Monday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Hebrews 7:1-28 (NKJV)
1 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, 2 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,” 3 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.
4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.
9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. 11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek'”), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 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. 28 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.
Melchizedek, the king of what was to become Jerusalem, whose name means “king of righteousness,” is depicted by the author of the letter to the Hebrews as a type of Christ. That he had no father, mother, or genealogy does not make him an angel, as some of the ancients believed, any more than there being no extant record of his priesthood makes him a fictional character. The point is simply to highlight that, as with Christ, the question of human descent is immaterial. What is more, Christ, being of Judah and not Levi, is even from the wrong tribe. Melchizedek, priest and king appointed for service by God Himself, was of such stature that even the patriarch Abraham, returning from victory in battle, made an offering and sought and received blessings from him.
Jesus Christ is made our great High Priest forever by His heavenly Father, not in order to offer bulls and lambs at the altar, but to offer once His own life for sinners. Whereas, the obsolete high priest entered into the presence of the Most High God but once annually, Jesus now sits forever by the Father’s side interceding for us for His own sake.
We pray: Holy Father in Heaven, may the great joy and blessed relief of our salvation from sin and death move our hearts to be set on things which are above, making appropriate sacrifices to Him Who has no need for burnt offerings, and always being glad to receive from Christ the blessings only He can give. Amen.