Today the author of Hebrews says that we have a High Priest, Jesus Christ. And because Jesus suffered many trials and temptations while on earth, as we do, He can empathize with our suffering. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Our inclination can be to run to family and friends with our problems instead of first going to the One who is in charge, the Lord. We have a Savior who knows us and loves us more than any other person. In fact, Jesus loves us so much that He went to the cross and died a horrific death for us becoming “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” So we can trust Him with our lives and we can trust that His ways are for our good regardless of our feelings.
The author goes on to rebuke the Hebrews for being lazy Christians – “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” All Christ followers should be growing in the knowledge of Jesus and sharing with others. We are not called to be lazy, passive Christians who constantly have to be fed by others like a baby. We are called to be ones who are actively pursuing the knowledge of our Savior to help mature other Christians and to share the good news of Christ with this lost and dying world.
The author then compares Jesus to Melchizedek, a king and priest who entered the scene of this Story in the beginning during the Patriarch Era (Gen 14:17-24). Melchizedek was without genealogy, just like Jesus who entered the scene without genealogy as a seed from outside of the human race. “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” Melchizedek, who has no recorded ancestry and was both a priest and a king, was a foreshadow of the coming Priest King Jesus Christ.
As Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, so did the Levites receive tithes from the people according to the law. But these tithes would not provide salvation, just as the Levitical priest could not provide salvation. The Levites were broken sinners just like everyone else. Therefore they had to offer sacrifices for themselves before they could offer sacrifices on behalf of others. There was still a need for a Savior to come from the outside. “For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.”
Jesus came from heaven to earth to become our perfect High Priest and “a surety of a better covenant.” “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”
More to the Hebrews tomorrow. Keep reading.