Grab your Bibles, and let’s go deeper into the testimony of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:1-3 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
Abraham had killed some kings, and upon his return he runs into this man named Melchizedek. This is really interesting, because in the Old Testament, typically, when we are introduced to a character, it will tell us their ancestry, the time in which they lived, and when they died.
But when Melchizedek shows up on the scene, it doesn't tell us anything. I mean, he just literally appears out of nowhere. There are just a few verses on him, and then he disappears. He is a very mysterious character in the Old Testament and to the Jews in the first century—until the Psalms and Hebrews were written to unveil more. These are some of the passages we read this week.
Now look at verse 2 where it says, “He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.”
So, he is called the king of righteousness, the king of peace. Do we know anybody else who goes by those names? Hmm?
Back to the top.
Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God …
Melchizedek was a King but he was also a priest. This is also odd because someone who was a priest and a king was unheard of. We’ll come back to this later, but know it makes him very unique.
Hebrews 7:1b … met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him
Now, this idea of blessing in Genesis would have been to offer wine and bread—bread as a symbol of sustenance and strength and wine, the symbol of life and joy.
So, Abraham, exhausted from battle, having just finished slaughtering the kings, comes across the king of righteousness, the king of peace, who offers to him strength and life. Is this starting to sound familiar?
Think of your own life. Do you feel like a soldier who is exhausted and weary? Wouldn’t it be nice to know the king of righteousness, the king of peace, who offers life and strength?
Hebrews 7:2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. …
Here is another odd thing! Abraham is the patriarch and he tithed. We don’t have time to get into that, but I want to point out the tithe. Abraham comes across the king of righteousness, the king of peace, who offers him strength and life, and he tithes 10% of all he owns.
Now, the tithe to the Hebrew wasn't, “Oh, I've got to give my 10% to be obedient” like we can often think about it. It was a symbolic gesture that meant this: “All I have and all I own is Yours.” It's not just, “Oh, I've got to do this, because of what he did for me” as though I owe my waiter a good tip for serving a good meal.
It is a symbolic gesture. It’s not that “hey, this 10% is Yours,” but rather “everything is Yours, and this is the symbol of that.” Our first fruits given to God is a statement of the priority of our life—the submission of our life to Him!
So, you've got Abraham tithing or saying, “everything is Yours” to the King of Peace, the King of Righteousness.
Hebrews 7:3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
Now, verse 3, exegetically, has caused people fits for years, because what it makes it sound like is that Melchizedek is eternal. So, does that mean, you've got God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and God the Melchizedek? There are two ways to interpret this. I think both are true.
It's NOT saying that Melchizedek is eternal, but that his character in the story seemingly has no beginning and that we hear nothing about where he came from and we know nothing of his ending, both of which are highly unusual in the Old Testament.
What the writer of Hebrews is saying is, the silence that occurs in the book of Genesis is so that this word picture could point to the one who is eternal: a king of peace and a king of righteousness, who longs to offer life and strength to those who are completely His.
So, the word picture here says, Melchizedek is Jesus, you and I are Abraham.
Now skip down to Verse 13, because this is where it gets really good. Lean in and don’t miss this.
Hebrews 7:13-19 For the one of whom these things are spoken [Melchizedek] belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest [Jesus] arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” [This is quoting Psalm 110:4] For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect) …
Understand, the Law makes nothing perfect. I will say it again, the law makes nothing perfect.
Now read on: Hebrews 7:19 … but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
In other words, there is good news—a new hope. Through this good news, we draw near to God.
Hebrews 7:22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
This is why Jesus is the truer and better Priest and is so much better than the Law.
Hebrews 7:23-24 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
So, the author is going to show another reason why the Law is lacking. Not only can the Law not change your heart, but there had to be tons of priests because they were always dying. They were always limited on how much they could help because they were human, and they were dying all the time.
Have you ever had your world unravel and not be able to get a hold of anyone?
Now what this is saying is: in moments when there is no one to be found and you are all on your own, Jesus here is referencing that moment and is saying, “Here's another way I am greater. I am always, always, always available. At 2:00 a.m., I am available. On Thursday night, I am available.” Jesus is saying, “I do not nap; I do not eat dinner; I have no other things to tend to that take my attention from you; I am always available to those who will draw near to Me. No voice mail; no three days to get back to you via e-mail. I am here. Right now, I am here.” Do you know Jesus in this way? You can!
Now, I believe the main point of this chapter is in verse 25.
Hebrews 7:25 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.
Intercede means to appear on behalf of someone who is on trial.
We all whether we see it or admit it or not. We are trying to gain the approval of those we look up to. Whether you believe in God or not we are all constantly trying to prove ourselves—how we look; how valuable or useful we are; how knowledgeable we are; how morally good we are; how talented we are.
Why do we need a truer and better Priest? Because we need an advocate, a mediator, a representative—a Savior that will get the job done! We don’t have to prove ourselves anymore. He represents us perfectly. Our identity is found in Him and no longer in our performance.
Why is Jesus Christ the Priest we need? Look back at verse 11.
Hebrews 7:11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?
Here's what just happened: Verse 11 just said, “If you and I could be made right by obeying the Law, then why did God send Jesus?” If you and I could gain right-standing before God by doing everything that's right and avoiding everything that's wrong, then why send Jesus?
Look at verse 26: Here we hear the understatement of the year!
Hebrews 7:26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
That is the understatement of the year! We are not bound to the Law; we no longer are dependent on our ability to obey the moral code in order to see God.
For those who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you have a high Priest who wants to transform your soul in such a way that sin loses its power. You have a high Priest who's not interested in you gaining control over your lust, but in giving you a new heart that loses its enslavement to lust. You don't have a priest that commands you to get control of your lies and your drinking and your issues; you’ve got a high Priest who gives you the power to overcome them.
So, it's fitting we should have Him. YES!! This is the greatest news in the world!
Why is Jesus the Priest, or Intercessor, or Advocate we need?
I’ll explain with this: if you are being audited by the IRS for years of back taxes, what do you do? You don’t know all the tax code and ways to work through all the legal ramifications of this. So, you get an advocate; you get someone to represent you who knows what he is doing and knows the technical jargon—the ins-and-outs.
Now, here is the key we must understand if this is to make sense. What do you look like in court? You look like your advocate. He goes before the judge and represents your case. The judge hears him while he thinks of you!
So, what it comes down to is this: if he is brilliant then you are brilliant and if he fails then you fail. Your advocate represents you in the courtroom. You are in your advocate.
I really want to help firm up a very important view of Christianity in this: to be Christian is not just for Jesus to be your example for how to rightly live life.
You might say, “I pray to Jesus and ask Him for help. I read my Bible and learn how to be a good Christian based on its teachings.”
Do you see what you are doing? That is the lifestyle that means YOU are going to appear in court and be your own attorney—to represent yourself and Jesus is just your model for how to do that. But that is not Christianity! To be Christian is to be in Christ!
Colossians 1:27 … Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Jesus is your Substitute. Jesus is your Source. Jesus is your Advocate. He stands in for you in the ultimate trial of your life.
Now read Hebrews 7:27: He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Jesus stands before the Father and says, “Father, you demand justice. You are a just God. My friend here is guilty! But, I have made payment—in my blood. And it would be unjust to receive two payments for the same debt. I am not asking for mercy for them, my substitution in their place demands justice.”
How dare we think that the perfect wrath of God and the true justice of God are somehow negotiable—that, somehow, we don’t need Jesus to substitute for us.
Representing ourselves by thinking, “But look at how good of a parent I am, or how hard I work, or how loving I can be. Surely these are enough.”
Enough to have relationship with a HOLY GOD? Enough, to convince Him that His true and perfect justice should be graded on a curve? NO WAY!
We are desperate to have an advocate that will do what Jesus did, and continues to do, on our behalf—be our atoning, sacrificial Substitute.
I want you to experience CONFIDENCE today; experience the GOOD NEWS, and let it capture your heart in the deepest place!
To be in Christ is to demand the justice only He can bring you! It is yours in Christ. That’s how good He is. That’s how absolutely dependent on Him you are. That’s why we sing His name out loud in a crowded room—because I will do things I don’t do for anyone else for my JESUS!
Now if this sinks into our core and we understand that life in Christ is the Christian life, then what difference will it make if you receive Jesus as your Priest?
Realize this: high priests were absolutely covered in gold and jewels. The net worth of a community was put into the robes of the high priest.
The other picture that is important to see is this: when you are in Christ, when the Father looks up on you and sees Jesus, the High Priest, He sees you as utterly beautiful, completely accepted, marvelously brought into the family.
What I want you to take with you today is this: Do not listen any longer to the world’s damning standards that cut and tear at you—that the world brings, or the law brings. Stand humbly, confidently in Christ who is your Advocate, who allows the holy God to look upon you as utterly beautiful and wonderfully accepted.
He is our Priest-King!
I want to close with this:
At the top of this study I mentioned that Melchizedek was unique. Here is why! Never did you have a priest who was also a king nor a king who was also a priest. Why?
The King represented the law. He told the law and enforced the law while ruling over the people. The priest represented the people to God. He was the caregiver alongside the people.
-Kings are like stern fathers demanding that you tow-the-line.
-Priests were like caring mothers who loved you even in your worst state.
So, it was a complete conflict to ever see the two offices filled by the same person.
But what if you and I needed someone who was both at the same time? Brothers, we do!
Jesus has to be absolutely committed to truth while also being absolutely committed to love if He is going to be willing to stand in our place to take our deserved wrath upon Himself. He has to believe that our sin will condemn us. He has to be flowing with love to be willing to stand in our place so that we can live forever with Him.
On the cross, He took upon Himself the eternal cup of justice for His people, because someone had to pay the debt of our rebellion—our sin.
Jesus can now look at the adulterous woman, the addict, the overworker, the liar, the prima donna, the over-spender, the loner, and you and me, in the face of our trials and not only bring us temporary counsel, but lasting counsel, because He says, “You are not condemned. Go and sin no more, because I stood in your place and took the condemnation for you.”
He is saying, “You are not going to get stoned to death today, because I was tortured to death for you.”
Jesus is our Priest-King; Jesus is our Advocate; Jesus is our wonderful Counselor. This is truly good news!
Draw near to Jesus.
Hebrews 7:25 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.
The key is that we draw near to God through Jesus. Turn to Jesus. Rest in Him. Hope in Him. Fix your eyes on Him. Consider Him. Draw near to Him! He is the covering for our justification—our right-standing with God. We must continue to enjoy and draw near to Him!
Today, hear the good news that God bids you, “Come!”
Our holy God of righteousness and wrath says, "Draw near to me through my Son, your high Priest. Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.”