Jesus Is. . .!

Jesus Is . . .!

Hebrews 7:1-28

August 6, 2017

There was a man who had some personal issues going on in his life.  So, he asked a woman in his office who was known to be a prayer warrior if she would pray for him.  He knew she kept a list of her 10 most urgent prayer requests on her desk.  So, he asked her, “Do you have room on that list to add my name and situation to your prayer list?”

She looked at him and said, “Oh yes, three of the people I was praying for have died!”  (Kaye Gordon, Readers Digest, June 2001, p. 64)
UGH!!  When we ask someone to pray for us, we’d like to hope for better results than that!!

It’s one of the beauties of the church, that when we have a need, some issue which is going on in our lives, we can ask one another to pray for us.  Sometimes we just don’t feel equipped to handle those obstacles and trials which come into our lives.  It’s encouraging to know others are praying for us.  That’s called intercessory prayer.  Very simply, intercession is praying for yourself and praying for others.  We are interceding on behalf of someone who has a need.

We see it in the Old Testament, where the role of mediator was the intercessor.  We see it in Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Hezekiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.  Intercessory prayer is encouraged throughout the Bible.
· God had Abraham intercede for Kings
· Job was told by God to intercede for his friends
· Paul urged “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1)

And as we begin our look at Hebrews 7, we read near the end of this chapter some amazing words ~ 25 Consequently, He (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since HE ALWAYS LIVES TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM. – Hebrews 7:25
We also see that echoed by Paul in Romans 8:34 ~ 34 Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. – Romans 8:34

Man, we can stop right here, pack up our stuff and go home!  You can leave now and get in line at the buffet!!  Honestly, I don’t need to say more . . . but you know I will.  But we will come back to this.  And really, the only reason to continue is to explain Hebrews 7.
It’s one thing to ask me to pray for you, or your Sunday School class, or the church . . . but notice we also get Jesus interceding for us.  It doesn’t get any better than the Son talking to the Father on our behalf.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate intercessor.

We’ve been looking at the role of the high priest and it was the job of the high priest to intercede for the people of Israel.  Especially once a year on the holiest of Jewish holy days, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. . . The high priest would bring a blood sacrifice into the Holy of Holies.  That blood would represent the sins of the people and the sins of the high priest.

He would offer the sacrifices on the Altar, then carry the blood through into the  Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept.  He would scatter the blood on the mercy seat – the top of the Ark guarded by the 2 angels whose wings spread out over the Ark.

This offering of blood was the most important offering and sacrifice of the year.  As a young boy growing up Jewish, I would attend temple services on the eve of Yom Kippur.  We would fast and pray.  The fast would normally last about 28 hours.  Yes, you get hungry.  We would attend at night, then we would wake up the next day and return to temple for an almost endless day of prayer.  Finally, after sundown the next night, the worship would end, and I would return home, and we would break our fast.

The point of Yom Kippur is that without the sacrifices, without the acts of contrition, the repentance from our sinfulness, there could be no forgiveness from God.  Without forgiveness, you would not be entered into the book of life the next year.

So, year after year, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement and offer sacrifices for the people, asking God to forgive the sins of the people, including the high priest.  What the high priest was doing, in effect, was interceding for the people of Israel.
But when Jesus came, He came to offer the ultimate sacrifice for our sins – He presented His own blood as a covering for our sins and in a sense, He brought His blood into the very throne room of God on our behalf.  And now He is constantly interceding for our sins every day because of that one sacrifice.  There is no longer a need for sacrifices . . . because Jesus has paid the price for all of us.

Ah, but with any good thing, there was a problem . . . and this is where we get into what is called the Melchizedekian priesthood.
We’re not going to go super deep into this, but for about the next 7-10 minutes, I’m going to get more academic and then we’ll return to the point of all this.  But this is important if you really want to understand who this guy Melchizedek is and why he was important.

OK!!  HERE WE GO . . .

All high priests came from which of the 12 Jewish tribes?  The tribe of Levi!  Listen to a portion of the law from Numbers 18:6 ~ 6 And behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the people of Israel.  They are a gift to you, given to the Lord, to do the service of the tent of meeting. – Numbers 18:6

BUT . . . Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi.  He was from the tribe of Judah.  You had to be a Levite to be a priest, not even a prophet or a king could fulfill their role.

So, how could Jesus fulfill the role of High Priest, not being from the tribe of Levi?
Well, the only way Jesus could’ve become a Priest was if God created another priesthood.  And that’s just what God did.  It wasn’t just a different priesthood, it was a priesthood of a higher order.  The writer of Hebrews tells us God declared His intentions in Psalm 110.  Jesus quoted Psalm 110 during His ministry.  The first 4 verses of Psalm 110 are ~

1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Note the two references to Lord, one is in all caps, that is Yahweh, the Father and the second Lord is Jesus.  That’s what David is referring to.  He’s saying my God is talking to His Son, the Messiah, my Lord.  It’s the same reference Jesus used when talking to the Pharisees in Matthew 22.  David continued, saying ~

2 The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter.  Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.
4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” – Psalm 110

So, without getting so crazy deep into this . . . this Psalm of David is telling us that God declared there was going to be a new priesthood – a priesthood that would last forever.  Look at that last line in verse 4.
Now, the writer of Hebrews goes even further – He declared that Melchizedek’s priesthood was superior to the Levites.  Remember, we’ve already seen some progression as the writer stated Jesus’ ministry was higher and better than the angels, better than Moses, better than the High Priests.

So, just who was this Melchizedek?  He was a priest and king of Salem (which was Jerusalem).  He was a king during the days of Abraham.  Genesis 14 tells us Melchidedek blessed Abraham after he rescued Lot and returned from an important battle and gave 10 % of the plunder to this priest.
In verse 6-7 the writer tells us ~ 6 But this man who does not have his descent from them (Levites) received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 

So, the writer is telling us that Melchizedek is not a descendant of the Levites, in fact, verse 3 says his geneaology cannot even be traced and nobody knows when he was born.  And despite all of this, Abraham still gave him a tenth from his victory and Melchizedek blessed him and his people.

And in verse 7 tells us, 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.

We learn there is no arguing the fact that the inferior, who is Abraham, who is hugely important for the Jewish people was blessed by this king / priest, Melchizedek – – who is viewed as superior to Abraham.

But even more than that, Melchizedek had been intended to be a “type” of Christ, an example of who Jesus was to be, a snapshot in a sense of what Jesus would look like.  And it was a deliberate comparison on God’s part.

We read ~  2 He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
מַלְכִּי – {Mel-key} –  Melech  (king)צֶֽדֶק –  Tsadeq  (Righteousness)שָלֵם –  Shalom  (Peace)

The point of all that is this . . . Through Melchizedek, God was declaring that the coming Messiah would be a King bringing both righteousness and peace.

But even more than that, through this great Old Testament priest God declared something special about Jesus’ priesthood:
Ultimately, God intended Melchizedek to be a picture of what Jesus would be – an eternal priest.

Now what this means is this:

1st – there’s only ONE sacrifice now that God accepts.  Because Jesus is of an eternal priesthood, He has offered ONE sacrifice and God doesn’t need any more sacrifices.

God has no need of any sacrifices to be offered to Him.  When Jesus died on the cross, He offered the ultimate, the final sacrifice and any other offerings would be unnecessary.  Since Jesus came into the world, the only sacrifice necessary was the life of His Son.  There is only ONE sacrifice that God now accepts.

2ndly, there was only ONE High Priest that can intercede on our behalf.  Since Jesus has an eternal priesthood – no one else will ever replace Him. No one else can intercede between God and humanity.

In John 14:6, Jesus said: 6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
In essence, Jesus is saying, “I am THE High Priest.  I am the only one who can intercede for you.”

It’s similar to what Peter said in Acts 4:12 ~ 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Lots of people in our world will tell you ‘it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you’re sincere and good.  And others will tell you that “all faiths lead to Heaven.”  But it isn’t so, because if those sentiments were true, then Jesus would not be who the Bible says He is, and His suffering and death; His miracles and resurrection would really be worthless.

OK, I want to start leading us to the finish line.  But we need to look at the final verses of Hebrews 7 to get there ~
21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 
24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[b] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 
27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 
28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. – Hebrews 7:21-28

The Bible declares, in no uncertain terms: Jesus offered the ONLY sacrifice acceptable for our sins AND His was the only name under heaven by which we can be saved.

The new, better covenant based on Jesus’ eternal high priesthood comes with God’s oath and with Jesus as the guarantor, making it superior to any other covenant.

Honestly, if we stop and go all the way back to where we started this morning . . . what more do we need than to know God sent His Son, His perfect Son to be our sacrifice, so we wouldn’t have to do it again and again and again.  And we know His kingdom lasts forever, and the joy is that we get to join Him on that journey.

All you need to do is say yes to Jesus.  Tell Him to have His way with you!!

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