“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
“And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.”
The purpose in referring to the old testament priesthood was to show that the ministry of Jesus is far superior to their ministry. However, by bringing these verses to our attention the text gives some key insights into serving the Lord. There are four words in these two verses that are worthy of our consideration. We are told the priests were “taken” and “appointed.” This means they were chosen out of the tribe of Levi, and the family of Aaron, and set apart for the service of God. Next we are told their service was an “honor” and a “calling.” No one could step into this service apart from the sons of Aaron. It was the highest of all callings and carried with it the greatest honor.
I think in some ways we have lost sight of the call of God. It seems to me many of us have a “take it or leave it” attitude when it comes to serving the Lord. We may sense that God is stirring us to get involved in serving in one capacity or another only to put it off because we think we are not qualified, it is not important, or we will one day get around to it. We need to have a better understanding of the call of God.
Notice we are told, “no man takes this honor unto himself”. When it comes to Christian service the sovereignty of God plays a critical role. In the Priesthood it was God who selected the family of Aaron from the tribe of Levi. When it comes to New Testament ministry we are told the Holy Spirit gives us gifts “individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11 KJV). Those gifts are given so ministry might be accomplished. When you sense a stirring within you to get involved in service recognize that as the high call of God.
When this life comes to its end we will care very little about the time we kept for ourselves but we will revel in the time given to the Lord, in the service of others.
Questions for Hebrews 5
In chapter 1&2 we saw that Jesus is greater than angels. In chapter 3 we see that He is greater than Moses. Chapter 4 shows us that He provides a better rest than Sabbath day rest and Promised Land rest. In this chapter we see that He is a greater High Priest.
- Notice verse 1. What it the prerequisite of a high priest in this verse? What is his job?
- How does the high priest being a man affect his ability to minister to others? (verse 2)
- Notice verse 4. As with the high priest, we can only be and do what God has called us to. What has He called you to?
- Verse 5 and 6 quote two Old Testament psalms. Both of these psalms are considered “Messianic” psalms; psalms that clearly refer to the promised King/Priest that God would send to rescue His people. Read Psalm 2 and 110.
- Verse 7 and 8 seem to refer to the prayers of Jesus during His suffering, and His obedience to His Father’s plan in spite of the pain and difficulty. To see Jesus prayer from the cross, read Matt 27:20-50, especially verse 46, and compare this with Psalm 22. To see Jesus’ prayers from the garden, read Matt 26:36-44.
- The author scolds the Hebrews for the slowness of their growth in verses 11-14. We grow physically by eating food. How do we grow spiritually? Look up 1Peter 2:2 and Matt 4:4.