Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hebrews 5

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Jesus the Great High Priest [cont.] (v. 1-10)

Every high priest offers sacrifices to God for sins on behalf of his men. He is able to deal with his men gently because he has similar weaknesses himself. The high priest is also obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sin, which is an honor that can only be given directly from God. This honor had been given to Aaron, and Jesus has it as well since he's the son of god.

To cut to the heart of the matter here, one of the things being said is that even the high priest has to deal with the same difficulties as his followers, and he should use this as a basis for compassion and empathy for those people. This is a good message, and even though in this case it is specifically talking to the high priest, I don't see any reason why this message can't apply to anyone. "Consider your own difficulties and have compassion for others who you see struggling", something like that.

As far as the sacrifices, I wonder what exactly we are talking about here. My understanding is that once Jesus died on the cross, sacrifices are no longer necessary. But perhaps that only applies to animal sacrifices? I'm hoping the Christian commentaries will help me out here. Between this and the 'rest' thing from the last 2 days, it seems that Hebrews focuses a lot of old testament stuff, it's like Hebrews is being written to the old school folk of the day who don't like change.

Guzik points out that the phrase 'gifts and sacrifices' is used in verse 1, reminding us that not every sacrifice was a blood atonement. This is interesting, but it still uses the word sacrifice. I'm not yet satisfied.

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown indicate that we are indeed talking about an animal sacrifice. I also looked at the lexicon, which indicates that the sacrifice we are talking about is 'thuo' which does indeed mean an animal sacrifice.

Jesus did not seek out to be a priest, but he was appointed.

I suppose this is a good thing, I remember Worf talking about how the truly great don't seek power, but instead have power thrust upon them when Martok became the Chancellor of the Klingon empire. 

When Jesus was flesh, he begged God to save him from death, but he learned obedience and through suffering he became perfect and the source of salvation for all.

Lots of stuff here I don't like, obedience is the most important thing, suffering is good, and the whole idea that Jesus can pay for your sins.

Also, TWF pointed out in a previous post that this passage seems to be pointing at David being the high priest and not Jesus, although it is fairly ambiguous so it is difficult to make a very strong case.

Warning Against Apostasy (v. 11-14)

This actually doesn't seem to say much on it's own but instead leads in to chapter 6, I'm going to group it with tomorrows reading.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


5:2 Consider your own weakness when you see other's struggling with theirs

"He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness."


5:8 Obedience is the most important thing and suffering is good

"Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered."

5:9 Justice by proxy

"And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him"


  1. I would imagine that this book references the OT a lot in order to appeal to what is presumably it's targeted audience, the Jewish people. It is called Hebrews.

    I think the only part about this chapter I liked as well was the small part about being able to relate to people who have the same weaknesses. It's much easier to relate to someone who is going through something when you've been through whatever they're going through.

    1. I think you are right about the OT references. This is one of the times that it would have been nice to have started from the beginning rather than from Matthew.


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