Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 5

How chief priests deal with sin

Hebrews 5:2

We have been studying the work of Israelís chief priests. Their most important duty was to deal with sin (the bad and wrong things that we do against God).

Of course, there are other people who deal with sin too. Rulers try to stop some sins by means of laws. Judges deal with some sins by means of punishment. Such people must be strict in order to deal with sin properly. A weak judge is not a good judge.

But a chief priest does not deal with sin by means of punishment. He deals with it by means of atonement. In other words, he makes it possible for God to forgive the sin.

And because of that, the chief priest needed different attitudes from the attitudes of a ruler or judge.

So a chief priest needed to understand about peopleís weaknesses. Sometimes people do not even know that they have done something wrong. Sometimes people did not want to do anything wrong, but other people urged them. But there are some people who decide on purpose to oppose God and to fight against his laws.

The chief priest needed to know the difference. He had to recognise peopleís true attitudes. He had to work out when it was possible to teach someone. And he had to know if a person had completely refused to have any kind of relationship with God.

This was possible for Israelís chief priests, because they knew about their own sins and weaknesses. They saw in their own lives the same problems that they were dealing with in other peopleís lives.

And it is possible for Jesus, our chief priest, too. He was never guilty of sin. But his experience included the same kinds of troubles that we suffer. He felt in his own mind and body the same kinds of strains that we feel (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus is Godís Son. But he became a man and, now in heaven, he is still a man. He has real sympathy for us when we suffer. He knows our true attitudes when we sin. And it is his desire to teach us so that our lives will please God (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Next part: Why did priests make sacrifices? (Hebrews 5:4)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.