Summary: The priesthood of Melchizedek has far reaching consequences for our faith.
OPEN: "Confiding in a co-worker, I told her about a problem in our office and my fear that I would lose my job. She was concerned and said she would pray for me. I know she keeps a list of 10 people she believes need her prayers the most, so I asked her if she had room for me on her list."
"’Oh, yes,’ she replied. ’Three of the people have died.’" (Kaye Gordon, R.Digest, 6/01, p. 64)
APPLICATION: Usually when someone prays for us… we’d like to have better results than that.
There are times in our lives when we feel the need to have someone else pray for us. Times when we are faced with difficulties, hardships and obstacles that we just don’t feel we can handle on our own. Those are the times when it’s encouraging to know someone cares enough to pray for us. The Bible calls that type of prayer intercession and it encourages intercession throughout its pages.
· God had Abraham intercede for Kings
· Job was told by God to intercede for his friends
· Paul urged “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (I Timothy 2:1)
And now here, in this passage of Hebrews we find that we have been paid the ultimate compliment: “… (Jesus) always lives to intercede for (us). Hebrews 7:25
Jesus intercedes for us. Boy, if you want results, you want Jesus praying for you. But as encouraging as that thought is for us, that Jesus is interceding for us, the writer of Hebrews is telling us that it means more than just having Jesus pray for us.
I. The writer is talking here about Jesus’ in His role as our NEW High Priest
You see, back in the Old Testament there was one man whose job was to “intercede for God’s people.” That person was known as the High Priest. Once a year, this High Priest would make special sacrifice (for his & the people’s sins) and bring the blood of that sacrifice into the presence of God. He would offer the sacrifices on the Altar, then carry the blood through the Holy Place, back into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. And there he would place the blood on the mercy seat - the top of the Ark guarded by the two angels whose wings spread out over the Ark.
Now many other sacrifices were offered throughout the year – but this was the most critical of all of them. For without this sacrifice there was NO FORGIVENESS of sins and the people would have died in their sins. So, year after year, on the day of Atonement, the High Priest would offer the sacrifice and “intercede” for the people at the Mercy Seat of the Ark for the forgiveness of the people’s sins.
But when Jesus came, He came to offer the ultimate sacrifice for our sins – He presented His own blood as a covering for our sins and He bro’t that blood into the very throne room of God on our behalf. And now He is constantly interceding for our sins every day because of that one sacrifice. NOW there are no longer any need for sacrifices = Jesus has paid for it all
ILLUS: Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we’ve become kind of like a man who suffered from a life threatening illness who has to take medicine every day to fight his sickness… BUT THEN, someone comes along with a medicine he only needs to take once. And he is healed.
I. But there is a problem with this scenerio.
Jesus wasn’t born of the tribe of Levi. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. The had Law decreed: You couldn’t be a High Priest if you weren’t of the tribe of Levi. In other words you wouldn’t be qualified to offer a sacrifice for the sins of others, if you weren’t born of the Levitical line. Not even Prophets and Kings could offer these sacrifices without incurring God’s wrath.
SO, how could Jesus offer his sacrifice if He wasn’t born of the Levitical line?
(pause) Well, the only way Jesus could’ve become a Priest was if God created another priesthood. And apparently that’s just what God did. The writer of Hebrews tells us God declared His intentions in Ps. 110. The 110th Psalm – that’s the same Psalm Jesus quoted during His ministry:
“The LORD says to my Lord: ’Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ (this is the verse Jesus said applied to Him - Matthew 22:44) The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.