March 5 - Hebrews 5
CHAPTER SHIFT - Of course we know that chapters and verses were not part of the original scriptures, but were added over the centuries. These divisions certainly make it easy to find a specific text within the Bible, but, as is the case today, the divisions do not always seem to be placed in the right spots. Chapter 5 should start in 4:14 and extend to 5:10, and chapter 6 should start at 5:11. This is how we'll Dig Deeper into these passages.
WHY DO WE NEED A PRIEST? A priest is a man anointed (we could also say appointed or ordained) to act as a mediator between sinful man and our Holy God. The priest would offer sacrifices to illustrate atonement (payment/satisfaction) for the sins of the people, and then would communicate God's grace and mercy back to the people. Hebrews goes to great lengths to point out that Jesus Christ was the ultimate priest: He didn't just illustrate atonement, He fully paid for our sin and 'became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey [believe in] him' (5:9). This is why Protestant churches do not use the term 'priest' to refer to clergy; Christ is the only high priest we need.
JUST LIKE US, EXCEPT FOR ONE SIGNIFICANT DETAIL: Jesus, our high priest, experienced the same sort of temptations you and I do... if fact, even worse (you and I have not been tempted by Satan himself after fasting for forty days)! He knows exactly what it's like to be you, and even more than a human priest, He will 'deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray' (5:2). Yet human priests had one big (huge) problem: they were just as sinful as the people the represented, and therefore they had their own sins that kept them separated from God (5:3). The key difference between Jesus and us is that Jesus 'did not sin' (4:15). He had the perfect righteousness God demands, and as we'll learn, when you believe in Him, that righteousness is given to you!
MEL-KIZ-A-WHO? In 5:6 & 10 we are introduced to one of the most mysterious characters of the Bible: Melchizedek. Don't worry if you don't know very much about him... nobody really does. We'll look at him closer in chapter 7 .
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: A Holy God who has graciously allowed sinful people to be made holy through the completed sacrifice of our final high priest, Jesus Christ.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Obey Jesus - believe in His Name (v9).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: Approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that you may receive mercy and grace to help you in your needs (v16).