Qualifications For The Priesthood

During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell did not sound. The soldier’s fiancee had climbed into the belfry … More


This chapter stresses both Christ’s divine appointment and His humility. One of the first things a Jew might have asked a Christian during the time of the early Church was,  “How are your sins going to be pardoned when you have no one offering sacrifices and interceding for you?” Under the Old Covenant men could not come directly into God’s presence. God appointed certain men called priests, who were mediators and could bring men into His presence. Aaron is an example of this priesthood. The three basic qualifications for a Jewish high priest were.

  1. Appointed by men - (v. 1)
  2. Sympathetic with men (v. 2)
  3. Sacrificing for men (v. 3)

Christians can rely on the fact that we do have a High Priest. Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins when He died on the cross, and that one sacrifice takes care of all sins ever committed. He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, having neither beginning of days or end of life. We now see how Jesus met all the qualifications that a Jewish high priest had to have. He was:

  1. Appointed by God (vv 4-6)
  2. Sympathetic with men (vv 7-8)
  3. Sacrificed Himself for men (vv. 9-10)


If Jesus, God’s only Son, had not become my living sacrifice I would still be dead in my sins.

Hebrews 5:1-10 (English Standard Version)

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. 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"; as he says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." 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, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »