Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 4:15-5:10

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February 16, 2003

First Church of the Brethren

H. Kevin Derr

Hebrews 4:15-5:10

“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.

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