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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 5

Verses 1-11

  1. Slide#3 Intro: [I’ll explain our title: munis triplex later]
    1. Ch.1,2 dealt w/Jesus being Greater than Angels & the Prophets.
      Ch.3,4 dealt w/Jesus being Greater than Moses (Jews favorite/greatest Prophets). Now…
      Ch.’s 5-10 all deal w/Jesus being Greater than Aaron the High Priest. [Started in 4:14]
    2. See, you don’t go before a judge w/o a lawyer, and you don’t go before God w/o a priest.
      1. Confidence rests in your counselor. The better your attorney the more likely you’ll be to win a favorable verdict.
      2. Thus, the better the priest the more likely you’ll be able to win the favor of God. (Sandy Adams, Podcast, Heb.5)
        1. The writer takes the logical step then in showing Christ’s qualifications for this role.
    3. Quick look at OT priesthood.
      1. Here’s what a regular priest looked like in his garments.
      2. Now take a look at he the High Priests garments. They were endowed with immense & spiritual significance. [Ex.28 explains]
        1. 1st they donned a linen tunic. Over it was placed a robe of blue. Attached to its hem were pomegranates woven from blue, purple, & scarlet yarn, placed intermittently between small golden bells that rang musically. Then a richly woven sash held the robe in place. Next, a beautiful apron-like ephod. On each of its shoulders it bore a large onyx stone, set in gold, with the names of the 12 tribes engraved on them. Over it a breastplate bearing 12 stones representing & inscribed with the 12 tribes of Israel. Lastly, the priest was crowned with a turban of fine linen, bearing a plate of pure gold Slide#5 with the Hebrew inscription HOLY TO THE LORD.
      3. What an impressive sight when the high priest came approaching the Temple, ringing musically with every step.
        1. Even more impressive was the profound spiritual significance of him bearing the weight of Israel on his shoulders & over his heart. And of course that scary bulletin-board reminder on his forehead that HE, the High Priest, was HOLY TO THE LORD...the summary of his great task.
    4. Jesus is Superior to Aaron in 3 ways: Jesus has...A Greater Appointment. A Greater Compassion. A Greater Sacrifice.
    1. Outline: The author of Hebrews Compares and Contrasts the high priestly ministries of both Aaron and Christ.
      1. Let no one attempt to go to God but through Jesus, nor expect any favor from God except upon His merits.
  2. COMPARISONS (1-4)
    1. Here we have the qualifications of a priest:
    2. Slide#8a He must be human (1a,4) – taken from among men & no man
      1. Since he is appointed to represent them, before God.
    3. He must be appointed & called by God (1b,4)
      1. You couldn’t make yourself priest.
    4. He offered gifts & sacrifices for sins (1c)
      1. This helps to take care of man’s alienation from God, created by sin.
    5. He must have compassion/deal gently w/ignorant & those going astray (2a,3)
      1. Have compassion on, or To deal gently with. To have feelings in the right measure. (LKGNT)
        1. Aristotle (384-322 bc) the famed Greek philosopher, who was a pupil of Plato, used this Greek word 3 centuries earlier in the sense of...moderating one’s feelings or passions to avoid excess either of enthusiasm or impassivity.
        2. ​​​​​​​The priest was not to pass over the sin of his fellow man w/o any regard at all; however, he was not to allow himself to be caught up in his passion & pity for the sinner but he is rather to have a controlled feeling of sympathy.
        3. This is the capacity to moderate one’s feelings to avoid the extremes of cold indifference and uncontrolled sadness.
          1. Application - I think this is very important in counseling.
            1. Calloused vs. too emotional to give right advice.
            2. Also, in raising children. Or, in making decisions.
            3. Slide#10 Do you have feelings in the right measure?
    6. He must have experienced infirmities of the flesh (2b-3).
    7. So, the author of Hebrews moves from Comparison to Contrasts in the high priestly ministries of both Aaron and Christ.
      1. See, for 1000’s of years the Jews had looked to the sons of Aaron to serve as high priest. Here we learn Jesus is the perfect High Priest.
      2. The Levitical priests were men stained with sin.
        1. When they burned a sacrifice for the sins of the people they 1st had to burn 1 for themselves
        2. The people lacked confidence in their priest. The priest were no more righteous than the people.
      3. The sons of Aaron became priests by selection rather than by election. God choose them to be priest. But God has also selected Jesus to be a priest. Not a Levitical priest but a perfect priest.
  3. CONTRASTS (5-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​Only Christ is called God’s Son (5) You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
    2. Only Christ was given an everlasting priesthood (6a) You are a priest forever…
      1. ​​​​​​​This reminds us here of one more office that Jesus fulfilled, in what is called in Latin munis triplex [not 3 distinct offices, but 3 functions of the 1 office of mediator] The 3 offices were:
        1. Prophet – who speaks to the people for God.
        2. Priest – who speaks to God for the people. A go between. (who also offers sacrifices, prayers, & praises to God on behalf of the people)
        3. King – who ruled over the people but is himself ruled by God [Oh wait, that’s profound. Can you imagine anyone who “rules over people”, if they only did so, to the extent to which they were “ruled over by God”] i.e. Husbands in marriage. Bosses @ work. Mayors of cities. Presidents of nations.
          1. Of course Jesus fulfilled all 3 offices. Here priest is emphasized.
        4. Christ fulfills these three offices in the following ways:
          1. As Prophet He reveals God to us and speaks God’s words to us.
          2. As Priest He both offers a sacrifice to God on our behalf and is Himself the sacrifice that is offered.
          3. As King He rules over the Church and over the universe as well.
    3. Only Christ was made a priest after the order of Melchizedek (6b,9-10)
      1. (10) Jesus could not serve as priest on earth being from the tribe of Judah (i.e. not from Levi); but He can serve as priest in heaven (According to the order of Melchizedek).
        1. And He is priest today, in heaven, for you, believers.
      2. More on Melchizedek in ch.7. For now, remember that in Gen.14 he was both King of Salem & Priest of God Most High.
    4. Only Christ cried out to God in Gethsemane (7-8) Read all of vs.7
      1. ​​​​​​​Weakness in Gethsemane/oil-press (olive pits crushed for oil).
      2. Sin (not His) but the world’s sin on the cross.
      3. He was heard? Really...uhh they still killed him!
        1. ​​​​​​​Luke tells us that in Gethsemane, when he prayed 3 times for the cup to pass, before the 3rd prayer an angel was sent to strengthen Him (thus, the Father answered, not by taking away the cup, but by helping Him to endure the cup).
        2. Will he respond to your prayers any different?
    5. (7b) Jesus was heard because of his reverent submission - Jesus was heard in his deepest woe(Gethsemane). And, my soul, shall also be heard.
    6. (9) He became the author/the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him –
      1. The salvation here is the inheritance spoken of in Heb.1:14.
      2. It should not be confused with gaining of eternal life, which is conditioned not on obedience but on faith.
      3. Once again he had in mind final deliverance from and victory over all enemies.
        1. This kind of salvation is explicitly contingent on obedience and indeed on an obedience modeled after that of Jesus who also suffered.
    7. (8) He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
      1. What was the result of Christ’s suffering? (He learned obedience)
      2. What does he mean by this? (It doesn’t mean He was a disobedient Son; but in His suffering He learned the full meaning & cost of his obedience)
      3. How does this help “us” to take a positive attitude toward suffering? (we’ll learn obedience)
    8. Communion:
      1. ​​​​​​​Bread - Jesus when you came as The Bread of Life. Your goal was for us to partake of You, so we could follow You, so we could commune with you.
        1. Forgive us for...the ultimate sin of not following alongside You. Not communing in close proximity to Your presence.
      2. Cup - As our Prophet - Ty for communicating truth from Your Father to us.
        1. As our Priest -Ty for mediating/being our go-between, for speaking to God for us. For offering Yourself as a sacrifice, & for actually becoming that sacrifice.
        2. As our King - Ty for Your kingship, ruling over: our lives, our church, The church, our city, our nation, our world.

Verses 12-14

  1. Intro:
    1. I read an NBC News article entitled, “Big Baby Boom: Supersize Deliveries Have Doctors Worried.” Over the last few decades there’s been a spike in developed countries of the birth of big babies.
      1. Last year a Pennsylvania woman had a 13 lbs 12oz little girl. A German baby weighed in at 13.5 lbs. And here in California came the biggest baby our state has seen, tipping the scales at 16lbs, 1.7 oz (name on screen)
      2. In March last yr a British mom delivered “little George,” who weighed 15 lbs, 7oz. They took back his infant clothes, and brought him home in PJs meant for a 6 month old. At six weeks George was 26” long.
        1. Today, hospitals are seeing a rash of big babies, but so are churches.
        2. We’ve got bloated believers with lots of fat. They know a lot, but they need to apply Slide#8 what they know...turn it into muscle. The message here...Stop being a big baby!
    2. Did/do you have a child that was the thumb sucker? Or, was bound to mr. Binkey? Or, inseparable from mr. Blankey? Do you remember what it took to separate them from it?
    3. But besides those few situations, usually kids are anxious to grow up.
      1. When you’re 4 or 5 years old...you don’t want to be called a baby.
      2. When you’re at Magic Mountain you don’t want to be 1” under that line.
      3. The years out of High School, you desperately want to be respected as an adult.
    4. Slide#10 Outline: 1st the writer describes their Spiritual Immaturity (5:11-13); then shows them what Spiritual Maturity looks like (14); then 6:1-3 tells them How to Attain It, Spiritual Ambition
      1. The author is using terms of human development to describe the readers’ development in faith.
  2. SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY (11-13)
    1. (11) Dull - Slow, sluggish. Opp. of keen of mind or sharp.
      1. Yes, one of the greatest crimes in the church today is dull teaching, but that isn’t the issue here...it’s dull hearing. It’s the listener.
      2. And notice, they had become dull. It didn’t start that way.
        1. When you 1st get saved, you are excited to learn of these new fresh truths, you’re intensely attentive & extraordinarily excited.
        2. But after the newness dies down, so does, often times...our listening.
          1. Slide#12 Spurgeon said, “Off go the wonder-hunters. Folly brought them; folly removes them. Babies must have new toys.”
    2. (12) Teachers – Not nec. literally, not a prof of theology. It meant to have a grasp of a subject.
    3. First Principles have a variety of meanings:
      1. In grammar this meant the letters of the alphabet (the ABC’s).
      2. In Physics it means the 4 basic elements of which the world is composed [fire/earth/water/air]
      3. In Geometry it means the elements of proof like the point & the straight line.
      4. In Philosophy it means the 1st elementary principles w/which the students begin.
        1. We’re to keep, The plain things as the main things, & the main things as the plain things.
        2. So his complaint is that his hearers have been Christians for many years & are still babes & no nearer maturity.
        3. He’s face-to-face w/a problem that faces the church in every generation...the Christian who refuses to grow up. [Perpetual Adolescence, Peter Pan Syndrome]
        4. Slide#13 Warren Wiersbe said, “The ABC’s of the Christian life are important, but they must be a launching pad & not a parking lot.”
        5. Spiritually, Their ladders didn’t reach the top. Their spiritual lights were on but nobody was home. They were a few French-fries short of a happy meal.
    4. They lacked spiritual molars to munch solid food.
      1. Spiritually how do you graduate from milk to meat? Obedience is the spiritual growth hormone. Take what you learn & apply it to your life; then repeat the process 2morow.
        1. ​​​​​​​It’s when we go from Bible Study to Bible Obedience.
  3. SPIRITUAL MATURITY (14)
    1. ​​​​​​​By reason of use/practice – Speaking not of the process but of the results.
      1. Spiritual atrophy works the same as physical atrophy...use it or loose it.
    2. Some Christians refuse to grow up in knowledge, & refuse to grow up in behavior.
      1. Don’t be like the surgeon who refuses to use any new techniques or new equipment.
      2. Don’t be like the physician who refuses to use any new drugs on the market.
      3. Do you work in a progressing trade/business? Most do. [usually no growth, or no change = eventual death in business]
        1. In religious things it is even worse. Why? Because God is infinite; the riches of God are unsearchable; and to the end of the day, we should be moving forward.
      4. God isn’t interested in our success. He is interested in our maturity.
        1. Eph.4:14,15(NIV) Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
    3. Now, don’t walk away sad if this is speaking to you baby saint. Don’t cry over spilt milk. Dig again...& dig deeper.
      1. When they drill our wells for water4abillion, a good well driller won’t stop when they first hit water. Why not? If the water table lowers it is going to go dry or get muddy. He’ll drill deeper, until the water is clear, pure, & plentiful.
      2. Are our lives too shallow? Let’s commit to going deeper…going farther.
    4. Did you know there are 56 steps leading up to the Lincoln Memorial? One for each year of Lincoln's life. Ask yourself...Is each year of your life a step leading to higher ground?
      1. As Tozer said, You’re only as Holy as you want to be!
    5. KP Yohanan told this story this week about his mother.
      1. She prayed for 1 of her sons, out of 6, to be a missionary. Every Fri, for 3 1/2 yrs, she fasted for this. 5 brothers became business men. She gave up hope in little KP.
      2. One day before she died KP was upset w/her, mother why do you where a stitched up dress? when your sons sent you $ every week. He found out she spent all her money from her sons to fund bible college students & missionaries. All she had in the end was a ring & a few other pieces of jewelry, & she told KP, sell them when I die to reach those who do not have the gospel...I want to meet them in heaven.
        1. ​​​​​​​I want to know how to reach that level of spirituality? or do I?
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Hebrews 5". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/hebrews-5.html. 2017.