Reading for Wednesday, July 25: Hebrews 5
The Hebrew writer expands on his understanding of Jesus as our Great High Priest. As with Aaron, this is a calling for Christ, His appointed role to play. It must be a calling, for His ministry is one of pain: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death.” We’re reminded of Isaiah’s prophecy about a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. It is this cup of suffering that Jesus prayed would pass as He writhed in Gethsemane. “If there is any other way, Father…
And we’re given another detail about his prayer life: “he was heard because of his reverence.” Notice it doesn’t say “he was answered” but only “he was heard”. Christ’s example is one of reverent acquiescence to God’s will as the ultimate sovereign in the universe. In the end, His intercession extends beyond the typical priestly mediation; He gives Himself up to become “the source of salvation to all who obey him,” (v9).
The Hebrew writer pauses here, noting that his teaching emphasis is rather remedial given his audience. “By this time you ought to be teachers,” (v12). But these early believers seem to be stuck in something of a rut. And this is strangely encouraging to us, those of us who struggle and clamor along the Way of faith. We realize that we’re not alone on this journey, that we have many fellow sojourners who have been right where we are presently. They needed to spend more time in prayer, more time in study. They struggled with some of the deeper concepts of theology and doctrine. They stumbled as they sought to love God and love others. But this little letter, this sermon, is written to encourage them in their faith.
And we take heart as well. For we need this same encouragement.