After struggling to understand the relevance of Hebrews 7.1-10 for my personal walk with Christ, I came across a statement by M.J. Paul in an article found in the Westminster Theological Journal. He wrote, “The main question in Hebrews 7 is how it is possible that Christ became a priest while not belonging to the tribe of Levi.” And indeed, this appears to be the author’s main point, particularly if we read past verse 10 and into the paragraph of 7.11-22.
11If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come—one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. 20And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ “ 22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Now, the challenge of the text shifts from “who is this Melchizedek character and why should I care” to the relevance of Jesus becoming our high priest even though He was not from the tribe of Levi. Again, this is not a concern for us Gentiles; we have no such fascination with the tribes of Jacob. However, the challenge for us Gentiles is not found in Hebrews 7.11-22 but in the very next paragraph:
23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
In verse 25, we learn that Jesus “always lives to intercede” for us. Even today. His saving working in my life was not finished on the cross nor in the resurrection, but He continues to intercede for me even today so that I might be completely saved.
There is something about the nature of my salvation, something that requires the continual intercession of my Savior on my behalf, that I don’t quite understand. I hope today through my study of the Scriptures that I can get ahold of that.