Daily Devotion in Hebrews 5
During Old Testament times, there were priests who served as mediators between God and man, presenting their prayers and sacrifices to Him. Before Moses, the priests’ duties were often done by the head of a household, as did Job, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. During Moses’ day, God appointed priests from the Levite lineage. This practice was intended only to continue until the perfect priest came, Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament priests were not perfect. Their limitations were because:
- They were ordained (“appointed by”) by men, although they were of an ancestry ordered by God (Hebrews 5:1). Not just any man could be a priest.
- They had to go to God with sacrifices and gifts (Hebrews 5:1, 3). The offerings were not a one-time gift. They had to be offered more than once. They were only temporary appeasements to a Holy God.
- The priests themselves were sinners. They also had to give an offering for themselves (Hebrews 5:2, 3).
- Soon the priesthood stopped. The sacrifices halted. Intercessory prayers and gifts to God ceased, but man still desperately needed a mediator between him and God.
- God then sent mankind the perfect priest. Man did not appoint him. That priest only had to make one offering for ALL of man’s sins. That sacrifice covered sins past, present, and even into the future. This priest was not of Levi’s lineage. He was very much like a priest of Abraham’s time — Melchisedec.
Like Melchisedec, whose name means “king of righteousness,” this God-appointed priest was the real King of righteousness. This priest was the only God-appointed priest. This priest was God’s only begotten son — Jesus! Jesus’ one-time sacrifice that never had to be re-offered was His own life.
Unfortunately, many have not allowed God’s High priest to be the sacrifice for their sins. Too many have rejected Jesus and are still appointing priests. No matter what those sincere people offer to God, it will be refused by the Creator. They are doing it their way and are rejecting the one-time sacrifice Jesus made for them on Calvary’s cross.
The Old Testament priesthood was for another time, a time before God had sent the perfect priest. Today we have the privilege of going to that High Priest, which is not sitting in some earthly temple or church but is sitting at the right hand of the Father, in Heaven. We can accept His offering on the cross to cover all our sins. After we have accepted Him as our Saviour, we can go to Him anytime with our prayers and needs. We no longer need an imperfect middle man. We have the perfect mediator — Christ Jesus.
“Jesus knew that He had come to kindle a fire on earth ... He saw that what was exalted among man was an abomination before God.” — Walter Rauschenbush
Words to Understand:
Infirmity: weakness due to illness or a physical disability
Oracles: prophecies or writings understood to be infallible
1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10 ¶ Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.