When we are on a long journey, say Wagga to Sydney, there are certain signs that we look out for. Usually it is a giant ‘M’ – those famous golden arches. Whenever I see that sign, I know that it is pointing me to a wonderful meal and rest!
Yesterday we thought about the different signs throughout the Bible that point to Jesus, most notably the mysterious figure Melchizedek. In particular, the focus today is on the greater priesthood of Melchizedek. The writer to the Hebrews wants us to know that Jesus is a greater priest, just like Melchizedek was. In our passage today we see the great and faithful patriarch of the Bible, Abraham, consider Melchizadek, a mysterious figure, as even greater by the way he treats him. The argument is one of lesser to greater. But it’s a surprising argument, because Abraham is the patriarch of Israel! But Melchizedek is shown as a greater priest, one who is different to that of the Aaronic line, or the Levitical priesthood (priests could only be Levites). The argument is made that through Abraham, even the priest Levi paid a tithe to Melchizedek, a greater priest who does not come from the line of Levi, just like Jesus.
The writer uses this thought to shift our thinking toward the law of God. The priesthood and law go together. The priesthood allowed mediation between people and God, but they too were imperfect. All people, including the Levitical priests, were sinful and remained under the judgement of God’s law. The law, specifically the Mosaic Law, is what we find throughout Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There are 613 commands, and all served to highlight our sin. God designed the law to help us see that we are totally dependent on Him to save us.
Enter Melchizedek, the mysterious figure with no literary beginning or end. He does not come from this priestly line. He is a different priest, a new kind of priest. We may want more details about Melchizedek, but it’s precisely that we do not have these details that helps us to see a greater picture of Christ. Where does Melchizedek go? Where is the rest of his story? We don’t know, but this mystery is what helps us see that Jesus is a perfect priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, one who had no beginning nor end! And that is good news for you and me. Jesus is the greater high priest who is perfect and eternal. He forever stands in our place, granting us eternal life with the Him.
- Why is Christ’s priesthood more perfect than other priesthoods? How does Christ’s divine nature play into His perfection?
- What does God’s sending of His Son to be the perfect mediator reveal about God’s nature and character?
Father God, thank you that Jesus is greater. Thank you that the law is fulfilled through Him and that we no longer need to make sacrifices for our sins, because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. Help me to be obedient to Jesus, instead offering a sacrifice of praise and obedience with my life. Amen.