Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
1. The writer of Hebrews in presenting the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus in these verses, refers to a legendary high priest, Melchizedek. This “king of Salem” and Salem means peace, received a tenth, or a tithe, from Abraham after his victory over his enemies.
2. The point is that from Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, and Jacob otherwise known as Israel, would come the Levitical priesthood. Thus, the priesthood of Melchizedek is superior to that of the priesthood that would stem from Aaron, Moses’ brother, both of whom were from the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel).
3. Jesus then is like Melchizedek, superior to the priesthood descending from Aaron, and again shown in Abraham’s giving of a tithe of the spoils of battle to Melchizedek.
4. This explanation was important to Jewish believers in Jesus, especially since at that time the Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, and this in 70 CE.
5. Though Hebrews is not directed toward Gentile Christians, still it is essential for all those who follow Jesus as Lord to understand the historical and spiritual background found in the Old Testament.
6. In the Sermon on the Mount we find these words of Jesus: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). And the writer of Hebrews is helping us do just this.