Reading for Friday, July 27: Hebrews 7
The Hebrew writer begins this portion of his sermon by alluding back to the tradition surrounding Melchizedek. We first meet this mysterious figure on the heels of Abram’s rout of the kings of Canaan and rescue of his nephew Lot (Gen. 14). After his victory, Abraham is greeted by the king of Sodom in the Valley of Shaveh (also known as “King’s Valley”). Gen. 14:18: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)” The Hebrew writer sees this figure as the king of both righteousness and peace. But more than this: we see this leader as a mediator between God and the people. God’s activity is not strictly limited to Abraham and his descendants. God has many priests in many places. The Levitical order of priests is patterned after this ministry in God’s Holy City, long before Israel as a nation even existed.
As impressive as Melchizedek is — “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever,” — Jesus emerges as a better mediator, “the guarantor of a better covenant,” (v22). On what basis? Look at the result of his mediation: “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them,” (v25).
Save to the uttermost. What a powerful encouragement to us! He doesn’t save in part, but to the uttermost. And His saving ability is linked to His eternal nature. As surely as He lives today, He will save to the uttermost those who participate in His intercessory ministry. He has made the ultimate “once for all” sacrifice “when he offered up himself,” (v27).