Tuesday, 16 October 2018
…called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” Hebrews 5:10
This verse completes the thought of the previous two verses. The words, “called of God,” signify being “addressed.” The Greek word, from which they are translated, is a unique compound word signifying “towards” and “to speak in an assembly.” In other words, “to be called by name.” Thus, Jesus is “addressed by God as High Priest.” What has happened here is that the quote of the psalm from verse 5:6 is being restated by adding the word “High” to “Priest.” Putting the verses side by side will show this –
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek”;
…called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,”
The importance of the Melchizedek connection isn’t explained by the author here and it really doesn’t come until Chapter 7. Instead, the author will spend the rest of Chapter 5, and all of Chapter 6, addressing the surety of the hope which believers possess because of the work accomplished by Jesus, who is here designated as High Priest. The entire section may, at first, seem like an odd diversion away from this thought, but it isn’t. Instead, he will demonstrate the immutability of God’s promises which hinge on the fact that Christ Jesus is a suitable, competent, and eternal High Priest. In verse 6:20, Melchizedek will be reintroduced and, starting in verse 7:1, the significance of his office will then begin to be explained.
By having introduced Melchizedek here though, the author brings to mind the eternality of his priesthood as stated in the Psalms. The importance of this eternal priesthood is to assure the wary believer that if the priesthood is eternal, then so is the salvation – the two go hand in hand. Remember who is being addressed in the original letter – first century Jews who were considering going back to the temple rituals.
These rituals contained continual sacrifices of animals performed by priests who would grow old and die. Even the temple itself was a temporary structure requiring maintenance and which had, at the time of this letter, already been destroyed once. The only thing eternal about the temple rituals was the Object of the worship and petition – God. However, everything else was temporary and identified with a temporary covering. In other words, sacrifices were ongoing and the Day of Atonement came around each year. If it was an eternal atonement, it would have been a one-time event.
This is the importance of Jesus’ priesthood being an eternal priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek. When chapter 7 arrives, it will become much clearer. Until then, it needs to be understood that salvation – because of Jesus’ learning, obedience, and suffering – is eternal.
Life application: Everything about Jesus’ work is sufficient for all time. He lived one life under the law to fulfill the law. The law is fulfilled in Him forever. He died on the cross of Calvary as a one-time, final, and fully-sufficient atoning sacrifice for all people. He is appointed High Priest once and forever to minister for the people and to God. And so on. Nothing is deficient in the work of Christ. In Him, we have an absolute assurance that everything needed to keep us secure before God has been realized.
One time for all eternity Christ came and suffered on our behalf.
His life in exchange for ours – what an awesome trade!
Now we have comfort from His rod and His staff.
And in this life our salvation is eternally made.
Glory to You, O God, for Jesus Christ our Lord. Hallelujah, and Amen!