Thoughts on Hebrews 6:13-7:28

This paper will address two questions: 1. What is the significance of the priesthood of Jesus [ a high priest after the order of Melchizedek] for a 21st century audience? 2. What contemporary preaching or ministry implications and applications do you see in the discussion of Jesus’ priesthood in Hebrews 6:13-7:28?

The significance of the priesthood of Jesus, particularly a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, for a 21st century audience is an assurance of the benefits that Christianity claims for its adhernets. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, those that enter into a relationship with Him, do so as new creations, completely made over from the inside out because of His work on the cross. Those of us living in the 21st century need to reminded of the significane of this sacrifice especially since we are so far removed from the actual crucifixion event.

A couple of things from this passage from Heb. 6:13-7:28, as well as the preceding several chapters jumps out at me. The ability of Jesus as a high priest to sympathize with the human condition resonates with me, and I know as a long time non-believer, seeing the Divine as able to understand human suffering and pain helped establish an interest in the person, and work of Jesus Christ. Through the first few chapters of Hebrews, the author, writing to Christians is careful to make sure that this congregation understands that Jesus really relates with where they are and can handle the problems of life, no matter who big or small. It is reassuring to me that Christians at times have the same questions and doubts that non-Christians do. Another thing that caught my attention is the meaning of the name of Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews is careful to tell us that his names “king of righteousness? and as the king of Salem, his name also means “king of peace.? I think this is important in that it speaks to Christ’s work on the cross and through his resurrection and the author puts it this way in Hebrews 2:11, “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family, so Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.? While we love to preach that Jesus is our Savior, we need to keep in mind that He is at the same time our Sovereign and set apart from sinners in that He has passed through the heavens and now intercedes on our behavles. Another thing that jumps out at me that is significant for a 21st century audience is that in our world of hurry and worry, the writer of Hebrew mentions that Jesus as a high priest meets our need. Our deep soul hungering need for salvation. Solomon touches on this in Ecclesiastes when he states, that “God has set eternity in the hearts of men.? The writer of Hebrews states that not only does Christ as high priest meet our need but then goes on to demonstrate how He does this, by saying, that Christ is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people, He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself? (Heb. 7:26-27). I would also like to add here that throughout this section (actually throughout the whole book) the author of Hebrews connects the story of God’s people with the larger story of God culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ. I think this is huge for 21st century audiences in that it helps to see God at work in human history as a real and active force in history and as people to come to acknolwdge Jesus as Savior and Sovereign they too will see themselves as characters in the unfolding drama of God. God observation

I have to include the following quote from Thomas Long about the priesthood of Jesus, especially for its signinfance to our conversation:
“Not only do we frequently make a mess of our lives, but even when we are at our best, even when we press ourselves to the limit to give and to serve and do the right thing, it still seems insufficient. We can never do enough, achieve enough, love enough, give enough, have enough, be noticed enough. Someone is always standing in judgment over us – parents, teachers, employers, strangers, our inner selves – putting us on trial, deeming our efforts to be unacceptable. So day after day we are condemned to trudge to life’s altar with a new offering, but it is never satisfactory.

The good news of Jesus’ high priestly ministry is that he placed on the heavenly altar, once and for all, not only his life but – astonishingly – ours too. He gathered up our hunger for approval, and he lived a life truly pleasing to God. He took our restlessness, and brought us to the place of Sabbath rest. He carried the human condition and placed it as an offering to God – not the ravaged, broken, humanity that we have made of ourselves, but humanity healed by his own faithfulness, humanity as God intended at the creation, free and joyful, at one with itself, others and God? (Thomas Long, Hebrews: Interpretation, A Biblical Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, p. 90).

2. What contemporary preaching or ministry implications and applications do you see in the discussion of Jesus’ priesthood in Hebrews 6:13-7:28?
Some of the contempoary ministry implications I see from the discussion of Jesus’ preisthood in Hebrews 6:13-7:28 is the need to communicate the story of the Old Testament to our congregations. Sometimes the language of Scripture is difficult to discern without a proper understanding of symbols, customs, etc., and pertinent to our conversation here has been this notion of Jesus as a priest, a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. This concept of priesthood is foreign to most 21st century readers in that our culture being so saturated with secularism and not predominately Jewish would find the language of priesthood set to an OT backgroud difficult to grasp. I think the importance of clergy though to our nation cannot go unmentioned, and in light of the Catholic church scandel with its priests who have gotten into a lot of trouble, as well as Protestant ministers who violate laws and the Scriptures has created a lot of confusion and skepticsim towards clergy, this section of the priesthood of Jesus serves to remind us of the scope and nature of the work of Christ. Number one that Jesus is larger than our preconceived ideas about priests and clergy, and that while ministers today are imperfect, He is not, and just as prone to sin as the priests prescribed by OT law were, those who serve in churches today are just as prone to sin. Number two, because Jesus is larger than our brokenness and frailties we can rejoice at Heaven’s best having been offered to clean humanity’s sin. This whole section seems to be pointing to the grandness of Jesus Christ, and the colossal size of God’s plan that trumps even the worst of our efforts.

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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2 Responses to Thoughts on Hebrews 6:13-7:28

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Jason. This is your cousin Tricia. I don’t have an account for this blogging forum. But, I did a Google search for you , and found your blog. Very cool. I wanted to say Hello, and to say email me at Id love to hear from you! One last thing…CONGRATS on the second baby, that’s on his or her way!
    Love you and God Bless

  2. Tricia,

    I am glad that you stopped by my web page. It’s great to hear from you. I will drop you an e-mail. Yeah, we are looking forward to being parents again. A little nervous, but excited. We find on Tues. April 5, what we are having. I will let you know!

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