Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Hebrews 7:1-28

After the Order of Melchizedek

Here we meet Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness.”  He is a somewhat obscure figure who appears in Genesis 14:17-24, just after Abraham rescued his nephew Lot from some kings who had taken him captive.  He is called “priest of God Most High,” and blesses Abraham in the name of that same God.  In response, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of what he had.  (A tenth is a “tithe.”)  What is even more interesting in this account is that when the king of Sodom approached Abraham to thank him (he was one of the kings Abraham inadvertently helped by defeating the other kings who had captured Lot), Abraham refused, for he said, “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’”  Abraham knew which man was righteous and received a blessing from the one, but adamantly refused for his name to even be mentioned in the same breath with the other.

Melchizedek’s name shows up again in Psalm 110:4, a prophecy concerning the Messiah, and is quoted in reference to Jesus in this passage in Hebrews.  What is going on here is again how the New Testament, or covenant, outshines the Old.  The old covenant relied upon priests to offer sacrifices, constantly.  They were all of the tribe of Levi, Abraham’s great-grandson, to whose tribe Aaron belonged.  But Christ was not of that tribe; he was of the tribe of Judah.  So how could Christ be our high priest?

The answer to this question lies with this obscure man who blessed Abraham.  He wasn’t even an Israelite (as they were the children of Abraham), much less of the tribe of Levi.  He just shows up there in Genesis.  Hebrews mentions that he is “without father or mother,” not literally of course, but that his genealogy is nowhere mentioned.  Thus, in this way, he prefigures Christ in that he has “neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he continues a priest forever.”  So Christ fulfills the prophecy about being a priest, a new priest, a better priest than the Levitical priests of the old covenant.  And as a new kind of priest, one who lasts forever, he brings a new and better covenant.  And what can be sweeter music to the ears than to hear the words, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”  As the holy, innocent, and unstained “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), his sacrifice is “once for all,” ever efficacious for us.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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