What does Hebrews 5:5 mean?
ESV: So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;
NIV: In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.'
NASB: So too Christ did not glorify Himself in becoming a high priest, but it was He who said to Him, 'YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE FATHERED YOU';
CSB: In the same way, Christ did not exalt himself to become a high priest, but God who said to him,You are my Son;today I have become your Father,
NLT: That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, 'You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. '
KJV: 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.
NKJV: So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”
Verse Commentary:
As a mediator between God and men, a priest cannot simply choose to take on his role. Those who are legitimate "priests" must be appointed to that position by God. This is even more important with respect to the role of high priest. Prior verses have explained that Jesus was specifically placed in His role by God (Hebrews 2:17; 5:4). He did not simply assume the mantle of High Priest through His own decision (John 8:54). As in other passages of Hebrews, the writer seeks to use Old Testament passages to prove this point.

This explanation comes through a second reference to Psalm 2:7. This same passage was mentioned previously, in Hebrews 1:5. There, the point being made was the God never called any angel His "Son," and so Messiah had to be a man and not an angel. Here, the purpose is to prove that Christ is placed in the position of High Priest by God.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 5:1–10 explains how Jesus fits the requirements of a high priest. Earlier verses showed that the Messiah promised by the Old Testament would be entirely human (Hebrews 2:17). That humanity allows Christ to sympathize with our temptations and weaknesses. Here, the writer of Hebrews points out that this also makes Jesus qualified to be our ultimate High Priest. Because of His humanity, His prayers, His sacrifice for sin, and His appointment by God, Jesus' status is far superior to any other figure.
Chapter Summary:
Hebrews chapter 5 completes the previous commentary about Jesus' humanity. His human existence qualifies Him to understand other men and to offer sacrifice to God on our behalf. Jesus also fulfills the roles of both high priest and king, which the author demonstrates by returning to the Old Testament. The figure of Melchizedek is used to illustrate this point: that Christ, unlike any before, was able to be both the kingly Son of David and the High Priest for all people. The deeper meaning of this example, however, may well be lost on the letter's audience, since they are languishing in spiritual immaturity.
Chapter Context:
The book of Hebrews shows how Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose for mankind. For the sake of Jewish Christians, in particular, the author explains that Christ is superior to all other figures, and His covenant is superior to all other relationships. Chapter 5 continues the point made in chapter 4, that Christ's humanity makes Him a uniquely qualified High Priest. This passage bridges that idea into the writer's next warning: spiritual immaturity. This call to avoid apathy will run through all of chapter 6, before the writer returns to Jesus' priesthood in chapter 7.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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