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Read Hebrews 5

1 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.

In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,

“You are my Son;
    today I have become your Father.” And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,

    in the order of Melchizedek.” During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Warning Against Falling Away

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Go Deeper

In Hebrews 5 we are encouraged to obedience, even in our suffering, because Jesus serves as the perfect model of growing our faith. In Exodus, God appointed Aaron and his descendents as priests and provided extensive detail for sacrifices to account for the Hebrews’ sins. Now, in the book of Hebrews, there is Jesus! The high priests in Exodus were sinners, too. While they were doing their best as ordained by God, they fell short of serving as adequate role models for the people. But Jesus! Jesus encountered the same temptations we, as humans, encounter and “He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”  

Based on this scripture, we are to follow Jesus’ model and learn obedience when we suffer.  We see suffering all around us and experience it ourselves. How do we learn obedience from all this? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, obedience is “submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey.” So, as Christians, we should be willing to be restrained by or commanded by God. Obedience is the practice of living as Jesus modeled, especially in our suffering. Suffering offers the most visible (and most difficult) opportunities to practice our faith.  

So how do we answer the call to obedience? We look to Jesus. We study Him as our perfect, eternal model, and we do what He did and what He tells us to do. If we are spending time with God, reading His word, watching Jesus through the stories of the gospels, hearing how He works in our friends’ lives, then we are much more likely to behave like Him. He is the only model to follow. Everyone else falls short: the high priests of the Hebrews, the professional athletes of today, the politicians we vote for, our best friend, everyone. Our only hope is to obey the only adequate (and perfect) model of Jesus.

This passage ends with an encouragement and reminder of the goal of spiritual formation: that we would grow in maturity. By using the example of a newborn who is reliant on milk vs. a more mature person who is in need of solid food, the author of Hebrews is highlighting the importance of growth in our relationship with Jesus. Too often we settle for an elementary understanding of who God is instead of growing in maturity such a way that we can encourage others to follow us while we follow Jesus. Our faith is not meant to stall out and stay surface level, but instead is meant to be developed, matured, and passed on to those around us. 


  1. When you suffer, do you respond by learning obedience? Or do you respond by avoidance or by rebellion?  
  2. Who do you tend to model? Who or what do you watch? How does their behavior influence your own?
  3. In what ways are you currently suffering? How can you learn obedience through this suffering?

Did You Know?

Hebrews 5 gives us our first reference to Melchizedek (with more to come in Hebrews 7). Melchizedek was the very first high priest referenced in scripture all the way back in Genesis 14.

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3 thoughts on “Hebrews 5”

  1. 3 realities stood out to me in this chapter:
    1. Reverent submission (v7) We can face anything knowing Jesus is with us.
    2. Obedience in suffering (v8) This is our sacred space to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.
    3. Distinguishing good from evil (v14) We must be trained in this process, because we never casually drift towards righteousness. Faith is a muscle which must be exercised.
    Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I’m praying for those in my circle who are hanging on by a thread. It’s been said “when you are hanging on by a thread, make sure it’s the hem of his garment.”

  2. “We never casually drift towards righteousness….”

    So true! Thank you for sharing this powerful reminder.

    Joining you in prayer that those who are “barely hanging on” will hold tight to the thread of his garment.

    Thank you for your faithfulness, dear friend!

  3. This day was a day that my thread was starting to unravel. God has put beautiful women in my life who helped me take a better hold of said garment. BUT GOD is always taking care of us. I am so thankful, and sorry about the late entry, I had no words that word be encouraging to you or me yesterday morning. Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.

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