Aloha Friday Message – October 23, 2015 – Priest Forever

1543AFC102315 – A Priest Forever

Read it online here, please.

Hebrews 5:5-6 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,     today I have begotten you”; as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever,     according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Mark 10:45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

1 Peter 2:9But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea. Sunday’s Gospel is the story of Bartimæus the blind man on the Jericho Road. Follow that link for a refresher on that story. I usually try to take a passage from the Sunday readings to build on, and this Friday is no different. The verses from the letter of St. Paul to the Hebrews are part of the epistle-reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A. I confess I was sorely tempted to just repeat that earlier message today, but I received other instructions, so … here we go!

In this passage, Paul uses one of his favorite styles of presentation – quoting scripture. The passage he quotes first comes from Psalm 2:7. Paul uses this passage to teach that Jesus has the authority of God to be Priest, Prophet, and King. Because his authority comes from God, it is indisputable and invincible.

The second passage is also from a Psalm; it is Psalm 110:4. Paul cites this passage to indicate Jesus’ human authority as a Priest. His Divine authority comes from being the “only begotten son” of God. His human authority comes from being a Priest in the order of Mechizedek. So just who is Mechizedek? We meet him in Genesis 14:18-20. He is the “King of Salem” and “Priest of God Most High,” (Ēl ʿElyōn) It was Melchizedek who offered bread and wine after Abram (who was not yet called Abraham) defeated a coalition of kings in Canaan and rescued his nephew, Lot. If you turn to Hebrews 7:1-12, Paul gives a more detailed description. Paul states his name means “king of righteousness.” He further states that there is no genealogy for Melchizedek. He is also the “king of Salem” (which is Jerusalem) and that title means “king of peace.” Is this beginning to sound familiar? Who else do we know as the King of Righteousness and Peace? Yes! Jesus, the Christ of God!

In Hebrews 7, Paul goes further in his clarification and demonstrates that perfection was impossible through the Levitical Priesthood – the Priesthood of Post-Exodus Israel – because these priests were human, not divine, and therefore could not render a perfect sacrifice because they themselves were sinners and in need of cleansing. Jesus, alone, can make perfect atonement for all sin because Jesus alone is the Perfect Priest. As such he is a member of the priestly order of Melchizedek. Some scholars point out that that name – Melchizedek – is actually more like a title than the name of a person. In that view, the name means “my king is Sedek,” and the meaning would be “Ruled by Righteousness.” Melchizedek is a servant and Priest of God Most High. Just a few pages farther into Genesis, the LORD presents himself to Abram as GOD ALMIGHTY – שַׁדַּ֔י אֵ֣ל El Shaddai. This is the first time in scripture that God names himself. Later he tells Moses he is I AM WHO AMYHWH.

Paul uses these references that are very familiar to the Hebrews – the Jews to which the Letter to The Hebrews is addressed – to argue that Christ is indeed a Priest greater in every way than any of the Levites who serve in the Temple or Synagogue. And what does this Priest do?

Just like the Priests before him, Jesus comes to serve and honor God on behalf of all humanity – himself included. “This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:38). He is ordained – consecrated by decree of God – to be a Perfect Priest, not just a human, Levitical priest. Jesus also came to serve others, to be the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, to be the servant of all so that he will be greatest among all. He came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Because his – and only his – sacrifice is Perfect, he is THE “… priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” All human Priests who follow after him are also called to serve God and our fellow earthlings according to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Belovéd, we are also called to be sharers in this triple investiture as Priest, Prophet, and King by virtue of our belief in, commitment to, and worship of the Christ of God.

Priest: We have looked carefully at what it means to be a Priest, but how does that carry over into our personal walk with Jesus? If we look at Romans 12:1, we are obliged through faith to daily offer or lives – body, mind, and spirit – as a living sacrifice to God. We are also to offer God adoration, thanksgiving, and praise. These are the functions, the priestly duties, of every believer.

Prophet: A prophet is someone who makes God known, speaks on behalf of God (“Thus says the Lord”), and passes on to people the truths that God wants them to know. In Numbers 11:29, Moses states, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets.” Another way of stating that is “I [would put that] all the Lord’s people are prophets.”

King: All believers will share in the Glories of Heaven to rule with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-7, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3). As believers, as Children of God (John 1:12-13), all have the authority to combat and to conquer the Satan and what he offers to us in the World and in Flesh. We have the authority to cast out these insults to God because we are Children of the Kingdom of God. Think about that for a moment! Do you see how important that is?

So, Belovéd, if we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we are part of the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of Israel, because we are like our Lord and Master – Priest, Prophet, and King. Created in the image and likeness of God, we inherit through adoption the Kingdom and all that goes with it:

Mark 10:29-3029 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age – houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecution – and in the age to come eternal life.

1Pt2-9MIn that way, we truly become – as Peter said – “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

He is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), and in Heaven, we too shall join with the angels in ministering to, praising, and worshipping El Shaddai Olam – God Almighty and Everlasting.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

 

 

Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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