After tempting us in 5.10 and 6.20, the author of Hebrews finally gets to explain how Christ is a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Before you lose interest, remember what the Scripture writer said about these upcoming teachings about Melchizedek: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn” (5.11). Let us not be among the slow to learn about Melchizedek.
Our text for Sunday is Hebrews 7.1-10.
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. 4Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, their brothers—even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. 6This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. 8In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
The writer is referring to a story in the life of Abraham that is recorded in Genesis 14. Furthermore, the psalmist is building his argument on Psalm 110.4.
Who was this Melchizedek? How did he become a priest of the God Most High before the priesthood was instituted with the giving of the Law to Abraham? Why did Abraham tithe to him, hundreds of years before the Law was given commanding the Jews to tithe? And what on earth is the writer of Hebrew’s point? Why does he pick up on this obscure story from the life of Abraham when he is encouraging the Jewish Christians in Rome to stay faithful to Christ?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.