Summary: The book of Hebrews is all about Jesus!
Jesus Our High Priest (part 2)
-As you read the book of Genesis there are some amazing tales.
-You could make the argument that the two key characters in Genesis are God…and this guy called Abraham.
-We also read about Abraham’s descendants in Gen, but the reason those people are mentioned is that they’re related to Abe.
-Abraham was considered the Father of the Jews.
-He was the central figure in their history. And as you read about Abraham’s life in Genesis there is a very strange tale that is told.
-It’s easy to miss! The story is only 3 verses long and it involves a mysterious figure named Melchizedek!
-The story isn’t prominent in Genesis, but it’s one of the little things that becomes a big thing later on.
-And Hebrews 7 explains why that episode with Melchizedek was so important.
-In our series through Hebrews so far, we’ve learned that:
-Jesus is the Final Word, he is the King of Angels, he was 100% God and 100% man, he is our Rest, he is our way out, and last week we saw that Jesus is our Hope.
-Now, if you’ve paid attention you’ve noticed that:
-JESUS IS CALLED A HIGH PRIEST FROM THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK’S THREE TIMES BEFORE CHAPTER 7. (5:6, 5:10, 6:20)
-So far, we’ve read that without too much enthusiasm!
-Jesus is a High priest in the order of Melchizedek. Sound good.
-And good for him, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!
-But the question comes to our mind…“so what?”
-Why is that important to us, today, here in America?
-I promise I will answer that question, but not just yet.
-Most of us here have never known a human priest; Jesus is our high priest and we don’t really care what order he’s from.
-But the Jews who received this letter would’ve struggled with the idea of Jesus as a High Priest because of an intellectual barrier.
-In spite of all that Jesus said and did…in spite of that little matter of being raised from the dead…
-THE JEWISH CHRISTIANS STRUGGLED WITH A TECHNICALITY; JESUS WASN’T FROM THE TRIBE OF LEVI.
-The priests of Israel could only be from the tribe of Levi.
-And Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.
-And because of that one little detail, they had trouble accepting Jesus as their High Priest.
-That sounds a little whacky to me! He’s Jesus! God in flesh
-But this is the kind of thing you encounter in missionary work.
-If you want to share the message of Jesus you have to work through people’s preconceived notions.
-Not, we aren’t Old Testament Jews so it’s no big deal to us, but it was a big deal to them.
-So our author takes the time to write a careful argument showing that Jesus is a High Priest but from a different order; Melchizedek!
-Now this is a very long chapter, it’s technical and I don’t want to spend 3 weeks on it, so we’re going to fly through this and I’ll be summarizing some of the big sections for the sake of time.
-So there are three pillars that support our author’s argument.
MELCHIZEDEK WAS A PRIEST (VS 1-3)
-THE STORY OF MELCHIZEDEK IS RECORDED IN GENESIS 14:18-20
-Abraham had just won a major battle against Kedorlaomer’s army and rescued his nephew Lot.
-Suddenly this guy Melchizedek appears, and immediately and inexplicably Abraham says here is 10% of everything I took in plunder and it’s all yours.
-There are only 3 verses about Melchizedek but there are some important details given about him.
-He was also called King of Salem which means “king of peace”
-Before Moses, and before the Levite priests ever existed…this MELCHIZEDEK WAS CALLED “A PRIEST OF GOD MOST HIGH” (GN 14:18)
-That’s the first pillar. Here is the second:
ABRAHAM…RECOGNIZED MELCHIZEDEK AS A PRIEST (VS 4-7)
4 Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. (SKIP VERSE 5-7)
-ABRAHAM TITHED TO MELCHIZEDEK (VS 4) (Gave him a 10%)
-If you want to freak out your friends try that one: I just plundered the neighboring town & I’m cutting you in for 10%! (Call 911)
-Here’s why that’s significant; in the OT people tithed to…priests!
-Abraham tithing to Melchizedek proves that he was a priest!
-ABRAHAM WAS BLESSED BY MELCHIZEDEK (VS 6)
- Priests are the ones who gave out blessings.
-The Jews who read this letter had to stop when they read this and admit…even Father Abraham saw Melchizedek as a priest.
-That the second pillar of this argument. Here is the third.
MELCHIZEDEK’S PRIESTHOOD PRECEDED THE LEVITES (VS 8-14)
13 For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests. 14 What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe.