Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 4:15-5:10
February 16, 2003
First Church of the Brethren
H. Kevin Derr
“A High Priest worthy of our Faith”
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let
us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find
grace to help us in our time of need. 1Every high priest is selected from among men and is
appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is
subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the
sins of the people. 4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as
Aaron was. 5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But
God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. 6And he says in another
place,“ You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 7During the days of Jesus’ life
on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could
save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was
a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the
source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest
in the order of Melchizedek.
When we hear the name Jesus, we do not often ruth to think of Jesus as our High Priest.
We often seem to avoid thinking of Jesus in terms that reflect the Old Covenant. And there is,
here, in the Author of Hebrews thought, the powerful notion that the Old Covenant is past and
that the New Covenant is now upon us. You will see it here in today’s text that a new priesthood
has replaced the Old. The Old Covenant is typified by the priesthood of Aaron, Moses brother,
and the first priest of the tabernacle and later the temple. It was the line of Aaron who supplied
all the priests up to the time of the destruction of Herod’s temple in 70 A.D.
Yet, we see a new order of the priesthood established, or perhaps it would be better to
say re-established. The new priesthood is of the Order of Melchizedek. It is in this line that
Jesus is the new High Priest. You’ll no doubt remember that Melchizedek appears in Genesis
14, and in truth he has a small role. He is the King of Salem, or the King of Peace, but he is also
identified as the High Priest of God Most High. More than this we do not know anything of him,
he has no family listed, he has no genealogy, he is not a servant of Abram, he is in fact a King in
his own right. And at the same time a High Priest. He precedes the law, the covenant of
circumcision. After this account, Melchizedek who’s name meas King of Righteousness,
disappears from all biblical accounts, that is until the priestly line of Melchizedek is again re-
established with the High Priesthood of Jesus, a priesthood with no law, no temple.