Monday, April 6, 2009

King-Priest-Messiah… (Hebrews 7:1-10) 060409

I always have problem coming to understand and explain Melchizedek. I even have problem pronouncing this name. This name is mentioned only twice in the Old Testament, in Genesis 14 and Psalms 110. But the Jewish readers of Hebrews will have all sort of ideas and even theologies formed about Melchizedek; and Scripturally, he is only who he is described in Genesis 14, Psalms 110 and Hebrews. His appearance in Genesis 14 serves as foreshadow of a type of Christ even before Moses and greater than Abraham. In Psalms 110, King David uses this typology to indicate and foretell the coming a greater King-Priest-Christ.

N.T. Wright explains how the author of Hebrews comes to his translation of Melchizedek in verse 2:

Melech in Hebrew means ‘king’; zedek in Hebrew means ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’. Well then, he is ‘king of righteousness’; and since he’s ‘king of Salem’ (that is, Jerusalem), and since shalom means ‘peace’, he is also ‘king of peace’.

Wright also says that ‘this is really just toying with possibilities. The real point is yet to come.’ So, what is the real point of mentioning Melchizedek here by the author of Hebrews?

Anyone who s familiar with Hebrew narrative, he will notice that the account recorded in Genesis 14:17-20 about Melchizedek has some major problem. The author of Hebrews points it out blankly here in verse 3: ‘Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.’

How can it be that someone who has a status of a King and role of a Priest not properly introduces with genealogy or mentions something about his birth or death? Furthermore, he is given the impression that he is even greater than Abraham. Any Jewish reader will understand it’s significant. Melchizedek a type of King-Priest-Messiah. And if Jesus follows the order of Melchizedek (6:20), Jesus is the King-Priest-Messiah!

I am imagining if I am one of the original readers of Hebrews, what does it mean to me? I can have the assurance that Jesus will do what Melchizedek does: a priest perpetually (v3). But even greater that being a priest perpetually, Jesus offers a sacrifice which has a perpetual effect; that is, the forgiveness of sins.

Melchizedek receives from Abraham to offer a sacrifice, but Jesus offers Himself as the sacrifice. Melchizedek continues to be a priest, but Jesus completes His duty as priest (so to speak) with an eternal effect. Melchizedek is a priest to the Most High God, but Jesus is the Most High God who is also the priest. Such is the comfort for me to realize that I have Jesus who is my Priest, my King and my Christ. I can be sure that as I come before Jesus to confess my sins, He can take it all and forgive; because He has the compassion of a Priest, the authority of a King and the mission of Christ.

Let’s approach Jesus as your King-Priest-Messiah.


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