Hebrews 5:7-10

Hebrews 5:7‑10  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 10
We have had the first reference to the order of Melchizedek, which is repeated so often in the Epistle as to prove to anyone who reverences scripture its immense importance in the mind of God. It is a striking part of the typified glory of the Messiah, foreshown in Genesis 14, predicted and declared with divine solemnity in Psalm 110, applied and expounded with care and fullness in our Epistle, which can be examined as each reference comes before us. In the present chapter it is the peculiar and personal dignity which is insisted on in distinction from Aaron, however eminent by God's choice and appointment. But the Christ was God's Son, begotten in time according to Psalm 2, as in John's Gospel Only-begotten beyond time and above dispensation, being eternal no less than the Father. Such was His person; and His office was no less singularly glorious even if typified by a royal priest of early days. For, as the psalm cited puts it, He is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. As Melchizedek stands alone, without predecessor or successor so far as the record speaks, the negative in his case becomes the positive in the case of Christ. And this the unimpeachably divine authority of the psalm lays down with all simplicity and assurance. And such will be the exercise of His priesthood for the earth when the days of heaven shine upon it in the future kingdom. Meanwhile, as our Epistle urges, He is priest after this order now, as forever. As He alone is Son, so He is exclusively royal priest without end, yet not glorifying Himself any more than Aaron, but a thousand years before so addressed by God, as the typical shadow met Abram not far from a thousand years before the psalm.
Here we are first directed to His earthly path, then to His heavenly place, and the blessed results. “Who in the days of His flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him out of death, and having been heard for His pious fear, though He was a Son, learned obedience from the things which He suffered; and having been perfected, He became to all those that obey Him author of everlasting salvation, addressed by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:7-107Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:7‑10)). Suffering was to be distinctively His portion. It had no place in Aaron any more than in Melchizedek. In the Christ it was altogether pre-eminent and peculiar.
Glory intrinsic and conferred is His beyond comparison: yet this is not all that grace gives in Him, nor yet all that we need, not merely as sinners but here especially as saints. Our sin and our misery but furnished the opportunity to divine love, and this is only shown and learned in Christ, in Him that suffered infinitely here below; and Christ alone from the mystery of His person was capable of such suffering. Thus has He glorified, and thus reached hearts opened by grace to feel in our measure the wonders of His love. In the days of His flesh we behold the surface and hear the sound of His sorrows which God alone was able to fathom. For this as for other reasons essential to the purpose of God and the blessing of man the Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us, and obeyed unto death, yea, death of the cross. And if ever prayers and supplications, if ever strong crying and tears, were realities for the heart before God, His were. For His divine nature screened Him from no pain, grief, or humiliation, or suffering, but rather gave competency of person to endure perfectly, while all was accepted in absolute dependence on, and subjection to, His Father. There was not a particle of hardness or insensibility in Christ. It was not a small thing. for His love to have hatred and contempt, to be despised and rejected of men; not only not to be esteemed by the people of God and His people, but to be esteemed stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; to be deserted by all His disciples, denied by one, betrayed by another; and, far the most terrible of all and wholly different from all, to be forsaken of God just when He most needed His consolation and support. But so it must have been if sin was to be duly judged in the sacrifice, if our sins were to be completely borne away, and God to be glorified as to evil adequately and forever. Gethsemane, and the cross, or the first part of Psalm 22, are the best comment on verse 7. It was equally in keeping with God that He was not heard while atonement was in accomplishment, and that He was heard when He poured out His soul unto death and Jehovah made it an offering for sin; for He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
Christ therefore, besides that which fell exclusively on Him as the propitiation for our sins in vindicating God at all cost sacrificially, knew as no saint ever did all that can befall holiness and love in a world and in the midst of a people alienated from God. As at the beginning Satan sought to attract Him from the path of lowly, suffering, and absolute obedience, by temptations subtly suited to the circumstances, so he assailed Him at the end with the terrors of death, and of such a death! But all was in vain. He suffered, but did not succumb. Though prayer characterized Him at all times, then especially in His sorrow and deep depression He is alone with His Father (even His chosen three left behind about a stone's throw), and fallen on His face deprecates that cup, yet in meek submission; and this a second time (while others could not watch one hour with Him), and a third time from that agony in which He prayed more earnestly. And if an angel appeared to strengthen Him, none the less did His sweat become as great drops of blood falling down on the ground. He endured the temptation and was blessed, suffering to the utmost; they slept for sorrow and, instead of praying, entered into the temptation and fell. And He was saved not from dying, but out of death. Whatever His inward and unwavering confidence, He could have no public answer till resurrection when He was saved and out of death. To be saved from death had left man in his sins, and Satan's power unbroken, and God's judgment in suspense, and His grace impotent. But the Son of Man was there to deliver from all evil and to set all good on an immutable foundation to God's glory, even while saving the lost. He was heard for His pious fear,1 but after unsparing judgment had taken its course. Though Son of God, He learned2 obedience from the things which He suffered. We learn to obey as God's children, who were once sons of disobedience; He being Son was used to speak, and it was done, He knew not what obedience was. But when He became man, He took loyally that place: in the volume of the book it is written of Him, not of the first man, “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.” Indeed He suffered it to the uttermost as well as did it in all perfection.
This being “perfected” means the completeness of His course through sufferings in resurrection and heavenly glory, as we may see far beyond controversy in Hebrews 7:2828For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (Hebrews 7:28), where the word has a form to express permanent result, instead of only indicating the fact accomplished as here. Neither “sanctified” nor “consecrated” is the true force: other words signify this correctly. Nor would either suit this place when His completed work of suffering is in view, by which alone salvation could be. And the result is here affirmed in terms of triumph: “He became to all those that obey Him author of everlasting salvation.” Thus on the one hand is His glorious position maintained, and on the other everlasting salvation is assured to all who own Him. He is none other than the prophet like unto Moses Whom Jehovah promised long ago to raise up. But He is far more, and more blessed. For instead of the threat of God's retribution to him that hearkens not, He is become author of salvation to those that obey Him; yea, in contrast with legal uncertainty, “of everlasting salvation to those that obey Him.” How indeed could it be otherwise if we believe in the glory of His person and the efficacy of His work? But all have not faith; and faith-obedience is the root of all other obedience precious in God's eyes, Who disdains to accept the homage that is proffered to Himself while making light of His Son and of His infinite sufferings. “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father Who sent Him.” “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also.”