This is a continuation of Hebrews 4–the superiority of Jesus Christ as High Priest.
The superiority of Jesus as High Priest. He is living. He is in heaven ministry for us. He is a compassionate High Priest. He was tempted yet was victorious. He never sinned in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Because of His ministry, we can come to the heavenly Holy of Holies and pray for God’s help and comfort. His throne is a throne of grace where we can find mercy and grace when we need it.
1 All high priests taken from among men are appointed for people in things [pertaining] to God, so that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins,
2 Being able to be gentle to those who are ignorant and those who have wandered away, for he himself is also encompassed with weakness.
[Here we have the duties of what a priest was to do. The Hebrew author speaks of the Levitical and Aaronic priesthood. Jesus is of the Melchizedek priesthood, but the duties are the same. The priests of Israel gave gifts and sacrifices to restore fellowship with God. It could not take away sins (Jesus’s sacrifice did take away sins). The priests of Israel were to be gentle, not rough bullies, shaming people, or sucking the life out of them. A sin in ignorance is still a sin and needs attention. The priests of Israel were to remember their own sins and thus help others. The priests of Israel were to seek those who had wandered away from the faith by answering questions, listening, and giving counsel as would be appropriate. The priests of Israel had to remember their weaknesses. Jesus is the perfect priest for all humans, not just Israel. He faced much suffering but never sinned. He understands. He listens. He does not forsake].
3 For this reason, he must bring an offering for his own sins just as he does for the people.
4 No one takes this honor for himself, instead [it is for] him who is called by God, like Aaron.
[See Exodus 28:1 and Numbers 3:3. God is the King of all kings and chooses those for these offices].
5 So also, Christ didn’t glorify himself to be made high priest, instead [it was] he who said to him, “Yous are my Son. Today, I have begotten yous.” [Psalm 2:7]
[Compare Jesus’s calling in Luke 4:18-19].
6 As he also says in another place, “Yous are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” [Psalm 110:4]
7 [Christ] in the days of his flesh, when he had offered requests and urgent appeals for help with intense cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death was heard because he feared.
[Ray Stedman writes on this verse:
There is, first, the total unexpectedness of this to the Lord. He had gone to the garden as was his custom, but there he suddenly began to be greatly distressed and troubled. Nothing like this is recorded of him before. In his anticipation of what he would be going through and his explanations of it to the disciples, he had never once mentioned Gethsemane. Furthermore, there is no prediction of this in the Old Testament. There is much that predicts what he would go through on the cross; there is not one word of what he endured in the garden.
In the midst of his bafflement, puzzlement, deep unrest of heart, and distress of soul, he does an unusual and amazing thing. For the first time in his ministry he appealed to his own disciples for help. He said to them, “Watch with me, pray with me.” He asked them to bear him up in prayer as he went further into the shadows, falling first to his knees and then to his face, crying out before the Father. There he prayed three separate times and each prayer is a questioning of the necessity of this experience. “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” He was beseeching the Father to make clear to him whether this was a necessary activity, so unexpected was this, so suddenly had it come upon him, baffling him, confusing him, bewildering him, just as sudden experiences and catastrophes come bewilderingly to us.
To deepen the mystery of this, there is the awful intensity of this struggle. This passage in Hebrews clearly implies that the Lord Jesus is here facing the full misery which sin produces in the heart of the sinner while he is yet alive, what we call “the sense of sin.” I think we can even analyze this further. The three-fold period of wrestling in the garden suggests that he was here being exposed to the full intensity of what makes sin in our lives so defeating, so unshakable, that which makes up a sense of sin: shame, guilt, and despair].
8 Even though he was a son, yet he learned obedience through the things which he suffered.
[Jesus, God the Son, didn’t need to learn anything. He knew everything and was its source. The learning mentioned here was His learning as a man, the Son of Man. Compare John 5:19-20. Obedience is much easier when it is a happy command. Obedience is much harder is there is opposition. See Philippians 2:8].
9 Having finished all this, he became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey him,
[An author is one who has an idea, thinks it out, and brings it into being. Only God can do such a thing regarding salvation, because no one seeks or can seek God (Romans 3:11). God initiates salvation. Salvation is of God. The Greek word for ‘obey’ is ὑπακούω hupakŏuō (G5219). It means to listen, then obey what we heard. As a nurse, I would phone the physician, give my assessment, answer questions, and the physician would reply with orders. It wasn’t good enough to just listen, even closely. I had to listen closely enough to write it down, enter the orders, do the orders, follow up on the orders, assess the orders and the patient. It is this kind of listening, hearing, and obeying of the Gospel. All hear in some way or form but refuse and reject. They don’t have time to be bothered now, they are too good to need a savior, they are enjoying their activities, their sins, their own ways. Beware of the warning found in Jesus’s parable in Luke 14:16-24. Don’t give excuses. God waits but He will not wait forever. His salvation is eternal. It never ends. He is always our Messiah. What He has promised will never end. God is the one who opens the heart and mind to hear the truth (Acts 16:14 and Luke 24:45). We must never suppress the truth (Romans 1:18)].
10 Having been verbally designated by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
[The Aaronic priesthood had weaknesses as the Hebrew epistle author will bring out later. The Melchizedek order is the new order. Jesus is of that order. Jesus was called and acted on that call. He was appointed with an oath from the Father Himself. He is the only priest of that order because He never dies (Hebrews 7:25). See Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 110].