The apostle, having made mention of Christ as our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15), proceeds in this chapter to give an account of a high priest and to apply the office to Christ, our Lord.
(Vs. 1) Everyone that was a high priest under the Law WAS A MAN. He was a common man, taken out from among them (Exo. 28:1). He was ordained and invested with this superior office by anointing with oil, that he might represent them in things pertaining to God. He presided over them in the name of God; he appeared before God in their stead; he presented their gifts and sacrifices to God; he blessed them. The high priest stands between God and men. Christ is our High Priest. Let us never attempt to go to God except through Christ nor expect any favor from God except through Christ.
(Vs. 2-3) This high priest was a common man of like passions and was himself a man of sinful infirmity who understood and sympathized with the people in their ignorance and their transgressions of the Law; for he, too, was a sinner. Christ, our Lord, became a man and knows our frame (Heb. 4:15; Psalm 103:14).
When the high priest brought a sin-offering and atonement for the people, he was obliged to offer an atonement for his own sin; for he needed mercy also. In this, Christ differed from the Old Testament priests; for He had no sin (Heb. 7:27).
(Vs. 4-5) The office of high priest is an office of the highest honor because of the work performed by the priest in representing the people before God. Therefore, no man can take this office except he who is appointed and ordained of God.
Even Christ did not take this high and honorable office unto Himself, nor did He receive it from men, nor did He inherit it through the Levitical tribe (He Who said, "Thou art My Son") made Him our High Priest. The Father appointed Him to the office, anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows, and sent Him to execute it (John 8:54).
(Vs. 6) In many ways Aaron and the other high priests were types of Christ, our great High Priest.
(Vs. 7) In the days of His fleshly dwelling on earth, Christ (as our representative, numbered and identified with transgressors) offered unto the Father effectual prayers and supplications (entreaties) with tears. This shows the actual weight of our sorrow and our sin which was upon Him. He was heard for the holiness and righteousness of His life and nature; and the Father delivered Him from the power of death and from the state of death. WE ARE DELIVERED IN HIM. "He that believeth on ME shall never die."
(Vs. 8-9) More than one meaning is found here. Though Christ is the Son of God, He is not exempt from suffering if He is to redeem a people (Rom. 8:32). None of the children of God are exempt (John 16:33). Though He is the Son of God, He cannot execute a perfect righteousness to the full extent that the Law and justice demand without a perfect suffering (Luke 24:44-47).
Being perfect in His active and passive obedience, Christ became the author of a perfect, eternal salvation to all who believe on Him. He gives us a perfect righteousness before the Law and a perfect justification before the throne (II Cor. 5:21).
(Vs. 10-11) Paul had many things to say about this mysterious person called Melchisedec and how he was a type of Christ; and he had many things to say regarding the Priesthood of Christ that are difficult to explain, especially when people are sluggish, indifferent, and not keenly interested in spiritual truth.
(Vs. 12) You have been redeemed, have heard the gospel, and have been in the kingdom of God long enough to be teachers yourselves; yet you need someone to teach you over again the very simplest beginnings of gospel truth. You are not ready for strong meat but are still babes needing milk.
(Vs. 13-14) There are babes in Christ, there are young men, and there are mature believers in the church. God does not neglect nor despise babes. The must be fed, but it is unfortunate when people remain babes by reason of neglect of the means of grace. The Lord intends for us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ and become mature believers who can enter into the great mysteries of His gospel and who can digest the strong meat of the Word.