Father, I thank You for struggles overcome and blessings received. May today be filled with gratitude and hope.
Read Hebrews 7:11-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
The Old Testament way of acceptance with God says “do”! The New Testament way says “done”! Thank God for his saving work for us in Christ.
The Old Testament promise of a new, permanent priesthood “in the order of Melchizedek” (17), clearly implied that the old priesthood, law and covenant were imperfect, and would, in God’s time, be replaced. They needed replacing because they were weak (18) and imperfect. They could not achieve their primary purpose to make people “perfect” so that they could “draw near to God” (19).
God has now achieved this in and through Jesus. The new priest is of the tribe of Judah, combining Davidic kingship with divinely authorized priesthood. His ministry secures a better hope (19) and a better covenant (22). These are permanent because they are sustained by a double guarantee (22). They are guaranteed, first, by the promise of God, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,” (21) and, second, by the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. His is “an indestructible life” (16). The old way was weak and has now been replaced permanently. There was no point in turning back, and every point in persevering, because we draw near to God by the means he has provided, by Jesus alone.
This truth about our access to God is fundamental to Christian life and belief but the closely argued form of exegesis used by our author can seem alien to us. Few Christians today know the Old Testament as well as the New Testament writers knew it. We don’t think Melchizedek matters! But the New Testament is the Old Testament interpreted in the light of Christ. The Old Testament provides the essential foundation for understanding the New. Christians who do not know their Bibles well are just as vulnerable to falling back on previously learned ways of thinking as the recipients of Hebrews were to falling back to Judaism without Jesus!
How do you develop and maintain disciplines of study which ensure that you have the Old Testament background to understand the New Testament properly? Is something more needed?
Lord, remind me again that living in and for Your Kingdom means looking ahead, not looking back. Help me to press ahead embracing all You have for me.
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