In chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer is arguing for the superiority of Jesus as the great high priest over the high priests of Israel in Aaron’s line.  First it was noted that the high priests of Israel were sinners and had to offer sacrifices for their own sins before they could offer them for the nation’s sins. This is not so with Jesus. All the sacrifices offered by man, any man, are tainted with sin. The only perfect, pure sacrifice was offered by Jesus on our behalf. Then the writer notes that priests are appointed by God and don’t have the authority to appoint themselves. In Exodus 28 we see that God called for Aaron so that He could appoint him and his sons as priests for Israel. The calling is something God does and this is exactly what happened with Jesus. Hebrews 5:5 says, “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”

The superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the Aaronic Order was important for a couple of reasons. Furthermore, Jesus’ role has nothing to do with His lineage. He’s not of the line of Aaron, therefore a direct commission from God had to be made and it was. He didn’t inherit it as a child of Aaron but received it personally as a commission from God directly like Aaron himself did. But also the high priesthood had become a political office. It did not even directly follow in Aaron’s line. Guzik observes this, “It is easy to see why the priesthood of Jesus was difficult for early Jewish Christians to grasp. Jesus was not from the lineage of Aaron. Jesus neither claimed nor practiced special ministry in the temple. He confronted the religious structure instead of joining it. In Jesus’ day, the priesthood became a corrupt institution. The office was gained through intrigue and politicking among corrupt leaders.”[1]

There were competing voices crying for their own right to be high priest! That’s not the way Aaron was called to that office and it was not the way Jesus was called to His office. Many of the commentators argue that the “today I have begotten you” in this verse is of course a reference to Psalm 7. But the application of this to Jesus by the author of Hebrews is pointing toward the day of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. We’ll see in Hebrews 5:9 that the day of Jesus appointment is referring to the day He was “Perfected.” Pentecost says, “By quoting Psalm 2:7 he shows instead that, at the resurrection, Jesus Christ was appointed by His Father to the role of High Priest.”[2] Pfeiffer observes, “Both at the baptism of Jesus and at the moment of His transfiguration the Father designated Jesus as the Son who was to be heard and obeyed.”[3] The obvious superiority of Jesus over prophets, Moses, Angels, and the Priests of Israel should make it clear who we should listen to. It’s all about Him! He interprets the Bible for us! He informed us on several occasions that it was all about Him. Focus your attention and look for and listen to Jesus.

[1] David Guzik, Hebrews, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Heb 5:5–6.

[2] J. Dwight Pentecost and Ken Durham, Faith That Endures : A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2000), 94.

[3] Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1962), 44.