Worship, Sunday, June 16, 2024
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  • The Steadfast Love
  • As The Deer
  • Just a Closer Walk with Thee
  • My Life Is In You
      • Hebrews 6.13-16ESV

      • Hebrews 6.17-18ESV

      • Hebrews 6.19-20ESV

      • Hebrews 7.23-25ESV

      • Hebrews 7.26-27ESV

      • Hebrews 7.28ESV

  • Whenever we’re reading our Bibles, it’s not uncommon to come across a name or a place that is not only difficult to pronounce, but might even seem unknown to us. As we’re making our way through the book of Hebrews we keep coming across references that to us may feel unfamiliar. Why is that?
    As 21st century Christians we have to remember that at the time of Jesus, when he and others went to synagogue the preacher for the day would not pull out the Gospel of John, or one of Paul’s letters to teach from, they would pull a scroll of Isaiah, or Deuteronomy.
    In other words, they were learning what we would call the Old Testament. When it came time to try and understand a passage they would compare it to other passages from the same or other scrolls of the Scriptures. Scriptures that we call our Old Testament.
    This is really important for us to recognize and to ponder as 21st century Christians.
    If the writers of the New Testament and even Jesus Himself learned, studied, and quoted the Hebrew Scriptures, how familiar ought we to be with what we as Christians refer to as the Old Testament. The foundation of the New Testament is the Old Testament. It is not just the springboard, it is the foundation, it all points to the New Testament.
    Jesus Himself said, Mt 5:17
    Matthew 5:17 ESV
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
    The writer of Hebrews tells us He 6:20
    Hebrews 6:20 ESV
    where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
    He mentions this Melchizedek character. Who is/was Melchizedek? There is not a lot written about him. We read about him in Genesis. In Ge 14:17-20
    Genesis 14:17–20 ESV
    After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
    That’s it. That’s all we know about Melchizedek. He is referenced once again by King David in the Psalms in Psalm 110:4
    Psalm 110:4 ESV
    The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
    This is a verse referenced by the author of Hebrews. And that’s it! That’s all we ever learn of Melchizedek in the Hebrew Scriptures. And what we learn is in Jewish interpretation of Scripture can be gleaned from what is not said.
    Melchizedek is never mentioned in any genealogy, we’re never told of his birth, nor his death. And so within jewish literature they use this fact to infer an eternal aspect of the ministry of this High Priest.
    For the author of Hebrews this becomes illustrative of Jesus and not only his ministry, but his priesthood. In chapter 7, vs. 1-10 the author explains who Melchizedek was and interprets what was explained in Jewish literature and builds upon that in explaining Jesus’ ministry.
    There are some keys that the author points out:
    Hebrews 7:11 ESV
    Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?
    There’s a lot to unpack there, but here are the highlights. The levitical priesthood represented the law and dealt with people on behalf of the law. They were all from the tribe of Levi.
    The exception we have is Melchizedek who is not from any of the Israelite tribes, he’s Canaanite priest, but still listed as a Priest of the God Most High. So he’s outside the levitical priesthood.
    Jesus is also outside the levitical priesthood in that he is from the tribe of Judah.
    Melchizedek ties us back to the Abrahamic covenant, reminding us of the Israelites as the chosen people, the promise of God being with them, the promise of a place of rest in the promised land. Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant, we’re told.
    Hebrews 7:22 ESV
    This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
    How is that? We read on in vss. 23-24.
    Hebrews 7:23–24 ESV
    The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
    What is he saying? He reminds us that the former priests were limited because when they went to offer sacrifices for the people of Israel they first had to offer sacrifices for their own sinfulness. Beyond that they could not continue in office because they died, their life was finite. Jesus conquered death, rising again and sitting at the right hand of God. Jesus’ reign as high priest will not come to an end.
    Thus, the sacrifice he made is given greater weight than sacrifices that have gone before. It’s eternal. He 7:25
    Hebrews 7:25 ESV
    Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
    Since he always lives, Jesus is always able to intercede for those who draw near to God through him. This rings of John’s statement - Jn 14:6
    John 14:6 ESV
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    Jesus gives us entry to God’s throne room.
    I read the closing statements of this chapter as they seemingly build and summarize what the writer has already said regarding Jesus, exalting him above anyone who has come before.
    Hebrews 7:26 ESV
    For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
    Holy - pure, set apart, kept clean.
    Innocent - no guilt, faultless
    Unstained - though he was in the world, the world didn’t influence him.
    Separated from sinners - Again speaking to his ability to speak for sinners since he is not one caught up in the sin that infects them.
    And finally,
    Exalted above the heavens - He is lifted up higher than any other.
    Throughout the book of Hebrews the author has sought to exalt Jesus above all others. Above the earth, above the angels, above the law, above Moses, above the priests, above even the high priests, and now above the heavens.
    A key phrase here is He 7:27
    Hebrews 7:27 ESV
    He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
    He has no need to offer sacrifices for his sins - He has none. And now, this is the BIG story here - with Jesus, neither do we! He’s paid the price once for all when he offered himself. He paid the price.
    Remember when Jesus died on the cross? Matthew records, Mt 27:51
    Matthew 27:51 ESV
    And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
    Think about that for a minute, the curtain that separated the holy of holies from the holy place was torn in two. Now the holiest place for the jews was not available only to the high priest once/year, but was open to all!
    Through Jesus you and I have access to the almighty, to the one who created all things. Jesus made the way. We no longer need an intermediary. One who is perfect forever.
    Hebrews 7:28 ESV
    For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
    Jesus then fulfills the law that we were unable to fulfill. He makes the sacrifice we were unable to make. He opens the way we were unable to open and the priests appointed by the law were unable to open. Jesus did it. Jesus does it. Jesus will do it.
    May Jesus be exalted higher and higher.
      • Matthew 5:17ESV

      • Hebrews 6:20ESV

      • Genesis 14:17–20ESV

      • Psalm 110:4ESV

      • Hebrews 7:11ESV

      • Hebrews 7:22ESV

      • Hebrews 7:23–24ESV

      • Hebrews 7:25ESV

      • John 14:6ESV

      • Hebrews 7:26ESV

      • Hebrews 7:27ESV

      • Matthew 27:51ESV

      • Hebrews 7:28ESV

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