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.Hebrews 5:1-10
The author of Hebrews now talks about the normal process of choosing and appointing a man to be the High Priest. Firstly, he must be a man chosen from among the people. He is not self-appointed and he must be able to deal with ignorant and wayward people. In other words he must have awareness of sin and his own weaknesses in order to understand the weaknesses and susceptibilities of the people. He must be a chosen humane human. Normally the High Priest presents offerings for himself first to ensure his sin is covered before he offers sacrifice for the people. This special man was chosen by God from among the other priests to be the High Priest as was the case with Aaron and all others who followed him in the role.
Such a man must have clear understanding of his own sin and his standing before God prior to any attempt to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Just look at what happened with Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phineas (1 Samuel 2:12-36). Any priest, but especially the High Priest, must have his own sin dealt with and that of his household. It is interesting that this criteria is what is applied to the pastors and leaders of the church in the New Testament.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrew Christians has introduced the criteria for the selection of High Priest firstly, dealing with their own sins and weaknesses. Secondly, the issue of being chosen rather than self-appointed. When addressing Jesus’ suitability for being High Priest, he deals with these two matters in reverse order.
1. Chosen and Appointed
In verse five the author tells us plainly and clearly that Jesus didn’t honour and appoint Himself. This is important. Despite Jesus being Son of God, He could not appoint Himself. So the author resorts to the passages in the Old Testament which make is clear that it was God who appointed Jesus to be High Priest.
“You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.”Psalm 2:7
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”Psalm 110:4
It is interesting that both of these Psalms are royal enthronement Psalms. Psalms which refer to the installation or appointment of the Chosen One, the King or the Priest. Are there better quotes to choose than these? Read the whole of each Psalm and ponder the process of God the Father’s involvement in the selection of the Son.
- 1Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
- 2The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one.
- 3“Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
- 4But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.
- 5Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury.
- 6For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”
- 7The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father.
- 8Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession.
- 9You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.’”
- 10Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
- 11Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.
- 12Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!
Psalm 110 (A Psalm of David)
- 1The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honour at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”
- 2The LORD will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies.
- 3When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew.
- 4The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
- 5The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts.
- 6He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; he will shatter heads over the whole earth.
- 7But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious.
Both of these Psalms are clearly about Christ as LORD, KING and PRIEST.
Notice the reference in verse six to the order of Melchizedek. Notice that that same statement is repeated again in verse ten. Now that is important!
Having established the fact that Christ was chosen and appointed by God to be King and High Priest, the author now addresses his first point. The fact that the Priest who acts as the representative of the people must be aware of his own weakness and sin and therefore must ensure that his own sin is covered before offering sacrifice and gifts (offerings) on behalf of the people. The author has much to say about this in the pages to come and he will help us in our understanding of this in all of what he has to say. But for the moment he reminds us of Christ’s intercessory role while he was on earth.
Jesus’ prayers and His obedience under suffering qualified Him to be the perfect High Priest, becoming the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey!
You can tell there’s more to come, can’t you?
But we are in for a surprise. Those of you who have read ahead know that.
Jesus knows you better than you know yourself because He has faced everything this world can throw at you. No One has humbled himself more.Ian
My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.John 17:9
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.John 17:20
Are you aware that Jesus stands at the right hand of God the Father interceding in prayer for you now? Take that thought into your day today. Suck it like a sweetie.Dr Basil Brown