Jews, who had trusted in Judaism, were entrenched in the idea of priest sacrifice for their sins. They were wondering how Jesus could compare to these Levitical priests. Priests in Old Testament times needed to sacrifice for their own sins before sacrificing for the sins of others. On the other hand, Jesus, having lived a life without sin, sacrificed Himself and when He died the veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in two. This signified that we now have access to the throne of grace without needing any human priest’s help.
There were a number of qualifications necessary in order to be a priest in Old Testament times. They needed to be selected by God for men (v. 1), sympathetic to men (v. 2), and sacrificing for men (v. 1 & 3). Not only had Jesus met all these qualifications, but He was superior to the priests in every way. Christ did not glorify Himself but God the Father not only said, “You are my son, today I have begotten you”, but also said, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”. In other words, Jesus is presented as a king and priest, a ruler and a mediator. Christ is sympathetic to men (v. 7) because He went through so much as a man on this earth. He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears just before being taken up to be crucified. He would feel temptation in a way we never experience, because He would wrestle with the fullness of temptation but not succumb to it like we would. His agony was so great that His sweat was like great drops of blood. Jesus learned obedience by feeling it (v. 8). He gained sympathy by experiencing suffering. We can come to Christ knowing that if we are at our wits’ end, He truly understands because He has been where we have been. Finally, Christ made sacrifices for our sins. He became the author of eternal salvation (v. 9). He received the right by His own death.
What liberty we have to be able to go directly to God! We should not take it for granted because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice to give us this opportunity. Don’t have your hearts hardened by being dull of hearing the gospel but allow the truth of Christ’s sacrifices to embolden you to experience all the fullness of what Christ has to offer (v. 12-14).