Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10



Resumes the thought of 3:1-6 which was abandoned for the warning concerning God’s Word and the rest of trusting that Word.  At 5:10 this theme will again be abandoned for  another warning


Possibly the Jewish readers where uncomfortable in the Christian dispensation because there was no priest or priesthood.


The priesthood of Aaron passed from:

            Altar à Outer Court à Holy Place à Past Curtain à To the Most Holy Place


Jesus has also passed from view but has gone through the Heavens


Jesus the Son of God

1)     The Man Jesus – Relates to us and our situation is discussed in 4:15

2)     The Eternal Son of God – Is accessible as God in Heaven is discussed in 4:16.


Jesus is a better high priest so do not give him up.




Notice this is a negative statement.  It appears that the author is responding to a complaint or concern the readers had or would have concerning the priesthood of Jesus who was far away in the distant heavens.


Even though Jesus has passed through the Heavens he is still able to relate to us.

His transcendence does not nullify his immanence.


These believers were considering turning back to their Jewish faith and trusting in their Jewish high priest’s work.

Jesus understands even the desire to turn away.


Likewise, Jesus was tempted also to turn away from God’s will:

1)     When tempted by the devil (Mat. 4)

2)     At the transfiguration when Peter said the crucifixion would never happen.

3)     In the garden of Gethsemane


The very sin that these readers were facing was a temptation that Jesus could relate to and to minister to their needs from the throne of heaven.


Jesus is the best high priest.  He understands and he has access.



The “throne of Grace” should be compared to the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place.

In fact Tyndale’s 1539 translation, the Great Bible, translates “throne of grace” as “the seat of grace.”


So Jesus is seen here as the man who was tempted like we are but sits on the real “seat of grace” in heaven which was symbolized in the temple by the mercy seat above the ark of the covenant where the blood of animals was applied.


With this verse we have another connection showing that the ark of the covenant with its mercy seat represented the throne of God in heaven.


Since our high priest is in heaven we can approach his “throne of grace” from earth in our time of need.


This may be a call to the readers to abandon their plans of turning away from Jesus and to approach his heavenly throne for forgiveness and find the strength that Jesus had when he faced similar temptations in his life.


Mercy is God relieving Man’s miseries

Grace is favor from God given without merit to those who trust him.



Every high priest that is considered here are Jewish high priest from the Levitical system.



“He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.”


able to deal gently” is the Greek word “metriopathein”

  1. the idea of moderating one’s feelings. 
  2. This word stresses the mental and emotional balance that is neither cold and indifferent nor uncontrollably sensitive.
  3. This word is a compound of:
    1. Metrios – moderately, slightly, a little
    2. Pathos – suffering, a passion, or inordinate affection or lust


There is one article used for both “ignorant” and “going astray” so these words describe the same person or the same group.

  1. “Ignorant” is agnoeo
    1. (from “a” which basically means “no-“ or “non-“ and “nous” which means “to exercise the mind, to comprehend, to perceive, think or understand.”)
    2. So this word means to not know, not understand, or to be ignorant
  2. Going Astray” is “planao” and means to roam from safety, truth or virture.  To go astray, deceive, err, seduce or to go out of the way. 


The priest must balance leniency with severity and encouragement with rebuke.


One of the weaknesses of the priesthood of Aaron was found in Leviticus 16:6, 11-14, 17.

Before the priest could make atonement for the people by offering the goat for the sin offering and sprinkling its blood behind the veil of the holy of holies the Priest had to first enter the holy of holies with the blood of a bull fro his own sins and those of his house.

In Leviticus 16:20 Aaron would lay his hands on the goat and confess the sin of the people.



God always instituted a priesthood and assigned the individual priests.


If a priest has access to God surely men could not appoint one of their own sinful humans to approach God.  Thus, a priesthood and the priest must be selected by God.

If God choose no priest then there would be no priesthood.



The problem with Jesus was he was from the tribe of Judah and not Levi.


The author must show that any priest is a priest only because God has called him.

The priesthood of Aaron does not have the market on priesthood.

They are priests only because God called them and appointed them.

In fact, originally the priesthood was to be the oldest from each family and God negotiated for the Levites. (Ex. 13:11 and Numbers 3:40-51)


Now, the author shows that Jesus had his own calling and it came from God.


5:5, 6

Psalm 2:7



Jesus not only has the call to the priesthood he also can sympathize with men because he himself has experienced it.


In the garden Jesus’ prayer was answered since he asked for God’s will or only for what was possible with the Father’s will. (Matt. 26:39)


Prayers are expressions of need

Supplications are urgent requests


5:9, 10

complete” or “perfection” is not a moral term here but a reference to the completed experience.


Jesus “completed” the human experience.


Jesus is the high priest because:

1)     he has the call from God

2)     he has the human experience.