As we walk through Hebrews in our reading plan, below are a few additional thoughts, questions, commentary, and quotes. These aren’t designed to substitute your personal study and reflectionon God’s Word, but they’re small supplements to your study. It’s always helpful to begin your study by reading the passage and making some basic observations. See the post “Making Observations” for basic questions to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.
Hebrews 5 encourages us with a reminder of Jesus’ priesthood. He is a perfect mediator and sympathetic high priest because he is both like us and unlike us. He is like us in that he experienced temptation (4:15) and endured trials (5:7). But he is unlike us in that he never sinned (4:15) and perfectly submitted to and trusted the Father (5:7-8). He fully understands the hardship we experience in this broken world. God is not a distant deity unfamiliar with the everyday struggle of our humanity. He felt weariness, likely became sick, was betrayed, felt abandonment, and suffered greatly. Friends and family he loved also suffered under illnesses, oppression, weakness, and death. As we suffer gut punches from the fallen world, we can turn to a heavenly High Priest full of compassion because he walked in our shoes two-thousand years ago. And at the same time, because he is the reigning king (5:5-6), full of power and might, he can also offer us help and work powerfully on our behalf.
Study, Reflection, and Discussion Questions
- In Hebrews 5:1-10, in what ways is Jesus like the OT priests, and in what ways is he unlike the OT priests (including the sacrifices they made)?
- Read Heb. 2:10 and 5:8-9. How can believers learn to suffer and obey God by seeing Jesus as our model in his obedience and suffering?
- From reading 4:14-5:10 (see also 2:14-18), how does seeing Jesus’ oneness with us as our “brother” and the sympathy he has for us in our weakness (as human beings) affect your view of him? How might it encourage you to draw near to God or believe that he understands what you’re experiencing?
- Do you only think in terms of Jesus’ ministry as his “past work” (birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension) or do you also think of and relate to Jesus in terms of his current ministry as our reigning king and sympathetic high priest? How might remembering what Jesus is doing on our behalf now help you in your Christian walk?
- How might you use this passage, or the doctrine of Jesus our great high priest, to encourage a friend in these scenarios: discouraged, tempted, suffering, lonely, or feeling guilty or shameful?
For Further Study
- Read “Jesus Ever Lives Above, for You to Intercede” by Gavin Ortlund (interviewing D. A. Carson) at thegospelcoalition.org.
- Read “3 Ways Jesus’ Work Destroys Soul-Fatigue” by Whitney Woolard at gcdiscipleship.com.
- Related Passages: Heb. 2:14-18; 7-8; 10:19-25.
- High Priest: Lev. 16:4-15; Heb. 7:25; 8:1; 10:21; John 17.
- Read these Spurgeon sermons on Jesus our High Priest at spurgeongems.org. “The Tenderness of Jesus,” “Boldness at the Throne,” or “Our Sympathetic High Priest.”