Reading Through The New Testament – October 24th, 2016 – Hebrews 7 Chapters that make you go “huh?”
Melchizedek has puzzled readers of Hebrews for ages. What is all this talk of Melchizedek? In Hebrews the author tells us that Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Ummm, ok, what does that mean?
Let’s start with Melchizedek.
He was the King of Salem. His story is in Genesis 14. After Abraham defeats King Chedorlaomer, Melchizedek appears suddenly and disappears just as suddenly.
Genesis 14 says this:
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, 'Blessed be Abram to the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand'. And he gave him tithe from all.
Essentially, Melchizedek serves the first communion and then tithes to Abraham and blesses him.
Melchizedek gets another mention is Psalm 110 ““You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
And that’s it for Melchizedek until Hebrews, where Jesus is said to be a priest in the line of Melchizedek. Ok, so let’s get into why this comparison is important.
The letter of Hebrews was partly written to set Jesus apart from angels and priests. The church this letter was written to did not understand what was unique about Jesus from angels and priests.
Imagine a jewish community that have lived their entire lives under the law, reading of priests and angels as the way that God reveals himself.
Then, enter Jesus. The son of God, the high priest. God in Human form. He changes everything. The author of Hebrews has such a high view of Jesus, as we all should. He is asking this church to realize how special and important Jesus is.
So, imagine living your whole life with a priest standing in between you and God. Now, Jesus breaks open the barrier and makes a sacrifice once and for all for your sins and you can approach the throne of God without any priest.
How do you convince a jewish audience of this?
Was Jesus a priest?
Well, no. Only levites were priests. So, how is Jesus even a priest at all?
Well, before Israel even existed there was a priest of the most high God named Melchizedek. He pre-dated and transcended the levitical priestlyhood. So, if a jewish person can believe that Melchizedek was a priest without being a levite, then they can believe that Jesus also was a priest in that same way.
The author of Hebrews is doing an amazing job convincing this jewish church to put their faith in Jesus as our high priest by making them understand that just like Melchizedek, he became a priest by the grace of God, not by family origin.
So, how does this connect with us today?
Before there was even a concept of God’s people or God’s priests or anything, there was a man named Melchizedek who got it. He understood that life was about giving and blessing. Life was about communion and gratitude. This is a story about an outsider getting it more than the insiders.
This is the story of Christ and his grace.
Jesus isn’t about the nobility of your birth, or status. He’s about grace. Anyone who lives in this grace and gives this grace gets it.
Jesus is the great priest in this order of communion and grace.
So today, you don’t need a pastor, priest, guru, or angel to get you to this point. Jesus has done this for you. He’s stood before the father and forgiven you. So, receive this grace once and for all and be free.