Jesus, The Compassionate High Priest Hebrews Chapter 5 : Part 1

15 November, 2021

Hebrews chapter 5 shows that Jesus is greater than the High Priest Aaron.

Hebrews 5:1-4 says, ‘Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.’’’

In the verses above, the focus is on ‘Priesthood’.   Priesthood is not understood by many.. Priesthood as explained in Leviticus is very different from what we experience today. In the present times, there are no sacrifices as there is no Temple. Most denominations observe a priesthood which is neither from the Old Testament or the New. 

There are ten observation from the four verses above, and they are,

1. Every high priest is taken from among men. Hence to be a high priest himself, Jesus became a man, a mere mortal. 

2. The high priest is appointed for men itself. Hence a high priest represents man before God. 

3. The high priest does things pertaining to God. He is consecrated for God and is dedicated and separated for God’s ministry.

4. The high priest offers gifts and sacrifices for sins  to God for man. Gifts can include fruits to money, while sacrifices involve bloodshed  and unlike the New Testament which is of the spirit, the Old Testament is  about performing these sacrifices manually. 

5. The high priest can have compassion on those who are  ignorant and go astray. The high priest is a mortal human, who himself has weaknesses and shortcomings. Hence the high priest is able to show compassion to those who fall prey to their weaknesses and are ignorant. However, sometimes the high priest is bound by law to  punish the person who sins. What is absolutely great about our Jesus is that, even though he came down to the world as a mere mortal, he went through painful tests and temptations.  Hence Jesus is also able to show compassion to us as well, despite being sinless. This compassion is not rooted in his own sins and shortcomings but stems out of the tests and temptations that he had to battle. 

6. All High priests including Aaron the first high priest was a sinner. Aaron’s sins are written plainly; he was instrumental in making a golden calf which was  worshipped by the people and led them astray from the Lord. God showed tender mercy to Aaron. So before he offered sacrifices to people, he had to offer sacrifice for his own sins.

7. The high priest must offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of his sins and the sins of his family, before he offers sacrifices for the forgiveness of his people. 

Leviticus 16:1-6 says, ‘The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord. 2 The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover. 3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. 5 From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.

Unlike Aaron, Jesus does not have to offer sacrifices for his sins as he is sinless. All of Jesus’ sacrifice was for his people. Hence Jesus is able to be more compassionate and merciful than Aaron and is greater than Aaron.

8. No man can become the high priest by himself, but would need to be called and chosen by the Lord. There is no nomination or election.

9. Aaron was the first one to be called by the Lord.

10. Jesus is the most compassionate high priest.

It is only through the choosing of the Lord that one can become the high priest. A burning desire to become the high priest or a mother’s sacrifice is not sufficient enough. 

The history of priesthood can be traced to Jacob, who was Abraham’s grandson, was called by God to be “Israel”. Out of his twelve sons,the tribe of  Levi was chosen by the Lord to carry the sacred duty of priesthood. Levi had three sons Gershon, Kohath and Merari and all three of them performed different duties in the temple. Gershon took care of the tabernacle screen (veil), fence and curtains. Kohath took care of the tabernacle’s furnishings such as the lampstands, the altar of incense,  the ark of the covenant. Merari was in charge of the boards, the pillars of the tabernacle and the fence. (Numbers 

Moses and Aaron were descendents of Kohath. From Kohath’s descendents, Aaron was chosen as the high priest. Hence, as per lineage it is Aaron’s eldest son that inherits the right of becoming the high priest. But both Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were killed by God as they performed certain ungodly deeds. The priest hood falls on the next in line. It was  needed to have the right gene or DNA i.e. the right genealogy / lineage to be the High Priest. 

No one else was allowed to come to this priest hood. If they did, for example Korah and 250 of them who rebelled against this, was swallowed by the earth. Saul, who tried to perform the works of the high priest, was killed for his misdeed. King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26.16) also became a leper when he entered the temple to do high priestly duties.

However, Jesus was chosen by the Lord to be our High Priest.  

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About the Author

Ps. Damien Antony 

BRev. Damien Antonyorn and brought up in a Christian family, Ps. Damien Antony possessed an unquenching quest for truth right from his boyhood days and eventually his relentless search led him to the Bible. He is a Revival Preacher, Bible Teacher, Leadership Trainer, Author and a Life Coach. He moves under the anointing for Prophetic, Healing, Deliverance, Inner Healing and Financial Breakthrough. God has also blessed him with an Apostolic Mandate to take the Universal Body of Christ to the next level of revelation and anointing.