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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Hebrews 5:6-10 As He saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Considering the subject matter, as well as the examples used to convey God's will, it is practically unanimous that this epistle was written to those of Jewish heritage that had been converted to Christianity through the efforts of inspired preachers of the gospel of Christ. Due to this, it is completely understandable that the writer used Jewish law and customs as examples to teach the spiritual laws under the New Covenant. Jews could readily relate to, and understand what was being taught. In the first five verses of this chapter we learn of the superiority of Jesus to the high priest under the Law of Moses. The lesson text, quoting Psalm 110:4, continues to compare Jesus Christ to Old Testament priesthood, but not of the Jewish nation. The comparison here is to Melchisedec, the king of Salem (probably Jerusalem), and a priest authorized by God during the Patriarchal Dispensation. The first few verses of Hebrews 7 give us a better description of this biblical character.

This priest/king was also used as an example to teach Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, to these Jewish Christians. Without doubt, through Jewish history, the children of Israel were knowledgeable about Melchisedec since he is referred to in Genesis 14:17-18. Also this prophesy of Christ Jesus is found in Psalm 110:4:Thou are a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec. High priests of the Jewish order were used as examples to teach certain characteristics of Christ, and now in the lesson text, the writer uses the priestly order of Melchisedec as an example to teach characteristics of Christ in a different way. As we study these examples we must always keep in mind that the author is not saying Jesus was equal to these examples. In either example Jesus was far superior.

High priests offered blood sacrifices for sins; Jesus also offered a blood sacrifice for sins - His own body, often referred to as the Lamb of God. Like high priests, Jesus was a human being, born of woman, and lived on earth. As such, He had compassion for His fellow man. Although high priests failed to demonstrate that same compassion for the average Jewish population, they were commanded to do so. Other characteristics of Jesus were comparable to those of Melchisedec. Jesus did not descend from the priestly tribe of Levi; neither was Melchisedec, since he lived before the birth of Levi. The fact that his birth, life, death, and parentage are unknown, it is said of Melchisedec that his priesthood abides continually (See Heb. 7:3). Like this example, the priesthood of Jesus Christ is also eternal.

The time when Jesus, while living on earth, offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, was probably the prayer of agony He made to God, while in the garden of Gethsemane. It was here, immediately before His crucifixion, that He prayed to God if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt (Matt. 26:39). He prayed to His heavenly Father to spare His life; He prayed to God, the as the only one that was able to save Him from death. Although the deed had to be done, no doubt God did answer Jesus' prayer, and sustained Him, by giving Him the strength to endure His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary.

Even though He was the Son of God, Jesus claimed no special exemption from human suffering, but obediently submitted to the will of God, allowing Himself to be slain for the sins of the world. With His great sacrifice, Jesus became the perfect High Priest for God's children, both after the order of Aaron and after the order of Melchisedec. Jesus, having completed His mission on earth, fulfilled the will of God from the foundation of the world, and became the perfect Savior of the world - He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. From this we know that eternal salvation can only be found in Christ Jesus. Belief in Him, as the Son of God, and obedience to His gospel message, is necessary to attain it. The summation of Jesus' gospel message of salvation was this: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).