Friday, December 23, 2011

Dec 23 - Hebrews 7:1-2

Merry Christmas - day 2

This "King Melchizedek of Salem,
priest of the Most High God,
met Abraham ... and blessed him;
and to him Abraham apportioned
one-tenth of everything.
His name ... means,
"king of righteousness";
next he is also king of Salem,
that is, "king of peace."
Hebrews 7:1-2

God is amazing.

From the first pages of scripture and the beginning of creation, God's plan was to send us a Savior. So what did he do? He put foreshadowings of Jesus -- some big, some small -- on seemingly every few pages of the Old Testament.

You get bonus points today if you can think a few that don't immediately leap to my mind, but here are three quick ones that occur to me in the life of Abraham:

God Miraculously Opens Wombs and Creates Life for His Purpose -- God opened the womb of the old lady, Sarah (see Gen 17), and the young lady, Mary, and God used these children -- Isaac and Jesus -- to fulfill God's purposes and lead his people. (That's the Christmas part of this story -- God's power and wondrous birth.)

God Uses a Lamb/Ram as a Substitute for Our Death -- When Abraham obeyed God's call (to sacrifice Isaac, Gen 22), God honored this faith and gave a lamb/ram as a substitute and sacrifice in place of Isaac's death. Similarly, Jesus, the Lamb/ram of God, was a substitute and sacrifice for our death.

God's People can Personally Meet the "King of Righteousness" and the "Prince of Peace" -- There are two parallels to Jesus in the life of Melchizedek.

In the Books of Moses (and for most of the Old Testament), when a character is introduced, we are given his lineage. For example, before Genesis turns fully to the story of Abraham (chapter twelve), the words "son of" or "father of" are already used 33 times! Genesis, however, does not mention Melchizedek's lineage. Therefore, we are told that Melchizedek, "without father, without mother, without geneology, having neither beginning of days nor end of life ... resembl[es] the Son of God [and] remains a priest forever" (Heb 7:3).

There's second way that Melchizedek is like Christ. Before there was ever a religion to preside over (Abraham's line was not yet established and the law of Sinai to preside over was generations from being given), Melchizedek was still a high priest of God. Jesus is our high priest too -- the ultimate high priest -- "he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them."

A third way that Melchizedek is like is Christ is through his titles. "Salem" is from the same root words as "Shalom." Both mean peace. Melchizedek is called both the King of Righteousness and the King of Salem; hence, the King of Peace. Those are, of course, titles for Jesus too. The point of the story of Abraham is that an ordinary human -- and that's what Abraham was -- could meet the Prince of Peace. So can you.

Indeed, I pray you meet him more fully this Christmas season.

In Christ's Love,
a guy who sings,
"O Holy Child of Bethlehem
descend to us we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today."

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