Monday, August 23, 2010

Hebrews 5:1-10 - Christ, the Source of Eternal Salvation

by Katrina

LINK: Hebrews 5:1-10

I decided to split this chapter up and include verses 11-14 with chapter 6 tomorrow.

BACKGROUND
The author of Hebrews starts this chapter off with some important points about a good high priest.
  • He was human. God determined that a man (not another being, such as an angel) would be the liaison between God and man.
  • He was appointed by God, not taking it upon himself to take that position. This was not a position to be taken lightly!
  • His responsibility was to offer both the offerings (gifts) and the sacrifices for sin to God on behalf of men. Thus, he provided a way for man to access God. Through offerings, man could express thanks and praise to God. Through sacrifices, he could have his sin covered over in God's sight. The priest was the liaison who brought a man before his God.
  • He could relate to the issues of the human condition since he himself was weak. He was to be gentle with those who were struggling, not condemning them for their struggles. As priest, he would be very aware of his own sin and need for forgiveness and could direct people toward repentance and a right heart before God without beating them over the head.
  • He had to offer sacrifices to take care of his own sins, not just the sins of other people. This would keep him aware of his own sin, keeping him humble rather than becoming arrogant in his position.
Then, the author of Hebrews continues by identifying Christ as high priest. He was a priest appointed by God and subject to God's commands. But he was not a temporary priest for the span of a human lifetime. He was an eternal priest, one whose priesthood would never end. As high priest, He would offer the ultimate sacrifice for sins - Himself! And because He is an eternal high priest, offering the perfect sacrifice, He is the source of eternal salvation for mankind!!

So, who can receive this eternal salvation? All those who obey Him. Obedience is pretty much synonymous with belief in this context. (See Heb 4:2-6.) One who truly believes who God is, will obey Him. In John 3, Jesus said, "the Son of Man must be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, the He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him" (John 3:14-17).

Wow!! What a great salvation we have!! It will never, ever end!


(We will learn more about Mechizedek when we get to chapter 7.)

REFLECTION
There's another thing I noticed in today's passage that I would like to touch on here. Read verses 7-8 very carefully: "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered."

What does this teach us about prayer and how God answers it? Jesus prayed that He would not have to suffer physical death on the cross. He didn't just quietly ask, either. He cried out with tears, begging God to remove this requirement or to give Him the strength to carry it out. The Father was perfectly capable of sparing Him that death if He so chose. This passage tells us that the Father heard Jesus's prayers. Yet, God did still required Jesus to die on the cross.

Even the prayers of Jesus, the pleading and supplication of Jesus before God, was subject to the higher will of God. How much more are our prayers and pleadings subject to God's will? Never make the mistake of thinking that God has to answer  your prayers a certain way! But even more than that, just because God doesn't do what you want, doesn't mean He isn't listening.

Jesus knew that He came to earth to die on that cross. He knew God wasn't going to remove that suffering. But He also knew that He Himself had the power to stop it, as did the Father. Satan would tempt Him to stop the whole thing. His human side needed strength from God to go through with it. By doing God's will and dying on the cross, Jesus suffered greatly! And through that suffering, He learned obedience. The only way to learn obedience is by obeying! And obedience is what God expects of us. And helping us obey is one thing God is ready to do at a moment's notice!

Sometimes the way we learn to obey and the way to perfection is through suffering. Don't underestimate the power of God through your suffering!

APPLICATION
Spend some time today reflecting on the sacrifice of Jesus and the eternal salvation He provided for you.

Think about your prayer life. Do you recognize that your requests are subject to the will of God? We cannot demand things of God but must be willing to fully submit to His will.

If you are suffering today, it's not wrong to plead before God. Just remember that it's His will, not your own, that must be done. Carol talked in this post about developing a "theology of suffering." If you haven't done it yet, it's an excellent exercise! And you may find it very helpful.

PRAYER
Father, thank You for providing eternal salvation through Jesus, the perfect high priest. It's His sacrifice, His suffering, His obedience that has provided a way for my forgiveness. May I learn to obey You, my source of eternal life, always, in times of ease as well as in times of suffering. In the name of Jesus, amen.
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