Lord, thank You for fulfilling the office of High Priest so faithfully.
Read HEBREWS 7:11–28
Jesus Like Melchizedek
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”[a]
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”[b]
22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Repeat to yourself the words ‘the power of an indestructible life’ (16).
Notice that the beginning, the middle and the end of today’s reading mention perfection: the Law, and the ancestry regulations (16) of the Levitical priests made nothing perfect, but the Son ‘has been made perfect forever’ (28). Who He is and what He has done equips Him perfectly ‘to save completely’ (25) all those who come to God through Him. Pause to worship Jesus for all those whom He has ever saved, everywhere, for all time, to the uttermost, the great army of the saints, which has never lost a member through death.
Let’s return to the passage to trace in more detail the wonderful perfection of Jesus’ priestly office and work: He transcends, in his descent from Judah, all the priests in the line of Levi and Aaron; He is superior to the mysterious King Melchizedek – and the word ‘forever’ (17) introduces us to the ‘better hope’ (19); the oath confirming the promise of His appointment (Heb 6:13–20) establishes Him as the guarantor of a ‘better covenant’ (22); and the power of His indestructible life means that His triumphant prayers for us never cease (25).
I bring my meditations to a climax by learning verses 26–28 by heart, pausing on every detail stated here, setting out Jesus’ total adequacy to the achievement, maintenance, and completion of my salvation. Note especially the contrast between the expressions ‘day after day’ and ‘once for all’; and between the words ‘weakness’ and ‘perfect’. Let’s give thanks for every person who has helped us in our faith journey; resolving to deepen our dependency on today’s High Priest who ‘meets our needs’.
‘The work which His goodness began / the arm of His strength will complete; / His promise is yea and amen / and never was forfeited yet. / Things future, nor things that are now / nor all things below or above, / can make Him his purpose forgo / or sever my soul from His love.’ (Augustus Toplady, 1740–78, ‘A debtor to mercy alone’)
Lord, we acknowledge Your infinite superiority to Melchizedek or any other earthly priest.