The Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 7:11-28

A New Priest and a New Law

Hebrews is that book of the New Testament that teaches us about our Lord’s High Priestly ministry at the Right Hand of the Father.  The Hebrews to whom he was writing knew all about the priestly ministry coming out of Judaism.  They knew that the priest was the man who offered sacrifices to God on behalf of the people.  They knew that the priest was the only one ordained of God to do so and that he came from the priestly tribe of Levi and specifically the family of Aaron, Moses’ brother—a law established by God centuries ago.  But Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi but of Judah.  “How could he serve as priest?” these Hebrew Christians might legitimately ask.  “Because he was ordained of God from eternity to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek,” the Preacher answers.  He has rehearsed the account from Genesis 14:18-20 showing Abraham’s submission to Melchizedek and cited Psalm 110:4 referring to Christ.

The Preacher further proves our Lord’s superiority to the Levitical priesthood.  His argument is thus set forth: 1) A Levitical priest was made so by legal requirement and bodily descent; he did not earn the priesthood, he was born one.  Our Lord, however, is priest “by the power of an indestructible life” and by oath of his Father in heaven who “will not change His mind.”  2) A Levitical priest could not remain a priest by sting of death; our Lord continues a priest forever.  3) The Levitical priest must offer sacrifices daily and first for himself.  Our Lord made one sacrifice once for all for his people and not for himself.

What this all means is that the Levitical priesthood was ultimately weak and useless because it could not perfect the conscience of the person.  For this reason it was set aside.  But we must not think God made a mistake by instituting the system in the first place; on the contrary, the Levitical priesthood, sacrifices, and laws governing them were in anticipation of Christ.  They foreshadowed his coming and made his people long for him.  And with his coming and the institution of his priesthood, a new law is now instituted—the law of liberty in Christ Jesus (James 2:12).  And a better covenant and hope is introduced through the priestly ministry of Christ, for the Father has appointed His Son who “has been made perfect forever” through suffering, and through his blood “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.”  We are Gentile Christians but our heritage is Hebrew and we best learn it to fully understand how great a salvation we have.

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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