Hi friends! Today's reading I find to be...odd. The author spends a great deal of time continuing to try to dismantle the main patriarchs of the Jewish tradition in an attempt to prove that Jesus is better than them. Today the author turns their attention to Melchizedek, a very mysterious character that plays a huge role in the canon connection between the patriachs, the kings, and then Jesus. While I don't necessarily agree that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham as today's reading implies, I do agree was important. (And I'll admit their argument is very good!) In the commentary section for today I'll share a video on this character from the Bible Project which will offer some further context.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
One aspect the author is critical of is that a high priest is a sinned human like the rest of us and must partake in the daily ritual of cleansing. While I do not disagree with this; there is tremendous value in rituals. What role does ritual play in your life? (Church, work, family, etc.) How did you come up with this ritual?
As a follower of Jesus (who presumably claims Him as Lord) how do you view the patriarchs of the Old Testament? Are they obsolete or do they play a role in your faith?
- Commentary -
First check out this video from the Bible Project and then read this short write up related to him.
Melchizedek is a curious figure in the Bible, first introduced in the story of Abraham (Genesis ch. 14). He’s a priest king who rules in Salem, the pre-Israelite city that will later be named Jerusalem. In contrast to the kings around him, he recognizes Abraham as God’s chosen one, and he gives him the gift of a feast and God’s blessing. Abraham is so enamored with this royal priest that he gives him one-tenth of all his possessions (Gen 14:18-20). What’s this all about?
One helpful perspective is to remember that the story of Abraham is being told from the perspective of an Israelite author living centuries later, someone who knows the story of King David’s rise to a royal priesthood, and of Solomon’s sponsorship of a royal temple in Jerusalem. When David brought the tabernacle of God’s presence into the city, he dressed like the high priest (see the stories in 2 Samuel 6), and God promised to give him a royal lineage of kings that would produce a descendant who would build a temple to Yahweh that would last forever (see 2 Samuel 7). In the Psalms scroll, David reflects on God’s promise (see Psalm 2, 72) and says that this descendant will reign forever because of Melchizedek (Psalm 110). The story in Genesis 14 has been designed to anticipate the much later stories about David and God’s promise of a royal priest who would come from David’s lineage. This theme was important to Jesus, who claimed to be that anticipated royal priest (see Jesus’ discussion of Psalm 110 in Matthew 22:41-46), and this allowed Jesus’ followers to see how Melchizedek pointed forward to a future priest king (as in Hebrews chs. 7-8).
View more resources on The Royal Priest: Abraham and Melchizedek
Study Notes: https://tbp.xyz/abrahamstudynotes
Abraham and Melchizedek Script References: https://tbp.xyz/abrahamscript
Abraham and Melchizedek blog: https://tbp.xyz/abrahamblog
Abraham and Melchizedek podcast: https://tbp.xyz/priestpodcast
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 338 - Where He Leads Me. It's a simple hymn, but its simplicity is what makes it an easy one to remember and hum here and there.
1. I can hear my Savior calling, I can hear my Savior calling, I can hear my Savior calling, "Take thy cross and follow, follow me."
Refrain: Where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow; I'll go with him, with him all the way.
2. I'll go with him through the garden, I'll go with him through the garden, I'll go with him through the garden, I'll go with him, with him all the way. (Refrain)
3. I'll go with him through the judgment, I'll go with him through the judgment, I'll go with him through the judgment, I'll go with him, with him all the way. (Refrain)
4. He will give me grace and glory, he will give me grace and glory, he will give me grace and glory, and go with me, with me all the way. (Refrain)