Hebrews 5:8-14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 14, 2001


Sometimes kids sure do say the funniest things.


"Kids' Little Instructions On Life"

“Sleep in your clothes so you’ll be dressed in the morning.”  - Stephanie, age 8
“Don’t flush the john when your dad’s in the shower.”  - Lamar, age 10
“Don’t ever be too full for dessert.”  - Kelly, age 10
“When your dad is mad and asks you, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don’t answer him.” - Heather, age 16
“Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”  - Michael, age 14
 “Remember you’re never too old to hold your father’s hand.”  - Molly, age 11
“When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she’s on the phone.”  - Alyesha, age 13


Laws of the Toddler

1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I think it’s mine, it’s mine

It’s all cute, for awhile, as long as it comes from a kid.  It’s not so cute when you’re hearing these things from a forty year old man.  The problem comes when someone refuses to grow up.

:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

We’ll look at this verse a little more tonight, but the point here is that the writer is saying that the Messiah would be a priest.

This will be very crucial to the entire book of Hebrews, since many lessons will be drawn from the “priestly” ministry of Jesus.

What is a “priest”?

A priest is a “go-between”.  A priest is a bridge between God and man.

:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

days of his flesh – the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

prayersdeesis – need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

supplicationshiketeria – an olive branch; for suppliants approached the one whose aid they would implore holding an olive branch entwined with white wool and fillets, to signify that they came as suppliants; supplication

that was abledunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

to savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

he had offered upprosphero – to bring to, lead to; to bring a present or a thing, to reach or hand a thing to one

was heardeisakouo – to give heed to, comply with admonition, to obey; to listen to, assent to, a request, to be heard, have request granted

in that he fearedeulabeia – caution, circumspection, discretion; reverence, veneration; reverence toward God, godly fear, piety

Jesus was heard by God because of His reverence toward God.

Jesus was a “priest”.  Part of a priestly ministry is that of praying for others. The priest would enter into the Holy Place, offer incense, and pray for the people.  A priest would act as a “go-between” between God and the people.


Jesus had a life of prayer.

All during His earthly ministry, Jesus was known as a person of prayer.
His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray.
At the end of His life, His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was so intense that He was sweating great drops of blood.
The Bible says that God has also made us “priests” (Rev. 1:6)
We ought to be praying for others.

:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

learnedmanthano – to learn, be appraised; to increase one’s knowledge, to be increased in knowledge

sufferedpascho – to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo; in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight

obediencehupakoe – obedience, compliance, submission; obedience rendered to anyone’s counsels, an obedience shown in observing the requirements of Christianity


Obedience through suffering

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane –
(Mark 14:32-36 KJV)  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. {33} And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; {34} And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. {35} And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. {36} And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Jesus was submitting Himself to the Father.  Jesus wanted was asking if there was any other way than the cross, but Jesus gave Himself to do what the Father wanted.

You don’t really know what it means to obey or submit until you are asked to do something that is unpleasant to you.
Obedience is fun when you’re asked to do something fun.  But the real test is when you’re asked to do something that isn’t fun.
When you’re a kid, it’s not hard when your parents force you to go to Baskin-Robbins for a treat, but when they ask you to go to bed???
We have a joke in the worship band about how Dave will ask each of us at certain times not to play or sing during certain parts of certain songs.

We joke about it because none of us like the idea of not playing.  We all like to play our instruments.

We all have this idea at times that to be in a “band”, you just learn how to play an instrument, get together with other people who play instruments, and then you all just “wail” away at the same time.

But we’ve been learning that for us to be a decent band, we have to learn not to play when the leader says to.

Sometimes God is going to be asking you to do or not to do certain things that go against your own desires.

Are you going to do what GOD wants, or are you going to do what YOU want?

Jesus tried to teach Peter about this:
(Mark 8:31-34 KJV)  And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. {32} And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. {33} But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. {34} And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Peter couldn’t see why Jesus would have to suffer.

Jesus said that anyone who wants to follow Him would need to lay down his own desires.

I think that sometimes we are simply “fair weather” followers of Jesus. As long as He asks us to do the nice, pleasant, yummy things, we’re fine.  But as soon as Jesus steps over the line and asks us to do something unpleasant, forget it!

:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

perfectteleioo – to make perfect, complete; to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end; to accomplish

It’s like the author is describing a training process, one that is completed through suffering.

Jesus made our salvation perfect by obeying the Father and dying on the cross.  He took our sins on Himself, dying in our place.  He now can offer to us God’s complete, eternal forgiveness, allowing us to live with Him forever in heaven, because of His death on the cross.

those that obeyhupakouo – to listen, to harken; to harken to a command; to obey, be obedient to, submit to.  This is the same basic word translated “obedience” in verse 8.  Jesus learned “obedience”, and we are to “obey” Him.

the authoraitios – that which is the cause of anything resides, causative, causing; the author


Growing up through obedience.

For Jesus, there was a sense of completion that came through His obedience.
We too grow up when we learn to obey Him and do what we should.

I think one of the biggest times of maturity in my own life came when our first child was born.

Prior to that time, I was basically a big spoiled brat (not that I’ve changed all that much).

But with a little baby in the house, I began to realize that when this child cried, I couldn’t say to him, “Oh grow up and take care of yourself!”  He couldn’t.  He was totally dependant on us.

Responsibilities were no longer things that I “might do”, but things that I “had to do”.  And I began to see that I could do what I “had to do”.

Prior to babies, I don’t think I hardly even knew that life existed in the middle of the night.  A lot has changed since.

Obedience starts with trusting Him.
(1 John 3:23 KJV)  And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

For some of you today, God wants you to learn to start trusting Him. Jesus was obedient and died on a cross to pay for your sins.  Will you trust Him to forgive you?

:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

calledprosagoreuo (“toward” + “the marketplace”) – to speak to, to address, accost, salute; esp. to address or accost by some name, call by name; to give a name in public, to style.  Jesus was called out by name in the common marketplace of Scripture that He would be a priest like Melchizedek.

:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

hard to be uttereddusermeneutos (“hard” + “interpret”) – hard to interpret, difficult to explain

to saylogos – of speech a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

dullnothros – slow, sluggish, indolent, dull – losing the “edge”, languid

hearingakoe – the sense of hearing; the organ of hearing, the ear; the thing heard

This is really the root idea behind verses 8 & 9, where Jesus learned “obedience” (hupakoe), and is the author of salvation to all who “obey” (hupakouo).  To “obey” means to listen and follow through.

These people have become dull of “hearing”.

Hearing is the first step to obedience.
Because they are dull of “hearing”, this makes them “babes” and not “mature”.  The “mature” Christians are those who obey.


Immaturity means “hard of hearing”

One of the marks of spiritual immaturity is an inability to learn from the Word of God.
“Oh I’ve heard that before”.  “I never get anything out of it when I read”.  “It’s too boring”.
Those words ought to raise warning signals to us.  It’s not always the preacher’s fault.  Sometimes the problem lies in the heart of the listener.
I go through times when I just don’t seem to be getting anything out of the Word.  And I’ve learned that the problem is never in the Word, the problem is ALWAYS in my heart.
I am a guy who usually hates to sit and watch reruns on TV.  I feel I have more important things to do than to watch something I’ve already seen.  But God’s Word is not a rerun.  It is always fresh.  God always speaks in a new way.

:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

teachersdidaskalos – a teacher

teachdidasko – to teach

principlesstoicheion – any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal; the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline

firstarche – beginning, origin; the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader

oracleslogion – a brief utterance, a divine oracle (doubtless because oracles were generally brief); in the NT, the words or utterances of God; of the contents of the Mosaic law

milkgala – milk; a metaph. for the less difficult Christian truths

strongstereos (“steroids”) – strong, firm, immovable, solid, hard, rigid

meattrophe – food, nourishment

strong meat – or, “solid food”


Immaturity means Inability to share

These people have been Christians long enough to have been teachers of God’s Word, but instead they keep needing constant reminding of the very earliest basics of Christianity.
These readers ought to be teaching others, but instead they have to keep repeating spiritual kindergarten.
Are you able to share with others what God has been doing in your life?  Do you have anything to share?  Is God working in you?

:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

that usethmetecho – to be or become partaker; to partake

unskilfulapeiros (“not” + “attempt, experience”) – inexperienced in

the wordlogos – of speech, a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

righteousnessdikaiosune – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting

The writer isn’t just talking about God’s Word in a broad sense, but God’s Word in how it encourages us to change our ways and live as God wants us to live.

These immature Christians are not allowing God’s Word to guide how they live or make decisions.

babenepios – an infant, little child; a minor, not of age; metaph. childish, untaught, unskilled

:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

full ageteleios – brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; perfect; that which is perfect; full grown, adult, of full age, mature

This is the same basic word that was used in verse 9 to describe Jesus after He “learned obedience” (teleioo)

Jesus was “perfect”, “of full age” because He had learned obedience.

of usehexis – a habit whether of body or mind; a power acquired by custom, practice

sensesaistheterion – faculty of the mind for perceiving, understanding, judging

exercisedgumnazo (“gymnasium”) – to exercise naked (gymnos) (in a palaestra or school of athletics); to exercise vigorously

to discerndiakrisis – a distinguishing, discerning, judging

goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

evilkakos – of a bad nature; not such as it ought to be; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

But for the mature is solid food, of those who through habit having their perception exercised to discern between good and evil.


Solid food is what you apply to your life from God’s Word

Like most pastors, I will from time to time have someone come up and tell me, “Wow pastor, what a great sermon, that was solid meat!  I’ve come to learn that for most people, this means that I either:  1)  said something they never heard before, 2)  kept them awake during the entire message, or, 3)  said something that they think their wife needed to hear.
But the whole idea behind “solid food” is not about how much the pastor kept your attention.
It’s all about how much God said to you that you turned around and put into your life.


Practice sharpens discernment

The mature Christian is one who makes a habit of telling good from evil.
God wants our understanding, our perception, to be sharpened through constant use.
We grow in discernment as we stay in God’s Word and find out more and more what God wants and what He doesn’t want.
The Call of the Barnyard
A flock of wild ducks was flying in formation, heading south for the winter. They formed a beautiful V in the sky, and were admired by everyone who saw them from below.
One day, Wally, one of the wild ducks in the formation, spotted something on the ground that caught his eye. It was a barnyard with a flock of tame ducks who lived on the farm. They were waddling around on the ground, quacking merrily and eating corn that was thrown on the ground for them every day. Wally liked what he saw. "It sure would be nice to have some of that corn," he thought to himself. "And all this flying is very tiring. I'd like to just waddle around for a while."
So after thinking it over a while, Wally left the formation of wild ducks, made a sharp dive to the left, and headed for the barnyard. He landed among the tame ducks, and began to waddle around and quack merrily. He also started eating corn. The formation of wild ducks continued their journey south, but Wally didn't care. "I'll rejoin them when they come back north in a few months, he said to himself.
Several months went by and sure enough, Wally looked up and spotted the flock of wild ducks in formation, heading north. They looked beautiful up there. And Wally was tired of the barnyard. It was muddy and everywhere he waddled, nothing but duck doo. "It's time to leave," said Wally.
So Wally flapped his wings furiously and tried to get airborne. But he had gained some weight from all his corn-eating, and he hadn't exercised his wings much either. He finally got off the ground, but he was flying too low and slammed into the side of the barn. He fell to the ground with a thud and said to himself, "Oh, well, I'll just wait until they fly south in a few months. Then I'll rejoin them and become a wild duck again."
But when the flock flew overhead once more, Wally again tried to lift himself out of the barnyard. He simply didn't have the strength. Every winter and every spring, he saw his wild duck friends flying overhead, and they would call out to him. But his attempts to leave were all in vain.
Eventually Wally no longer paid any attention to the wild ducks flying overhead. He hardly even noticed them. He had, after all, become a barnyard duck.
Sometimes we get tired of being wild ducks-followers of Jesus Christ. It's not always easy to be obedient to God and to discipline ourselves to hang in there for the long haul. When we are feeling that way, that's when Satan tempts us to "fall out of formation" and to join the barnyard ducks  - the world.
But look what happened to Wally. He thought he would just "check it out" for awhile and then leave when he wanted to. But he couldn't do it. Sin is like that. Sin is a trap, and it has a way of changing us into people we don't even want to become. Eventually we lose touch with who we really are--the sons and daughters of the Most High. We become barnyard ducks.

Edited from More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice.  Copyright 1995 by Youth Specialties, Inc.