Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Heb. 7:11 ¶ Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron?
Heb. 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
Heb. 7:13 Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar.
Heb. 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
Heb. 7:15 ¶ It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek,
Heb. 7:16 one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life.
Heb. 7:17 For it is attested of him,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
The priesthood had been established through the line of Aaron. His descendants, the Levites were the priests who ministered before God and they were the ones through whom the children of Israel had to bring their sacrifices to God. Jesus is now the one who intercedes for us and make sacrifices for us but he is born of the line of Judah. How can this be, that Jesus, now our great high priest is not a Levite? Instead, Jesus is a different type of priest -- one in the order of Melchizedek. Who was Melchizedek? He was a great priest, a great leader back in the time of Abraham. We don't now where he comes from but he is on the earth and Abraham goes to him and brings him a tithe. If Abraham is the father of all of Israel and yet he brings a tithe to this one, Melchizedek, then isn't it assumed that Melchizedek is greater than Abraham? In other words, if Melchizedek is greater than "Father Abraham" and if Christ is a priest in the order of Melchizedek then Jesus is greater than Abraham as well. This is why there had to be a priest who would arise, not of the Levitical line, but from a tribe where "no one has ever served at the altar." Therefore Jesus is our great high priest, not because he was descended from the right line of people, but because of his life. Melchizedek was great because of the man he was and the life he lived. Jesus is our high priest because of the "power of an indestructible life." As a result, he can be our high priest forever.
Many of us are born with natural obstacles in our lives. We may feel that we were not born to the right "clan." We may have to overcome the very family into which we were born to serve God, to live faithfully, to work hard, to leave poverty behind, etc. We may have other obstacles in our lives including the color of our skin, our gender, our nationality, or physical handicaps. The list goes on and on and probably each and every one of us can find some kind of reason and/or excuse that we aren't born with all the "right" credentials. But Jesus and his life seems to tell us that those kinds of things just don't matter. Melchizedek and Jesus were both extraordinary people who went on to fulfill their calling despite their circumstances.
No matter who we are, we are all called to a life that will take us on extraordinary pathways because of the transformational power of the Holy Spirit at work within us. We must leave the excuses behind because God can work in spite of our weaknesses. Actually, I think he likes to work despite our weaknesses because it is in our weaknesses that he is strong. It is the result of the extraordinary in the ordinary that results in God getting the praise and the glory. When God's ordinary people are able to be extraordinary it is as a result of transformation and the extraordinary is really the reflection of Christ which is being seen in the life of the individual. Jesus is the extraordinary and if we, his children, are on a journey to become more and more like him, then it is the extraordinary Christ who is revealed through what we may deem as incredibly ordinary behavior.
Melchizedek and Christ followed extraordinary pathways. We are invited to join them, as we participate with Christ in his work and mission here in this world. Christ, the extraordinary in us, is still working to take us on extraordinary and unexpected pathways. To God be the glory!
Lord, thank you for giving us hope through your work in us. Amen.