February 3, 2008
The Most Sympathetic Ear
(Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10)

This week’s questions:

1. A couple of weeks ago, we discovered that Hebrews depicts Jesus as a “faithful high priest” (2:17). Then we looked to the Old Testament for High Priest references in order to get a better understanding of the author’s illustration. This week the ministry of Jesus as High Priest is further elucidated. According to Hebrews, priests are able to minister effectively to God’s people regarding their sins because the priests themselves are able to relate to the scourge of temptation and sin (5:2, 3). Jesus, however, is depicted as One who encountered every temptation that is common to mankind, but was without sin (4:15). Thus how can someone who never sinned truly relate to the human predicament?

2. Note that 4:16 insists that because Jesus was tempted as all human beings are, we can have confidence when we pray.

a. What does it mean to pray with boldness, or confidence?

b. What is it that is promised to us?

c. How does this make you feel?

d. How might you pray differently in the future, in light of this verse?

3. In 5: 8 Jesus is said to have “learned obedience.” What does this mean? Would Jesus have to have been disobedient at some point in order to “learn obedience?” Explain.

4. Looking Ahead: Melchizedek.

The author, quoting Psalm 110, says that Jesus is a priest forever according to the order, or type, of Melchizedek. In a word, Jesus is not a Levitical priest like Aaron and his sons were. This will be expounded upon in greater detail later on (Chapter 7). However, read Genesis 14:17-24 and Psalm 110. These are the two OT references to Melchizedek. Who was he? What was/is his significance?