Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:8-9)
In surveying the New Testament, there are many passages that especially draw our attention and are amazing to our eyes as we read them. There are verses that lift us up to the heights of glory; that gladden our hearts and refresh us and remind us that we sit in heavenly places in Christ. The apostle Paul was prone to stop after writing words with Holy Spirit inspiration and offer doxologies of praise. One such place is 1 Timothy 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Hebrews is like reading a continuously long praise song to the mastery of Jesus Christ. We have seen previously in the first four chapters that Christ is superior to angels, to Moses, and to Joshua. In the fifth chapter, the intention is to show His superiority to the priesthood of Aaron. Although Christ was not descended from Aaron and thus not in the line of priesthood, yet He is superior because His appointment was directly from God. Christ did not enter the priesthood as a selfish intruder, but as one ordained by God to a new and better priesthood—a perfect priesthood that is not attainable by a mere mortal (5:5-6). The priesthood of Aaron and those descended from him was temporary by reason of death (7:23), but the priesthood of Christ is eternal because He is the ever living God.
The wonder of verses 8 and 9 is the unfathomable doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, became man. Verse 8 says “he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” Christ did not have to learn anything as God, but He learned to obey as a man. In His active obedience, He obeyed the Father’s will which included subjecting Himself to God’s law and keeping every part of it perfectly. In His passive obedience, He allowed the humiliation of the cross and willingly offered Himself to die. He surpasses the Aaronic priesthood because He became qualified to be both the priest and the sacrifice. His earthly life allowed Him to be sympathetic to the frailties of humanity as a human priest would be, but His perfect life meant no sacrifice was needed for Him personally. Therefore, He could give up His own life as the sacrifice for our sins. He exchanged His perfect obedience for our miserable imperfection.
Jesus Christ became the author of eternal salvation. He was the author of salvation from the eternal covenant of God, but He became the author by fulfilling all of the requirements to complete our salvation. Jesus Christ is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). He is the superior High Priest because He lives forever to make intercession for us. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).
If you understand and believe what Christ so wondrously did, reading the words “he became the author of eternal salvation,” must surely open the depths of your heart to let out your words of praise. Somewhere there is a doxology in this passage. It must be from those that obey Christ by faith.
Pastor V. Mark Smith