In Hebrews Paul is telling his fellow Jews about Jesus, that he is their one and only high priest. Priests had held important posts, playing a significant role in the life of Israel and had done so since the time of Moses, even when they were in captivity. All this was to be destroyed for their nation and its temple were about to cease.

Paul’s message was, “since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses …” (4:14,15). He understands and sympathizes because “in the days of his flesh … he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him …” (5:7-9).

Jesus set the example for us, he knew what it was like to be human. But at the same time as being human his mind was alive to what God had caused to be written. He saw the real meaning of the God-inspired words of the prophets. This perception is behind Paul’s lament that his fellow Jews “have become dull of hearing” (5:11) – and today the same thing has happened to all nations despite the fact that God’s word is available in all language. The final ingathering (Matthew 13:30) is taking place, and we sense it is nearly complete.

There is a failure today to appreciate how “the word of God is living and active …” (4:12) and provides “solid food … for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (5:14). Nearly everyone, then and now had become “dull of hearing”. Paul also complains they are “unskilled in the word of righteousness” (verse 13). Let neither of these things be said of those who read and reflect on God’s word every day.