Jesus meets the qualifications for being a high priest.
Priests must give offerings to God in order to fulfill their priestly duties. Christ offered up prayers and supplications (petitions) while He was on earth – comparable to sacrifices offered by priests. With loud crying and tears likely refers to Christ’s moments on the cross when He cried out to God (Matthew 27:46), although, it could also refer to Jesus’ prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane before He was arrested and taken to His death (Matthew 26:36-46) as well as other instances not recorded. God, the One able to save Him from death, heard the cries of Jesus because of His piety (reverent submission) and His willingness to accept God’s will. Jesus was indeed saved from death, although He died, He was raised again.
Jesus is God, and yet was also a human who suffered as we do. He had to experience life as we experience it in order to become our perfect high priest. The experience of suffering as human yet without sin, made Him a perfect priest because He is now able to have compassion for us in our weakness, but He is still the perfect example of obedience, even in the face of suffering. Jesus is described here as being made perfect, this is the Greek word “teleo,“ which means persevering until the end, or completing the task, or finished. The point is that Jesus worked all throughout his life to complete all that God had appointment him to do. He was then made perfect (“teleo”) since he was finished with his work.
Paul writes that Jesus learned obedience from the things which He suffered. It is interesting to note that Jesus “learned” something. It would seem that God has nothing to learn since He is God. Jesus did not learn to be obedient as a new thing – He had been obedient as the Son in heaven from the beginning of time. But He was obedient throughout His whole life as a human, and His obedience was something that He had to learn. A major difference between heaven and earth is that on earth God’s presence is veiled.
Living on earth as an obedient human requires faith. Jesus had to learn to walk by faith, just like any of us have to learn to walk by faith. Jesus did not have to have faith while in heaven – His Father was visibly with Him in all His glory. But on earth God’s presence was cloaked, and Jesus had to walk by faith as a human. We have the opportunity to follow the example of Jesus who won the title “Son” as a reward for the complete obedience of walking in faith during this life. Jesus completed (Greek “teleo”) His work on earth walking by faith; “teleo” here is translated “perfected.” The things He learned in His walk of faith form a part of the knowledge that makes Him a perfect (Greek “teleo”) compassionate priest for us.
Christ was made a perfect, or completed (Greek, “teleo”) high priest through His suffering and obedience, and now He is the source of eternal salvation for all who believe in Him. The kind of salvation talked about here is not the salvation that makes us right before God when we initially place our trust in Him, our justification is not contingent on our obedience to God but rather, it is gained by faith in the gospel.
The salvation talked about here is what Paul has been referring to in his warnings to the Hebrews: they could miss out on their inheritance if they do not walk in obedience to God all the way until they are complete (“teleo”). We can share in Christ’s’ inheritance reward if we follow His example of obedience fully until we are finished (“teleo”).
Our high priest (Jesus) allows us to walk in this obedience because whatever we go through on earth, our high priest sympathizes, has compassion, and gives us mercy and grace to endure. Christ gave us an example, but He also empathizes with our weakness and intercedes to God for us. Through His obedience even to death on the cross, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation. And He now stands designated by God as a high priest to intercede for us, that we might also learn obedience in all God has for us to learn. The phrase according to the order of Melchizedek will be explained in detail in chapter 7 of Hebrews. So Christ was made a source of salvation as the high priest, designated by God.
7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
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