1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.
The earthly high priest was appointed to serve his fellow man in religious matters pertaining to God, offering both gifts and sacrifices for sins, including himself. This awareness of his own frailty enabled him to deal gently with the ignorant and misguided. It made him sympathetic. Our Savior never did sin, but still He is sympathetic to our nature and condition. He is the perfect high priest.
4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.
5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,
"YOU ARE MY SON,
TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU";
6just as He says also in another passage,
"YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER
ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."
No one could appoint themselves as a high priest. It had to be bestowed upon them when God called them as He did Aaron. Christ did not glorify Himself by choosing to become a high priest, but He was appointed one by God as Psalm 2:7 and Psalm 110:4 indicate.
7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.
8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
As a priest, Christ offered up prayers to God, and God heard Him because of His purity. That He cried and suffered furthered the testimony that He can relate to us and sympathize with us. Even though He was the Son of God, even Jesus had the opportunity to learn obedience through what He suffered. He had a choice to make in the Garden of Gethsemane whether to go to the cross or not, and He did obey. If even our perfect high priest learned obedience, so much more do we need to learn it. Fortunately, He will gladly help us to do so. Having obeyed God and gone to the cross, He has proven Himself perfect. He is the only source of salvation for those who will believe in Him and obey Him. The belief part has been detached from the obedience/repentance part in the modern gospel, but from the beginning, this was not so. Those who trust Christ prove their love by their obedience, albeit imperfect, for faith without works is dead (James , 26). Salvation is only through Jesus Christ, and we must choose to follow Him.
11Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
13For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
14But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
The author of Hebrews had much that he wanted to teach his readers, but before he could expound about the significance of the comparison of Christ to Melchizedek, he had a significant and lengthy rebuke ready. He called them dull of hearing. They should have become teachers, but they didn’t know enough to be teachers, even struggling to be able to learn more now. They needed somebody to teach them the elementary principles of the things of God once again, for they were drinking milk like babies rather than eating the solid food of a weaned child, let alone that of an adult. These were infants in Christ, being not accustomed to receiving the teaching of God’s Word. They were certainly not mature in Christ because they lacked discernment, struggling even to judge between what was good and what was evil. That is about as basic as it gets, and such a failure would certainly have opened their hearts to deception and evil acts. They needed the basics, they needed to be trained in good and evil, and they needed to steadily grow to maturity, a long, significant, and tall task. This is the call of every believer, to grow to maturity.