The Perfect Priest – Part III


HEBREWS 5:1-10

SUMMARY – “In 4:15-5:10 the writer takes up the declaration that Jesus had to become ‘a merciful high priest in the service of God’ (2:17). ‘Merciful’ implies the capacity to understand and to help those dependent upon His ministry, and is related by the writer to Jesus’ redemptive accomplishment. The emphasis is placed on Jesus’ full humanity and His solidarity with those who are exposed to weakness and temptation (4:15). Because He was exposed to testing as they are, He knows experientially what humiliation entails. That the One who has this fellow-feeling with the people of God appears in the presence of God as their high priestly advocate invests His compassion and help with a quality that guarantees they will be able to endure their situation and obtain the salvation promised to them.” – Lane

NAS Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

“ALTHOUGH” HELPS US UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE READING. The word introduces a further point to what has already been said. “Although He was like this (a Son), yet these things were necessary.” – John Owen.

JESUS HAD TO ENDURE SUFFERING IN ORDER TO SAVE those who would believe from their sins…

NAS Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

HERE AGAIN, IT MUST BE REMEMBERED THAT THE FOCUS IS NOT ON JESUS’ DEITY BUT ON HIS HUMANITY.  The gospel writer Luke tells us that as a child Jesus developed…

NAS Luke 2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

THAT “HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE” MEANS THAT THE SON ALWAYS SAID YES TO THE WILL OF THE FATHER. Obviously, as God Jesus did not need to learn anything.  But as man, Jesus “learned obedience” in the sense that He had arrived at a new stage of experience from he things which He suffered.  It was as if Jesus had to go through the school of suffering and complete His mission on earth before He could legitimately and, in a way that applies directly to our salvation, be called perfect.

“HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE FROM SUFFERING.” Please let that sink in. As we all know and will admit if we are honest, suffering is a very skilled and effective teacher.  We learn much more, we obey God more in times of suffering than we do in times of prosperity.  As many have said, “God whispers to us in our pleasure; He shouts to us in our pain.”  Many Christians, I think, have not comprehended this great truth.  Suffering is God’s main method in the process of sanctification as He makes us more Christlike (2 Cor 3:18).  We should be especially open to God’s teaching in our times of suffering.

“OBEDIENCE,” AS IT APPLIES TO JESUS REFERS NOT ONLY to the fact that throughout His earthly life He was perfectly obedient to the law of God, but it also means that Jesus humbled Himself and submitted His will to that of the Father.


NAS Philippians 2:6-8 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

HERE IS ONE OF THE MOST BASIC PRINCIPLES YOU CAN EVER LEARN: We are to humble ourselves before God and endure suffering – all and any suffering – so that God might teach us and mature us and perfect us in the image of Christ. Far too many Christians are prideful, and that is most probably in almost all cases the main reason why most Christians do not grow in their Christian lives…

NIV James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.


NAS Hebrews 5:9-10 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.


“IN EXTREMELY CONCISE STYLE, JESUS’ REDEMPTIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT AND EXPLANATION ARE EXPRESSED IN VV. 9-10. The temporal clause ‘and once made perfect,’ announces the validation by God of the perfect obedience that Jesus rendered as the priestly representative of the people. It reflects upon the sufferings by which He became a perfect high priest.” – Lane

JESUS WAS “MADE PERFECT” THROUGH THE SUFFERINGS HE ENDURED IN HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY. Here again, as with the word “learned,” we must understand “perfected” in the special way it applies to Jesus.  Jesus became perfect in the special sense that He completed the task at hand…

2:10 AGAIN…

NAS Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

AND NOW, BECAUSE HE SUFFERED, HE IS OUR PERSONAL PERFECT PRIEST. And this perfect priest is merciful and faithful…

NAS Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

CHRIST IS SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, BUT the salvation He offers and provides does not become reality for the individual until that person obeys His Word.  The emphasis here is not on the obedience of an individual command but a general obedience in responding to the requirements of Christianity. It is not an obedience to the law but an obedience of faith.  True obedience is first of all true believing.  The Greek word relates to the verb υπακουω (hoo-pa-koo-o) literally means “to hear under,” “to listen attentively,” “to hearken to.”  When we are obedient to Christ we hear what He is saying, pay attention to it, and then carry it out in our actions.  Disobedience is a refusal to hear (taken in great part from MacArthur…

NAS John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”


NAS Hebrews 5:10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

THERE IS YET ANOTHER FASCINATING AND SIGNIFICANT POINT IN VV. 9-10 OF HEBREWS 5… “The LXX (Septuagint – TAR, as are all of the parentheses in this paragraph) translators of the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the O.T.) gave to the Greek verb τελειόω (tel-ei-a-o) a special cultic (not an extremist cult, as the word might first bring to mind, but simply relating to organized religion or public worship) of consecration to priestly service (cf. Exod. 29:9, 29, 33, 35; Lev. 4:5; 8:33; 16:32; 21:10), and this official conception stands behind the word in Hebrews 5:9. It signifies that Jesus has been fully equipped to come before God in priestly action. Through His sufferings and the accomplishment of His redemptive mission, Jesus has been perfected by God as the priest of His people and exalted to the divine presence.” – Lane

NAS  Numbers 3:3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to serve as priests.

The Greek word τελειόω (tel-ei-a-o) lexically means to complete, bring to its goal, fulfill, perfect.

NAS  John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish (τελειόω) His work.


THE WRITER OF HEBREWS CONCLUDES HIS DISCUSSION about the high priesthood of Christ with another reference to the priesthood of Melchizedek.  The subject of Christ’s high priesthood in the order of Melchizedek will occupy more than one sermon to follow.  The writer tells his readers and us that this subject is “hard to explain”…

NAS Hebrews 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

THE OLD COVENANT WITH ITS EARTHLY TABERNACLE and its imperfect priesthood has been gloriously superseded by the sinless Savior Jesus Christ.  He is our perfect all-powerful Advocate in heaven and our mediator of “a better covenant” on earth…

NAS  Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

NAS Hebrews 7:25 Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

JESUS IS PERFECTLY QUALIFIED TO BE THE HIGH PRIEST. He was appointed by God the father.  He offered the sacrifice of Himself as a once and forever payment of our sins.  And He is uniquely and supremely sympathetic with us in our trials and sufferings.

WHATEVER YOU ARE SUFFERING, THE PERFECT HIGH PRIEST UNDERSTANDS completely, sympathizes entirely, and makes available the mercy and grace you need to endure it successfully.  When properly studied, seen in its context, and meditated upon within the framework of our individual lives, Hebrews 5:1-10 becomes to us an exceedingly wonderful and personally beneficial passage of comfort and encouragement.  When we contemplate both the humanity and deity of the perfect priest we realize just how extremely blessed we are!

THE PERFECT PRIEST… Today and forever, “O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!” – O Come, All Ye Faithful

– Professor Thomas A. Rohm