I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up! – Mark Twain
A friend’s son receives money for his birthday each year – pretty normal. What isn’t normal is the amount of time it takes him to spend that money. An entire morning has to be blocked off so he can stand in the aisles of Target and deliberate. It’s a struggle because everything looks good and not one thing looks better than the other.
Today, we are invited into the aisle of Hebrews to examine two men – Melchizedek and Abraham. Our choice isn’t between good and bad, but rather good and better. Some of you are thinking, This is a no-brainer. I’ve heard about Abraham since Christian infancy. And who in the world is Melchizedek? I can’t even spell his name.
Yet here we are. This decision is essential, for the rest of the book of Hebrews is a downstream argument that will follow the better man. So let’s tally the points from Hebrews 7:1-3.
- The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness"… (7:2)
- This Melchizedek was king of Salem… [which] means “king of peace.” (7:1, 2)
- He is “without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever” (7:3). A mysterious birthright, but he’s also called a high priest forever. That’s another tally.
- He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him… (7:1)
- And Abraham gave him a tenth of everything (7:2). Meaning, Abraham submitted to Mel.
In this small passage, we have five points for Melchizedek and zero for Abraham. But if we’re still in doubt regarding who is greater, then we can skip ahead to Hebrews 7:7 and read, “And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater.”
The lesser – Abraham – was blessed by the greater – Melchizedek.
Melchizedek is greater than Abraham, and we know that Jesus is “a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:20; 7:17).
Jesus is in this greater stream, and it isn’t the stream of Abraham. How will this affect our understanding of grace? Take some time today to meditate on this text. Ask the Spirit to lead you as you contemplate what it means for Jesus to be “in the order of Melchizedek.”
Lord, Hebrews asks me to reframe knowledge – perhaps rooted in my childhood – by stepping into a culture from which I’m a millennia removed! This is hard! Lead me. Wash away whatever doesn’t belong. I’m committed to following You on the journey – trusting I’ll be refreshed and revived in this stream of grace. Amen.
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