SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The seventh chapter of Hebrews is about Jesus and a person named Melchizedek. Melchizedek was a king and a priest of a city named Salem (or Jerusalem) in the time of Abraham. The fact that this person was both priest and king is very different from the Jewish tradition, which required priests and kings to be descended from different ancestors. For background on Melchizedek you can read Genesis 14:13-20.
- Three points about Melchizedek:
- Melchizedek is both the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High. This points forward to Jesus, who was both king and high priest.
- Abraham honored him with a tenth of his plunder. When Israel became a nation, God set up a priesthood that collected ten percent of everybody’s income and performed God’s work at the Tabernacle (which was the Jewish house of worship in a movable tent), and later at the Temple (which was the Jewish house of worship in an immovable structure). Before God set up the Jewish priesthood, Abraham gave Melchizedek ten percent of his income as an act of worship to God.
- In a sense, Melchizedek remains a priest forever. This also points forward to Jesus who, after ascending into heaven, became our high priest forever, representing us to God.
- All the religious priests were appointed because of their ancestry; they were sons of Levi. But Jesus was appointed directly by God.
- Jesus also “has become the guarantee of a better covenant,” which dealt with sin once and for all and for everyone, instead of having to do so repeatedly and for only one people group. This better covenant allows us to draw near to God.
- Jesus “has a permanent priesthood.” All the other priests died because they were human but Jesus lives forever. Jesus “is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
- The former priests had to offer sacrifices for their own sins as well as for the sins of the people, but Jesus had no sin.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Verse 26 says that “such a high priest truly meets our need.” Not only was Jesus perfect and holy, he also became human. This means he knows what pain, rejection and loss feel like. The one who always intercedes for us is also the one who knows our hurts. When we come to him with these wounds and burdens he heals our brokenness and leads us into freedom.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Even though we have this promise in the bible, it can still be hard to come to Jesus. What things keep you from seeking Jesus in this fashion? What things do you have to let go of when you come to Jesus? Possibly the hardest thing to open up to Jesus about is that dark place within us that is wounded and broken by rejection, abuse, or loss. Life seems more bearable if these things are ignored or forgotten, so we constantly distract ourselves so we don’t have to deal with them. However, Jesus wants to bring us true healing and freedom, which comes from working through these things with him. This kind of self reflection is necessary for everybody. In Jesus there is safety to enter those dark places and courage to walk through them. Take some time to talk to Jesus about the thing you would most not want to talk to him about.