The priesthood of the Lord Jesus was alluded to in Hebrews 2:17. After showing how He is greater than Moses and Joshua, the subject of His Priesthood is commenced in 4:14, where He is called “Our Great High Priest,” a title unique to the Son of God. In Chapter five, we learn that His Priesthood is after “the Pattern of Aaron” (vs 1-4), but after “the Order of Melchizedek” (vs 5 -10). As One who is greater than Aaron, we will see both comparisons and contrasts. Finally, from 5:11 to 6:20, we have another parenthetic section of warning and encouragement.
vs1-4 The Pattern of Aaron – Details of the Pattern of the Levitical High Priest
v1. He was selected from among mankind, so he can fully understand man’s need and sympathize with human weakness. Aaron had experienced Egyptian slavery and likely bore the scars of the taskmaster’s lash throughout his life. Christ bears the wounds of Calvary for ever. Aaron was appointed on behalf of mankind, to represent them before God: By offering gifts which expressed appreciation for God and His kindness; By offering sacrifices for sins of ignorance committed against a holy God who cannot overlook sin indefinitely.
v2. He could recognize Israel’s ignorance and was to teach God’s laws. He could understand Israel’s tendency to wander and was to be a shepherd to them. Aaron was bound by the same weaknesses as those to whom he ministered (Ex 32:206: Num 12:1-2).
v3. Aaron must offer for his own sins first, then for the people’s (Lev 16:6).
v4. Priesthood was an honor not humanly achievable, either by personal ambition e.g. Korah (Num 16:1-7). Uzziah (2 Chr 26:16-20) or by political appointment e.g. the priests of Bethel by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:31), Caiaphas (John 11:49) and Ananias (Acts 23:2-3) by Rome. Only God could confer the honor of priesthood.
vs5-10 The Order of Melchizedek
v5. Christ did not grasp after this honor for Himself; God glorified Christ in testifying to His Eternal Sonship (Psalm 2:7).
v6. God glorified Christ in testifying to His Eternal Priesthood. “A Priest for ever after The Order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4) 7-8 Christ’s Preparation for Official High Priestly Function;
v7. His manhood – “in the days of His flesh” (Hebrews 2:14-18) His dependence on God – “Offered up prayers and supplicants” His suffering – “strong crying and tears” in Gethsemane. His preservation – “saved out of death.” Why God heard Him – He feared” (reverential, holy, godly fear)
v8. What the Son learned by experience – the cost of obedience “to the extent of the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8).
v9. The result of the perfection or completion of His preparation. He “became the Author (the Active Cause) of eternal salvation:” He, with the Father, planned salvation in eternity; He accomplished salvation on the cross (John 19:28,30). He is God’s Salvation (Luke 2:30), both Savior and High Priest The scope of Salvation. It is eternal, It is available to all who obey Him (17:30-31).
v10. God formally addressed Him as “A High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek.” He is greater than Melchizedek, who is never called either “High” Priest or Savior.
vs11-14 The Difficulty of Teaching Stunted Believers
v11. The writer had much to teach them about this wonderful subject. It is difficult to explain it so they could understand it, because: They had become deaf, i.e. spiritually lazy and disinterested;
v12. They had reverted back to spiritual infancy; They still needed elementary teaching of first principles, when by this time, they should have been mature teachers; They could only digest milk, not the solid food suitable for the spiritually mature;
v13. Those who can only digest milk, i.e. elementary truths, are inexperienced in “the Word of righteousness,” having forgotten the doctrinal and practical truth that they had been taught. (Note! Peter’s exhortation (1 Pet 2:2) was for normal babes, those recently “born from above,” who needed to be fed “the pure milk of the Word” for normal spiritual growth.)
v14. Spiritually mature believers enjoy and profit from the solid food of deeper scriptural truths: Their spiritual faculties have been trained to distinguish good and evil teaching and practice.