A Flawed Human Priesthood: Hebrews 5:1-4
“1) For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; 2) he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness; 3) and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. 4) And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.” Hebrews‬ ‭5:1-4‬
Hebrews 5:1-10 presents a contrast between the priestly ministry of the descendant of Aaron, and that of Christ. For this section, I want to look at the limitations of the human priesthood.
The obvious problem is that both Aaron and all priest descended from him were themselves sinners. When they offered a sacrifice, it was first to cover their own sins and then for the sins of the people. In other words, it was a flawed priesthood.
The only sinless mediator between God and man was Jesus Christ Himself. The next several verses are going to cover that part of the comparison.
Ironically, Caiaphas the higher priest who condemned Jesus to be crucified on the Passover, set Him up as the true lamb of God to atone for humanity. (Read John 18:12-24) In verse 14, Caiaphas gave a prophetic utterance over Jesus that He would die on behalf of the people.
Why was that significant? Because Jesus was sinless. No human could fill that role, not even Caiaphas himself because he was a sinner. It goes back to the text in Hebrews 5:3. Every human high priest has to first deal with their own sins.
This is true of every religious leader. I shudder when any religious leader deceives people into following them rather than pointing people to Jesus Christ. There is only one mediator between God and mankind, and that is Jesus Christ.
The next six verse will expound on the credentials of Jesus Christ. Just as He was higher than the angels in the previous few chapters, now we will discover that He inherited a much higher priesthood than the descendants of Aaron.
I can only imagine the reaction of the Jewish reader in the days when the book of Hebrews was written. They were confronted with fact that the priesthood they were blindly following was limited and flawed because of the very men who held the office.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global