The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return. – Milan Kundera, Ignorance
Nostalgia is a magical set of glasses. We can look through its lenses and long for yesterday’s drive-in theaters, simple technology, or values. But those same lenses blur yesterday’s lead-based paint, atomic bombs, endemic racism, or alleged McCarthyism.
When we wish for what used to be, are we wishing for the whole package, or is our remembering blurred?
The Hebrew Christians were wearing the nostalgia glasses. In Christ, they looked back at the law and wondered, What was wrong with it? After all, God gave us the law through Moses. What is from God is good. Weren’t those days just as good – even better?
The answer to that is an emphatic “No!” Yes, the law was good, but today is better. How do we know? Well, just look at the stream of Melchizedek.
We have established that Melchizedek was a greater man than Abraham, and therefore everything downstream from Mel was better too. We also know Jesus is in the order of Mel, which means Jesus is better. But better than who? Who was downstream from Abraham?
The answer is in Hebrews 7:10, “When Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor” (7:10). Levi, the father of the Levitical priesthood and Abraham’s great-grandson, was directly downstream from Abraham.
So Jesus was better than the Levites.
Whew! Did you follow that? The message is simple: The new covenant is better than the old. Grace is better than law.
Now maybe you’re nodding your head in agreement to this. Yes. Yes, that’s right. But do we know why the new is better than the old? Many believers live like Old Testament Jews rather than new covenant Christians. I believe this is because some don’t understand the better things available to them through Jesus’ gift of salvation.
If we’re going to live downstream from Jesus – in the better stream of grace and acceptance – we must know what was given to us by our forever priest.
Jesus, modern Christianity peddles countless ways to earn my position before You. Some are deep-rooted in history. Some are esteemed by celebrated leaders. But I don’t need more ways to reach for You. I need to rest in Your embrace that surrounds me. Remove these glasses of nostalgia so I see You. Amen.
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