Hebrews 5

1 Every leader of God's priests comes from among the people. That special priest's work is to serve God on behalf of God's people. He offers gifts and sacrifices to God, so that God will forgive the people's sins. 2 That priest himself may often do wrong things, because he is weak and human. As a result, he understands other people who make mistakes. He can be kind to people who do wrong things. 3 But, because he himself does wrong things, he must offer sacrifices to God on behalf of himself, as well as on behalf of the people.

4 Nobody decides for himself to become a leader of the priests. God himself must choose him. That is how Aaron became a priest.

5:4Aaron was Moses' brother. He lived many years before Jesus was born. He was the first priest for Israel's people. After that, everyone who became a priest needed to be from Aaron's family. See Exodus 28:1; 1 Chronicles 23:13.

5 It is the same with Christ. He did not choose himself to be God's special priest. He did not choose to make himself important like that. God chose him. God showed that Christ was very important. God said to him:

‘You are my Son.

Today I have become your Father.’

5:5See Psalm 2:7.

6 And in another place in the Bible God says this:

‘You will be a priest for ever,

in the same way that Melchizedek was a priest long ago.’

5:6Long ago, Melchizedek was a priest and a king. Abraham met him and gave gifts to him. See Genesis 14:18-20. Also see Hebrews 7:1-17.

7 When Jesus Christ lived on earth as a man, he often prayed to God. He asked God to help him. He prayed strongly and he cried loudly with many tears. He knew that God could save him from death. And God listened to Jesus when he prayed, because Jesus served God.

5:7In this verse the writer remembers when Jesus prayed in the garden. Jesus knew that he would die soon. He was very sad. He asked his Father to make him strong. And God did what Jesus asked. See Luke 22:41-44.

8 Jesus is God's Son. But he still had trouble and pain. In that way, he learned to obey God completely. 9 As a result, Jesus became the person who can save everyone who obeys him. Because of Jesus, God forgives their sins for ever. 10 God has chosen Jesus to be his special priest in the same way that Melchizedek was.

We must be careful that we do not go away from Christ

11 We have a lot more to say to you about these things. But you are slow to understand things. As a result, it is difficult to explain any more to you now. 12 After all this time as believers in Jesus, you ought to be teachers. Instead of that, you still need someone to teach you the first lessons about God's message. You have become like babies, who need milk instead of proper food. 13 Anyone who still thinks like a baby does not yet understand God's message about what is right. It is as if they are still drinking only milk. 14 People who have grown up eat proper food. In the same way, people who have been believers for a long time should understand more about God's message. They should have learned about what is good and about what is bad. They should know the difference between those.