6th October 2022
Read (Hebrews 5v5-10)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
One of the most divisive figures of recent years was President Donald Trump. I remember speaking to a P7 class in Ballynahinch Primary in the days before the American Presidential election and the children were obsessed with Trump. They did impressions of him and shouted “build the wall”. I’d never seen any class pay any attention to politics before or since. Like him or not, Trump was a master of self promotion and for a brief moment in history the world paid attention to the man who told us that everything he ever did was simply the best.
However when it comes to the Lord Jesus, He was no master manipulator or shameless self-promoter. Jesus did not exalt Himself to become our great high priest but instead He was appointed by God (v5). God the Father said to God the Son “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” and “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” (v6). These are direct quotes from Psalm 2v7 and Psalm 110v4 and they speak of the legitimacy of Jesus.
He didn’t grease palms and He didn’t work His way up the ladder. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. What does begotten mean? Jesus is not a wee bit like God, He is the same substance as the Father. In the beginning Jesus was with God and Jesus was God. Additionally Christ is the eternal priest after the order of Melchizedek. Who was Melchizedek? We’ll speak about him more fully in future devotions but we can say that his name means “my king is righteous” and he was king of Salem which is later called Jerusalem.
Melchizedek is described in Genesis as the “priest of God most high” and so in Melchizedek we see the combination of the roles of priest and king. Melchizedek blessed Abram by declaring “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And in response Abram gave him a tenth (a tithe) of the spoils of war.
In Melchizedek we catch a little glimpse of Christ in type and in shadow. And what do we see? A priest-king and one worthy of our attention. Jesus did not seize these titles but they were bestowed upon Him by God the Father. Yet Jesus isn’t just our priest-king because of His relationship with the Father.
When He took on flesh, Jesus was a man of prayer and not least in the garden of Gethsemane. It was there that He called upon His father “with loud cries and tears” and “He was heard because of His reverence.” (v7). Here is our high priest - the One who even in the midst of suffering approached the Father with full reverence.
Jesus was also fully obedient to the demands of God’s law. Even as He suffered, He did not stumble or sin (v8). Here is our high priest - the One who learned what it was to obey even when the nails were driven into His body. At any moment Christ could have ended it all but instead He walked the path of obedience in the face of anguish.
Finally, Christ is the perfect One who is the source of salvation for all who believe (v9). Paul speaks of Christ “being made perfect” (v9). This doesn’t mean that He was ever imperfect, instead the Apostle means that Jesus grew from childhood to manhood to death and was sinlessly obedient at every turn. He was made perfect or in other words He fulfilled all righteousness.
Here is our high priest - He is not full of boastful bravado but He did everything well. He is not full of arrogance or pride but He was obedient even unto death. We have a high priest over the household of God who is perfect for the role. It was given to Him by the Father and He was the perfectly obedient Son. Remind yourself of this today. No matter what trouble comes your way, Christ is for you and Christ is great indeed.
Q71 What is required in the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour.