For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:17)
When Jesus read the Bible, it was what we call the Old Testament. If Peter or Paul took a text to preach, it would be from the Old Testament. This first-century Hebrew church would have known and understood the quotations, allusions and illustrations, but that isn’t necessarily true of a twentieth-first century audience. Maybe you are clueless concerning Melchizedek. By the help of God, we are going to fix that. We are going to tell you who Melchizedek was—and why it matters—a lot!
There is THE MYSTERY OF THE PRIEST KING (v.1-3) “made like the Son of God” (v.3). Melchizedek, the “mystery man” steps out of the shadows in Genesis, for a brief moment in the spotlight, and then vanishes until Psalm 110 (quoted in Heb.7:17, 21). There is a message in the mystery—He is a type of Christ. The story unfolds in Genesis 14, where Abraham pays a tithe to this man who is both king and priest of Jerusalem. There the greater man, Melchizedek, blesses the lesser man, Abraham, and the lesser man pays tithes to the greater. Jesus combines the offices of King and Priest.
Hebrews 7:3 doesn’t mean that Melchizedek literally had no parents, pedigree, birth or death, but that none is recorded, and as such paints a prophetic picture of Christ, the Eternal Son of God. Jesus didn't have a Father concerning His humanity. He had no mother concerning His Deity.
Jesus is the ultimate King of Righteousness and Peace. As suddenly as Melchizedek showed up, Jesus will step out of the clouds, onto Planet Earth and seize control. The greatest of all will bless the world and we will bow before Him!
Next consider THE MAJESTY OF THE PRIEST KING (v.4-10) “how great this man was” (v.4). We are called to pause and meditate on the greatness of this man. Abraham was their father, and great example of faith. To hear someone speak of a greater than Abraham to these Jews was arresting, but it is evident that Abraham so considered him. The clear focus of Hebrews is that Jesus is superior to all! The Levitical priests would receive tithes under the law, but Levi paid tithes through Abraham in the genetic connection.
Then there is THE MINISTRY OF THE PRIEST KING (v.11-28) “He always lives to make intercession” (v.25). Thus the priesthood of Melchizedek is greater than the Levitical. Jesus offers a better hope (v.11-19). The preparatory phase of the Levitical priesthood is representative of the temporary nature of the law. The law could prescribe righteousness, but could not provide it. It could bring justice on sinners, but could not justify sinners. Reconciliation has been accomplished through our Mediator, Christ the Lord. Christ made a better covenant (v.20-28). The Levitical priests were installed by virtue of their physical descent. Jesus was set aside by God’s eternal decree. When Levites died, their service ended, but Jesus never dies! There was no one else like Melchizedek in the Old Testament. We may be sure, that in an infinitely better way, there is no one like Jesus! He is resurrected from the sepulcher, risen through the sky, and reigning above the stars. He will be ultimately acknowledged as King of kings and Lord of lords!
Jesus is King and Priest, Master and Mediator—Lord and Savior—He is both. We must receive Him as both, if we would be His follower. Have you?