Hebrews 11: The better priesthood

Hebrews 7:1-28

Hebrews 7:23-28 – 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Tonight, we are continuing our series on the book of Hebrews that we started in 2018. We did the first six chapters in 10 sermons. If you were not here at the time, I want to encourage you to listen to it on Spotify or watch it on YouTube. It will help you understand the book better. And now we are starting the second half of the book, chapter 7 to 13. I think we are going to have 13 sermons on it. So, 23 sermons altogether. And let me tell you, the first six chapters of Hebrews are easy in comparison to what lies ahead of us. We are about to enter the hard part of the book of Hebrews. And I am not making this up. The author says so himself. In Hebrews chapter 5, the author wants to tell his audience about the order of Melchizedek. But then he says that his audience is not ready for it. They still need milk and not solid food. Solid food is for the mature. So, he goes on a tangent in chapter 6 to prepare his audience for the solid food. And starting in chapter 7 onward, he gives them the solid food. It is one long argument that begins in chapter 7 and ends in the middle of chapter 10. So, chapters 7 to 10 are Christian’s solid food. We are going to spend 5 sermons talking about it. So, if you feel overwhelmed tonight, don’t worry, four more sermons are coming.

And let me be honest with you. Hebrews chapter 7 to 10 are theologically dense and difficult. Especially our chapter for today. Hebrews chapter 7 is one of the hardest chapters in the New Testament. I even thought of skipping this whole chapter and begin the continuation of our Hebrews series from chapter 8. But if I do that, it means I am not preaching the whole counsel of God. And one day when we get to heaven, you might meet Melchizedek and say to him, “Melki who? I know Melinda but I have never heard of Melkinda” and I will look bad as your pastor. I don’t want that to happen. So tonight, we will learn together about Melchizedek. And let me tell you what will happen. The first 35 minutes of the sermon, it is going to be very theologically dense. There is no way around it. But stick with me. Don’t switch off. I promise that we are going somewhere. If we manage to get our mind on what the author of Hebrews is trying to tell us in this chapter, it is life-changing and it is absolutely stunning. But to get there, we have to do the hard work first. So, RSI, are you ready for some solid food? If you are ready, say amen.

Melchizedek. What a name. Just out of curiosity, how many of you know about Melchizedek? How many of you hardly know anything about him? Melchizedek is a character from the Old Testament. He first appears in Genesis 14. There are just a few verses on him, and then he disappears. His name shows up again a thousand years later in Psalm 110. And that’s it. We don’t really hear much about him from the Old Testament. But then in the book of Hebrews, Melchizedek’s name appears again. And the author of the book of Hebrews spends almost the whole chapter talking about the importance of Melchizedek. In other words, although Melchizedek might not have long airtime in the Old Testament, he has a crucial role in God’s redemptive history. Melchizedek will help us understand the unique role that Jesus has. And to know Jesus better, we need to know Melchizedek. And tonight, we will specifically talk about Jesus’ priesthood.

I know that the moment I say priesthood, many of you think that it has nothing to do with you. But I will argue otherwise. Here is what you and I know instinctively. There is something wrong with us. We know something is wrong and we try to fix it. We can’t run away from it. It does not matter how hard we try to clean ourselves, we can’t get rid of the feeling inside of us that we are dirty. It is like a man who wears clean clothes from top to bottom. He wears the best shirt, suit, tie and shoes. He waxes his hair nicely and he uses lots of cologne. But he can’t get rid of the sense of dirtiness on him. He stinks. Why? Because despite all the clean clothes, despite all the hair product and cologne, the man hasn’t shower for a month. It does not matter what clothes we wear, we always feel dirty and smell bad. We instinctively know that there is something wrong with us. Why? Because whether we admit or not that there is a God, our heart knows that there is a God. And we have sinned against this God, and we need to be saved from his wrath. And that is our main problem in life. Our main problem in life is not terrible marriage, wayward children, financial crisis, terminal diseases etc. Our main problem in life is we need to be made right with God. And that is the function of a priest in the Old Testament. The people of God realized that they were dirty before God, and they needed someone to represent them before God. They instinctively knew they needed a mediator between them and the holy God. They needed a priest. And the author of Hebrews is telling us that Jesus is the perfect high priest that we need. And he will not only argue that Jesus is the high priest that we need but also that Jesus’s priesthood is better than the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament.

Why is this important? Consider the context of the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish church or group of Jewish churches that were struggling to follow Jesus. We found in the book of Hebrews that there were many Christians who faced severe persecutions. There were many self-professed Christians who walked away from their initial faith. They were faced with many temptations of the world. They were not only persecuted by the Roman Government, but they were also rejected by their Jewish communities and families. They found out that Christian’s life was not easy. And they were tempted to leave Jesus behind and return to Judaism. Why? Because Judaism was one of the official religions that were accepted by the Roman empire. So, if they converted back to Judaism, they would not be persecuted by the government and they would be welcomed by the Jewish community. And the same applies to us.

Today we lived in a culture that is hostile to Christianity. We are called bigots for living out our belief. Following Jesus is not easy, and we are tempted to walk away from the Christian faith. And to people like us, the author of Hebrew is saying, “Don’t! Don’t go back to Judaism. Don’t go back to your old ways. Do not walk away from Jesus. Because what you have in Jesus is far better.” Better than what? Everything. The author points out that Jesus is better than angels, Moses, prophets, Aaron, Levitical priests, the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant, the tabernacle and the temple. The book of Hebrews is not saying that all those things were bad. They were good, but Jesus is better. So don’t go back to the old ways of the Old Covenant but press on in your faith in Jesus and become more mature in him. And in this chapter, the author focuses on how Jesus’ priesthood is far better than the Levitical priesthood.

I separate Hebrews 7 into three parts. Melchizedek; The order of Melchizedek; The better priesthood. And then I will give you three implications of Jesus’ priesthood.


Hebrews 7:1-10 – For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Let me give you the background story that happened in Genesis 14. One day, Lot, Abraham’s nephew, was taken captive by some kings and Abraham came to the rescue. Abraham saved Lot, and on his way back, he ran into Melchizedek. And we are told that Melchizedek was both a king and a priest. This is strange because the role of king and priest usually did not go together. The Law of Moses prohibited the two to be joined together. It was illegal for anyone to perform priestly duty and offer sacrifices except for the Levites. One time, King Uzziah broke this rule. He walked into the temple and wanted to burn incense to God. The priest tried to stop him, but he would not listen. Do you know what happened to King Uzziah? God struck him with leprosy. The Law of Moses prohibited the role of the king and priest to be joined together. But Melchizedek was both. He was unique. But also pay attention to the meaning of his name.

Melchizedek means king of righteousness, and he was king of Salem, which means peace. King of righteousness from the city of peace. Does it resemble anyone we know? So, we have this priestly king by the name of Melchizedek who appeared out of nowhere to bless Abraham. And look at verse 3. Hebrews 7:3 – He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. This is interesting because usually when the Old Testament introduces a character, it tells us their ancestry, the time in which they lived and when they died. But when Melchizedek showed up on the scene, the Old Testament didn’t tell us anything. He appeared out of nowhere, and he disappeared just like that. No days of beginning nor end of life. It seemed like he was immortal. This confuses many people. “Is Melchizedek the fourth member of the Trinity? Is he God taking the form of a man? Or is this one of those moments where Jesus showed up in the Old Testament using a fake name?” The answer is none of the above. Melchizedek resembled Jesus but he was not Jesus. In other words, the author of Hebrews is not saying that Melchizedek is immortal. He is saying that because we know nothing about Melchizedek’s genealogy and when he was born and when he died, it seems to suggest that Melchizedek’s priesthood continues forever. The point is not in Melchizedek as a man but in the type of priesthood that he represents. Melchizedek is simply a shadow of which Jesus is the substance.

Let’s move on. Here is the main point. The author of Hebrews says that Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham paid tithe to him. To tithe is to give 10% of what is yours. For us, it might not mean much. But for the Jews, this is shocking. Why? Because patriarchs were not supposed to tithe. They sat at the top of the family as the authority figure. Patriarchs did not bend their knee to anyone. And there was no greater patriarch to them than Abraham. Abraham sat at the top of the ladder. Yet Abraham tithed to Melchizedek. And giving tithe was not simply a gesture of gratitude. Tithing was a symbol of saying, “Everything I have is yours.” And then the author makes the argument that when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, it was like Levi himself tithed to Melchizedek. How so? Because Levi was the great-grandson of Abraham. So, when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, Levi, who was still in the loins of Abraham, also paid tithe to Melchizedek.

Here is why this is important. The tribe of Levi was God’s chosen tribe to be his priests. It was their role to mediate between God and his people. That is why it was called the Levitical priesthood. And the Levites did not receive land like the other tribes of Israel, but in return, the other tribes paid tithe to the Levites. The point that the author is making is that Melchizedek’s priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood. That is why Abraham and Levi paid tithe to Melchizedek. And that is why it was not Abraham who blessed Melchizedek, but it was Melchizedek who blessed Abraham. And when the original audience hears this, they must be shocked. Because we know this. The superior always blesses the inferior. Not the other way around. And for the Jews, there was no one greater than Abraham because Abraham was the original recipient of God’s promises for them.

Let me give you an example. Most of you know that Timothy Keller is my preaching hero. Even though he does not know me, I know a lot about him. I read all his books and listen to all his sermons. No one has a greater influence on my preaching than him. One of my life wishes is to meet and talk to him in person. And last year, it almost came true. I went all the way to Kuala Lumpur just to listen to him preach and hopefully meet him. But it didn’t happen. I only got to see him from a distance. So close and yet so far. But I haven’t given up yet. One day, I will meet him and talk to him. And do you know what I want to do when I meet him? Three things. One, I want to take a picture with him. Two, I want him to sign my Bible. And three, I want him to pray for me and bless me. I will not meet Keller and say, “Can I pray for you and bless you?” I want him to pray and bless me. Because the superior always blesses the inferior. Can you see why this is shocking to the Jews? Because Abraham was the one who received the promise of God that through him, every family of the earth shall be blessed. So, Abraham should be the one who blessed Melchizedek. But it was Melchizedek who blessed Abraham. It means that Melchizedek and everything he symbolises is greater than Abraham and the Levitical priesthood. Are you with me? The question then, what is Melchizedek’s priesthood?

The order of Melchizedek

Hebrews 7:11-22 – 11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

Okay, this is very complex. What the author is saying is that as great as the Levitical priesthood was, it was not the permanent solution. The Levitical priesthood, as good as it was, was not perfect. If it was perfect, there would be no need for another kind of priesthood. And we need to be sure we use the word “perfect” correctly. Because a lot of time, we use the word perfect as a comparative or superlative term. But we actually have no idea what perfect is. It reminds me of one professor I had in college. For those of you who do not know, I am a high achiever. I always aim for the best result possible. And on my first paper with this professor, she gave me 83. That’s a distinction. And it was only 2 points away from 85, which is a high distinction. And I was not happy. I thought my paper deserved at least 85. So, I went to see her after class and I asked, “Why did I only get 83? What should I do to get a high distinction?” Yes, I was one of those students. And I will never forget her answer. She said, “I don’t give 85 unless the paper is close to perfect. And there is no such thing as a perfect paper.” How many of you had this kind of professor? She was annoying but she was right. In this world, there is no such thing as perfect. We have no concept of perfection. And the closest we have to perfection is only 85 out of 100. As good as Levitical priesthood was, it was at its best 85 out of 100. It cannot achieve perfection. And that is a problem. Because our God is a perfect God who demands perfection. He does not grade on a curve. We either get 100 or we fail. 99 is not good enough. Therefore, the Levitical priesthood cannot be the solution to our problem. We need a better priesthood.

Levitical priesthood, as good as it was, cannot make anyone perfect for the law made nothing perfect. It does not mean that imperfect is bad. The law and the Levitical priesthood were good. But as good as they were, they were imperfect. They taught us who God is. That God is holy. That there is a standard that we must meet to please God. The law tells us what to do. But it cannot make us do what we need to do. The Levitical priesthood shows us what we need to do to cover our sins. But it cannot completely remove our sins. They reveal sin but they cannot cure sin. They cannot draw us closer to God. Let me put it this way. The law can make us look like Christians, but the law cannot make us Christians. Can you see the difference? It is easy to look like Christians. All you have to do is look at other RSIers around you. “What are they wearing? Oh, they are wearing Uniqlo.” So you go and get yourself some Uniqlo. But then if you want the next level anointing, you look at what I am wearing. “What is Yosi wearing? Oh, he is wearing M.J. Bale suit.” Then you start to wear an M.J. Bale suit to church. Then you switch your Bible from the Message to ESV, the elect standard version. You know how to play the Christian game. You listen to City Alight and Sovereign Grace music instead of Bethel and Elevation. You read Keller and Piper instead of books with the author’s smiling face on the covers. You use the word gospel in every few sentences. You are planted in MC. And you eat KFC once in a while and post it on IG story with #GospelPeopleEatKFC. And you are guaranteed to receive a heart from me. You look more and more like good RSIers on the outside. And that’s what the law can do to us. The law can make us look like good Christians. But it cannot make us love God. It cannot draw us closer to God.

That is why we need a better priesthood. We need a Melchizedek’s priesthood. And the good news is that God has given us another priest in the likeness of Melchizedek. His name is Jesus Christ. Like Melchizedek, Jesus’ priesthood does not come from his family line. He is not of the tribe of Levi. Jesus is of the tribe of Judah, which is the line of a king. And like Melchizedek, Jesus is both priest and king. If Melchizedek’s priesthood is a shadow of an eternal priesthood, Jesus’s priesthood is eternal because Jesus has conquered death and resurrected, and he will not die again. And Jesus’s priesthood is perfect. Through Jesus’s priesthood, we can finally draw near to God. And when the perfect has come, the imperfect is set aside because of its weaknesses. But Jesus’ priesthood will never be set aside because it is perfect. There will be no revision nor update to Jesus’ priesthood. God himself swore an oath and he will not change his mind. Jesus Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The better priesthood

Hebrews 7:23-28 – 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

In these verses, the author is contrasting the Levitical priesthood with Jesus’ priesthood and shows how Jesus’ priesthood is far better. There are three contrasts. First, the Levitical priesthood is temporal while Jesus’ priesthood is permanent. The former priests were many in numbers but all of them died and could not continue their role. They were always limited on how much they can help because they were human, and they were dying all the time and needed to be replaced. But Jesus’ priesthood is different. Jesus holds his priesthood permanently because he lives forever. He continues to be our priest forever. He is always present, and he is able to save anyone who comes to him. This is something that no human priest can do. For example, I try to be a good pastor. I often say to some people that they have 24/7 access to me. Whenever they need me, I’ll be there. But let me tell you, that’s a lie. Why? Because I need to sleep. And if you call me at 3 in the morning and I see your name on my phone screen, there is a high chance that I pretend I do not see it. I’ll probably message you the next morning and say, “Hey, what’s up? Did you call me? Sorry, my phone was on silent.” FYI, my phone is always on silent when I go to bed. But Jesus is different. When everyone is busy and unavailable, when all our closest friends and families desert us, when we feel like there is no one to turn to, Jesus is always available. No voice mail, no email., no message. He is right there anytime we need him.

Second, the Levitical priesthood is imperfect while Jesus’s priesthood is perfect. Every priest in the Levitical priesthood were sinners. They had to offer sacrifices for themselves first before they offered sacrifices for the sins of the people. But Jesus is different. Jesus is sinless. He does not need to offer sacrifice for himself. He is a perfect priest.

Third, the sacrifice in Levitical priesthood is repeated daily while Jesus’ sacrifice is once for all. And this phrase “once for all” is a key phrase in the author’s argument. He is going to keep coming back to it. There is a great Greek word for it, “Ephaphax.” So, what happened in the Levitical priesthood was that the priests continued to offer sacrifices daily. There were always more lambs to be slaughtered because people continued to sin. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. But Jesus’ sacrifice is different. Jesus did the unthinkable. Jesus offered himself as the perfect sacrifice and paid the penalty of sin with his own blood. And he did not need to do it daily. Jesus’ sacrifice of himself was once for all. That’s why at the cross Jesus yelled out “It is finished” to let us know that the once for all sacrifice had been made. It was done. Finished. No more sacrifice is needed. Jesus is not only the perfect high priest, but he is also the perfect sacrifice.

And this is why the cross of Jesus is the centre of history. Every redemptive work before the cross looked forward to the sacrifice of Jesus for its foundation. Every redemptive work after the cross looked back to the sacrifice of Jesus for its foundation. Jesus Christ is the centre of God’s redemptive work. Jesus’ priesthood is definite, permanent, perfect, continuous and unrepeatable. Jesus has accomplished what no other priests could. Jesus is our perfect high priest. And the argument that the author of Hebrews making is this. If Jesus is the perfect high priest, if Jesus has a better priesthood than the Levitical priesthood, then why would you forsake Jesus and go back to Judaism? Why would you forsake him and go back to your old ways? That’s foolish. Are you with me? Now let me give you three implications.


Hebrews 7:25 – Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible. It tells us that Jesus’ priestly work is not only something that happened in the past, but it is also something that he does right now at this very second. At this very second, Jesus is interceding for us in front of God. He is praying for us day by day, second by second. The cross of Jesus purchased the forgiveness of our sins. The intercession of Jesus applies that forgiveness moment-by-moment. And let me give you three implications of Jesus’ continuous priestly ministry for us.

First, in Jesus, we are continuously forgiven. Jesus has paid the price of sin in full. He offered the once for all sacrifice and fully satisfied the justice of God. And right now, Jesus is presenting our cases before God as our mediator. Why is this important? This is important because even though we have put our faith in Jesus, we continue to mess up. None of us is free from sin. And often time, we feel like it is only a matter of time before God finally have enough of us. It is only a matter of time before he is tired of us and removes our names from the book of life. But Jesus is our perfect priest, and he constantly argues our case before God. So, Jesus does not forgive us through his work on the cross and then hope we make it the rest of the way on our own, but he continues to intercede on our behalf as we continue to fail. And Jesus never loses his case. Many of you know that I enjoy watching legal drama. I think I have watched enough legal drama to know that if you are put on trial, you are only as good as your lawyer. If you are innocent but you have a bad lawyer to represent you, you will lose your case. But if you are guilty but you have a really good lawyer, there is a high chance that you might win your case. A good lawyer knows how to win and manipulate the outcome at whatever cost like Vincenzo Cassano. But Jesus is not Vincenzo. He is not playing tricks. Jesus intercedes on our behalf with irrefutable evidence that the price of all our sins has been paid by his death at the cross. God forgives us not because he is soft on sin. God hates sin but he is just, and he cannot demand two payments for the same sin. Because of Jesus, we are declared righteous before God, and we are continuously forgiven moment-by-moment. We cannot out-sin God’s forgiveness because Jesus always lives to intercede for us.

Second, in Jesus, we are continuously drawn in. Jesus does not save us for the most part, but he saves us to the uttermost. It means that even in the darkest space of our hearts where we feel most defeated and most ashamed, Jesus’s redeeming work is present. He saves us completely and fully. Jesus does not leave us to draw near to God on our own. He is praying so that we would constantly draw near. Let me give you an example. On the night before the crucifixion, Jesus told all his disciples that all of them would forsake him the next day. Then Peter said, “Even if they all forsake you, I will never forsake you. I will die with you.” And Jesus probably smiled and said, “I like your spirit Peter but, no. Before the morning comes, you will deny me three times.” And that’s exactly what happened. Peter denied Jesus three times. But there is something else that Jesus said that is absolutely stunning. Luke 22:31-32 – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus is saying, “Peter, you are going to deny me three times. And you are going to be very miserable because of it. Satan has demanded to have you. They wanted you to never recover and forsake your faith in me. But here is what you need to know Peter. I have prayed for you. And your faith will not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Notice Jesus does not say if you turn but when you have turned. Jesus is performing his priestly duty by praying for Peter. When Jesus prays for Peter, Peter is secure. And the same Jesus is performing his priestly duty for you and me. It does not matter what we are going through, we can have comfort in knowing that Jesus has absolute control and is forever praying for us. We are continuously drawn in.

Third, in Jesus, we are continuously loved. Because we know that Jesus is constantly interceding for us, we will not be emotionally up and down all the time. There is an equilibrium in us that we do not have before. We no longer have to prove ourselves. It’s like this. Imagine a teenager growing up in a healthy, loving family. As he matures, he experiences identity crisis. He finds himself trying to figure out how to assure himself a place in his family. One week he determines to spend all his extra time helping his mom scrubbing the kitchen clean. The next week he determines to do all he can to imitate his dad. The following week he determines to spend every single night studying to get good grades to please his parents. One day his parents question his strange behaviour. “Son, what are you doing?” He replies, “I am just doing everything I can to secure my place in this family.” Do you know what his father would say? “My son, what makes you think you have to earn your place in our family? There is nothing you can do to earn your place. You are our son. Period. You did not do anything at the start to get into our family, and you can’t do anything to get out of our family. You are our son, and we love you no matter what.” My friends, this is exactly what God the Father says to us because of Jesus. A lot of times, we act like this teenager who tries to earn our place in God’s family. But God is saying to us that we don’t have to earn our place in the family. We are made righteous, we became his children, we are accepted, not because we earn it but because of Jesus’s perfect work for us. So even on our worst day, God continuously loves us. So, we have the confidence to draw near to God. We are not good enough, but Jesus is. And because we are in Jesus, we are good enough. If we think we are not good enough, we are denying Jesus’ priestly work. We have the sovereign God of the universe who continuously loves us. And we have Jesus as the perfect high priest who always lives to make intercession for us. This is why Jesus’s priesthood is the better priesthood.

Let me close with this. I do not know what kind of dark space you are keeping to yourself right now. It might be overdependence on alcohol. It might be a pornography addiction. It might be losing your temper again and again. It might be the shady business about your finances. I do not know what it is, but I do know that the way to deal with it is not to pretend it is not there but to look to Jesus Christ who is interceding for you right at this moment. Do not minimize your sin or excuse it away. But bring it to the one who is at the right hand of God, interceding for you based on his perfect sacrifice. Let your unrighteousness drives you to the only one who is righteous because he is able to save you to the uttermost. Listen to the lyrics from this hymn.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest, whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me

My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

Discussion questions:

  1. Deep inside, all of us knows that we are dirty and in need of a priest. Give examples of how this need is reflected in our cultures.
  2. Who is Melchizedek and what is the importance of his role in God’s redemptive work?
  3. “The law can make us look like Christians but it cannot make us Christians.” Explain.
  4. Out of the three contrasts between Levitical and Jesus/ priesthood, which one stands out the most for you? Why?
  5. Read Hebrews 7:25. How does knowing Jesus’ intercession ministry enables us to draw near to God?
  6. Spend time to pray with one another and draw near to God’s presence.
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