Hebrews 5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
The context here is to the nation of Israel in the O.T. Moses was directed by God to choose and anoint Aaron as the first high priest. His son Eleazar was the second one and so on. As noted here the high priest was taken from among men and ordained for men. He functioned on behalf of the nation with regard to things pertaining to God. He was ordained to offer thank offerings as well as sin offerings.
In verse 2 God is continuing to contrast the high priest with the angels. He does not mention the angels here, but He has mentioned them many times up to this point. Angels do not have the capacity to show compassion upon man. God used the word “ignorant” here to contrast between sins that were not intentional and those that were committed deliberately.
Achan deliberately chose to disobey God’s command regarding Jericho. There was no need to show compassion on him. He faced the wrath of God because he stole from God and then tried to hide what he stole.
The high priest needed to act with compassion because he too would be guilty of sin at times. Aaron proved that in his life. The Pharisees demanded things of the people that they were not willing to do. Jesus called them whited sepulchres and hypocrites. They had no compassion.
In verse 3 we see that the high priest needed to offer for his own sins as well as the sins of the people. Once a year the priest was to enter the holiest. He first needed to atone for his own sin, before he could make an atonement for the people. Every year the people would be reminded that their high priest was not without sin. That did not mean he could not function as high priest. There is no man that is without sin. The people needed to understand how God’s forgiveness works.
A spiritual leader is not chosen by God because he is without sin. He is chosen because it is God’s choice. He needs to be a saved man who has a testimony of salvation and who also demonstrates a love for God’s Word and His Ways. There are certain sins that will disqualify a man from being a spiritual leader. The High Priest needed to set an example of holiness, as does the spiritual leader of today.
In verse 4 we see that the high priest did not decide on being a priest on his own. He needed to be chosen of God. We know in the book of Judges that Micah chose a Levite to be his priest that was not ordained of God. He was a corrupt man. The children of Dan did not care about this and they stole this man from Micah and he became a priest unto them. You notice in that account that the Danites had success in their adventure even as this false priest said they would. That did not make him a legitimate priest. The people could have known he was a fraud and should have known to stay away from him.
God reminds us again that Aaron was chosen by God to be the high priest. God made it clear to the people that this was their high priest. They needed to show respect for the office and honour God in their attitude toward Aaron.
In verse 5, God transitioned to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not take the honour of High Priest upon Himself. He came to this earth in a very humble manner. At His birth the angels announced His coming. It was not Jesus Who set things up for Himself. When He was baptized, it was God the Father Who announced that Jesus was His beloved Son. Again at the Mount of Transfiguration, it was God the Father that exalted Jesus as His beloved Son.
Jesus rightfully was the High Priest, but He did not try to make something of Himself that was not true. He was unique in His position in that He was without sin. He did not need to make an offering for His own sins prior to making an offering for the people. God is showing us here the importance of believing in Jesus Christ as Saviour. There is no other Saviour. There is none other that can forgive sins.
The many who want to follow false religion have no excuse. They will answer to God for that sin. Sincerity will not matter. Truth is what matters.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Jesus did not say we need to worship God in sincerity and in truth. We need to worship Him in spirit and in truth. A person can be sincerely wrong. Micah was sincerely wrong. The Levite in that text was sincerely wrong. The Danites were sincerely wrong. All of them had the opportunity to know the truth and follow the truth. They chose not to.
Today we also have the opportunity to know and follow the truth. It is our choice whether we will do that or not.