Read Hebrews 7:1-14
The Preacher introduces us to Melchizedek in this reading comparing him to Abraham, who was still named Abram at the time he encountered Melchizedek. I had an “a-ha moment today” while reading this text and I just wanted to share this with you.
You’ll recall we first heard about Melchizedek back in Chapter 5 when the Preacher was rebuking his readers for not digging deeper. They were stuck in a place of complacency in their faith where it was “comfortable” and surface level. To see some of the rich connections involving Melchizedek, those hearing the Preacher’s sermon would need to be open to deep truth and significance. It appears the time has come to share a deeper revelation about the individuals God has used.
You’ll recall the Preacher quoting Psalm 110 in verse 6 of Chapter 5 to point to Jesus. “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” If you were wondering when you read that text who Melchizedek was, you are not alone. The Preacher said in 5:11, “There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.”
The book of Hebrews can be daunting with all of the theology and Old Testament references. Because of that, however, the “a-ha moments” are many because we can finally “connect the dots” and experience our faith blooming. Get ready! We’re entering a section known as “christological analysis” in the form of a sermon. That means, the aspect of theology concerned with the nature and work of Jesus. We’ve already seen how the Preacher sets Jesus apart as holy, above Moses and the angels.
The Preacher uses the example of Melchizedek to reveal a sneak peek into Jesus’ character. Before Hebrews, Melchizedek had been mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 14 (the Abraham encounter), and Psalm 110, which has already been quoted by the Preacher in this sermon. Now as the Preacher recounts the story, we learn that Melchizedek is both a king and “priest of God Most High.”
This text is powerful because we see how God uses whoever he pleases for his kingdom purposes. Melchizedek was not a descendant of Levi, the tribe called by God to be priests. Levi hadn’t even been born yet! Melchizedek was viewed by Abraham, the father of all nations, to be trustworthy and important. Abraham gave him 10% of what he had won in battle. The whole of idea of tithing, giving God 10% of your earnings, hadn’t become a formal requirement either because God didn’t give that until Moses brought the law generations later.
Did you just experience the same “a-ha moment” to see how this all points to beautifully to our Messiah and king, Jesus? He is also our high priest, which we are reflecting more on here in Hebrews. That adds such a richness to the relationship with have with Jesus, doesn’t it? To think we are “friends” with a king! A priest who has blessed us more than we deserve!
As verse 2 points out, the name Melchizedek means, quite literally, King of Justice. And, he was King of Salem, a location some believe to be the same as Jerusalem (all those years before King David).
The Bible is such a holy collection of messages for us if we allow the Holy Spirit to touch us while reading and reflecting. It’s time to give God some honor and praise for the gift he has given us.
Let’s pray. Thank you, God, for how you have masterfully created the universe and all that is in it. Saying thank you doesn’t seem to adequately represent the degree of gratitude that wells up inside me when I think of how you have put all of this in motion. Everything I know and will ever know comes from you. You are a master at orchestrating the truth revealed in your word. I marvel at your majesty. When I am lost and confused, please give me clarity. Help me to share your love with others. Open up their minds to receive from you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.