A High Priest for All
The author of Hebrews repeatedly contrasts Old Testament heroes and practices and then profoundly reveals how Jesus is the better and truer fulfillment of the Hebrew’s beloved traditions and patriarchs. In chapters 5 through the beginning of chapter 8 the author focuses on the superior priesthood of Jesus over the Levitical Priesthood as the eternal, perfected priest of the order of Melchizedek.
The Levitical priests would represent the people of Israel before God. They became priests by lineage, which didn’t guarantee righteous living; see Aaron’s son’s unauthorized fire or Eli’s wicked sons for example. Over and over the Old Testament prophesies that the Messiah will be a descendent of David from the line of Judah.
Genesis is filled with genealogies, but for Melchizedek there is no record of his lineage, before or after. Melchizedek was a priest in an order that had no beginning; because Jesus is the order’s greatest priest, it will also never end. The great news found here is that Jesus is not a Levitical priest for the Israelites, but a priest of the order of Melchizedek – meaning he is a priest for all.
Though the Jew and the Gentile were once separated by promise and law, through Christ all of humanity was extended the opportunity to be drawn near. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,” Ephesians 2:14-15.
Jesus is superior to every Levite office, including priesthood, because like the first high priest Melchizedek, his priesthood extends to every nation, tribe, and tongue, and “Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.” Hebrews 7:22.
We can’t get so wrapped up in the stories of our individual lives only to find we have lost sight of the big story – the metanarrative tale that God is weaving. Melchizedek is but a thread in the story that tells of the salvation of souls through Christ, and that thread highlights a more complete view of our glorious Savior. Melchizedek is important. Any glimpse in scripture which offers a more complete view of Jesus is beauty and truth that we cannot set aside. He is the perfect one, the Ancient of Days, the priest forever!
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