to the day of Christ’s resurrection.
  2. Hebrews 5:7 premature, implied. Christ’s longing was to live until he could die on the cross for all mankind. There is a strong case to be made that Satan’s great desire was that Christ should die prematurely, before the mighty work at the cross could be performed. Christ’s body, being human, was frail and weak like ours (except that his was sinless). He had said just a few moments before, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death.” And can a human body live long under such pressure of spirit as he underwent in the Garden, that caused sweating of great drops of blood? But God graciously heard and answered his anguished cry in Gethsemane (“Let this cup pass from me”) and preserved him from seemingly imminent and premature death: for an angel was sent to strengthen him so that he could live to accomplish God’s perfect will at the cross. But some readers may prefer the explanation that Christ’s plea was that he be saved out from death at the resurrection.

Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God,(A) to offer gifts and sacrifices(B) for sins.(C) He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray,(D) since he himself is subject to weakness.(E) This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.(F) And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.(G)

In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory(H) of becoming a high priest.(I) But God said(J) to him,

“You are my Son;
    today I have become your Father.”[a](K)

And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.(L)[b](M)

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions(N) with fervent cries and tears(O) to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard(P) because of his reverent submission.(Q) Son(R) though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered(S) and, once made perfect,(T) he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest(U) in the order of Melchizedek.(V)

Warning Against Falling Away(W)

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths(X) of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!(Y) 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant,(Z) is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature,(AA) who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.(AB)

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 5:5 Psalm 2:7
  2. Hebrews 5:6 Psalm 110:4

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