Devotional on Hebrews

The mystery priest of the Bible

Hebrews 7: God intervened and called this new, permanent priesthood into being.

The writer of Hebrews spends a great deal of time talking about a little known person named Melchizedek from the Old Testament book of Genesis. Abraham goes out to fight a great battle which he wins by the help of God. As he returns with the people he’s rescued and the spoils of the battle this “king of Salem” greets him. Abraham, the man with the promise of God, treats him as a priest, giving him a tithe of the spoils and receives a blessing from him. It will be centuries before Abraham’s descendants will have a formal priesthood and the case could be made that if anyone’s positioned as a priest it would be Abraham, not this otherwise unknown man. The Hebrews writer concludes that Melchizedek was ordained to the priesthood by none other than the Lord and that in him we have a priesthood that operates completely outside the Levitical priesthood of Israel. Then, many centuries later, another priest who’s outside the Levitical tradition appears. In a much greater way, he serves in the priestly role. This great priest makes the ultimate sacrifice for sins and thus blesses all people. The writer of Hebrews connects the dots for us that here’s another priest ordained, not because of lineage and not by man, but by God’s own decree. In Jesus we have a never ending, absolutely effective, God-ordained priest.

Take Away: Jesus is our high priest. We need no other.

Devotional on Zechariah

Prophet, Priest, and King
Zechariah 6: Showing that king and priest can coexist in harmony.
The prophet has a number of visions, and I’m not sure even he understands them all. In one vision he sees the high priest, Joshua and is told to fashion a crown for him. Zechariah is also told that Joshua’s (which is Hebrew for “Jesus”) name is “Branch” because he will “branch out” and take on the role of royalty, serving as both priest and king. Now, I’m pretty lost in the contemporary meaning of this vision. However, I know that about 500 years from the time these words are written that a man who is Prophet, Priest, and King is going to come to this world. These offices will be united in him and he’ll change everything. I know Zechariah’s words have meaning for the people who have returned from exile and are focused on rebuilding the Temple. However, I think they’re also intended to lay a foundation of understanding concerning the coming of the Son of God to this world. When the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus to us he spends a great deal of time describing his ministry as our Great High Priest. Then, the Revelator lifts him as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Take Away: In Jesus we have prophet, priest, and King.