Having established that Jesus was superior to angels, Hebrews 2, and to Moses, Hebrews 3, the author of Hebrews will now establish that Jesus’ Priesthood was superior to the Aaronic Levitical priesthood.
Hebrews 5: 1-14
VV1-4, 1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray since he himself is also subject to weakness. 3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. 4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.
Every high priest was appointed by God. A high priest had to be from the tribe of Levi, and from the lineage of Aaron, the elder brother of Moses. The first high priest was Aaron, and subsequent high priests were descendants of Aaron. A high priest had compassion on those who were ignorant because he was aware of his own failings and shortcomings. A high priest had to offer a sin offering for himself first before he could offer sacrifices for the people. A high priest must not glorify himself.
VV 5-11, 5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” 6 As He also says in another place:
“You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek”; 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Even Christ did not glorify Himself when God called Him to be a High Priest. The author quoted Psalm 2:7, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.‘’ and Psalm 110: 4, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” God called Jesus, my Son. God called Christ, a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and not Levi. Jesus’ priesthood was superior to the Aaronic Levitical priesthood. Jesus was the perfect High Priest. Unlike the Levitical high priest, Christ was not a sinner and did not have to be replaced by another high priest upon death. Christ had compassion for us. He knew what it meant to suffer. God loved us so much that He sent His only Son on a mission to die for us and pay the penalty of our sins. This is called substitutionary or vicarious atonement. He is the eternal high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. The author had a lot more to say on this but since they were dull of hearing, he had to reserve this until Hebrews 7.
VV 12-14, 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The author rebuked the Jewish Christians for their spiritual immaturity. Although by now, they should teaching others, they still need others to teach them. Although by now, they should be spiritual adults, there were still spiritual babies. Although by now, they should be feeding on spiritual meat, they were still feeding on spiritual milk. They were drifting back to Judaism, legalism, religiosity, regulations, rituals, and “churchianity”. Now that we have completed 6 books of the New Testament viz. John, Mark, Luke, Matthew, Acts, and Romans, we should be consuming spiritual meat and teaching others the spiritual truth of the Bible.