Without Beginning or End
Lord, challenge me where I have faltered, encourage me where I have despaired, strengthen me when I am weak.
Read Hebrews 7:1-10
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.
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together … he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead.” (Col. 1:17,18). And he is worthy of all our praise!
Hebrews is written to Jewish believers under severe persecution and pressure to deny their faith and, possibly, to revert to Judaism, thus enjoying legality of worship in the Roman Empire. The author shows how the Hebrew Scriptures foreshadow and prepare the way for Christ, who fulfills them. This demonstrates the folly of turning back to the shadow of what has now been fully revealed. The aim of the comparison is to enhance their understanding of Christ, not to demean their Jewish heritage. 7:1 to 10:18 is a sustained argument, developing the theme of Christ’s high-priestly ministry.
Melchizedek appears momentarily in Genesis 14:18-20, where he receives a tithe from Abraham, and blesses him. The first priest to be mentioned in the Bible, he was also the king of Jerusalem (Salem). In Psalm 110:4, he is a pointer to the promised Messiah being a priest-king. Our writer develops this insight further, quoting the psalm in 5:6,10 and 6:19,20. Now he turns to the Genesis account. Melchizedek is both prototype and precedent for Christ: prototype because he is both king and priest, and because his name and city point forward to the nature of Christ’s kingdom of righteousness and peace; precedent because he appears, as it were, from nowhere. We know nothing of his ancestry, but Abraham, whose future great-grandchild Levi will be the father of Israel’s priests, acknowledges his authority and precedence.
If Melchizedek was so great (4), senior to Abraham (6), how much greater is Jesus! The Son of God is “a priest forever” being “without beginning of days or end of life” (3). He existed before the period of the Hebrew Scriptures, and he fulfills them. The rule of God is established through him, and the way to God is opened through him. Why should anyone want to look elsewhere?
How accurate is your view of Jesus? Where does that view come from? Does it need to change in some way?
Lord Jesus, I praise You because You are the sinless mediator between God and humankind. Thank You for being that for me.
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