Jesus, Priest Like No Other

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 7:20-28.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 7:21 (NIV) 
21  but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.'” 

On verses 20-21:  In a court of law, before a witness takes the stand, the witness makes a solemn promise, swearing to tell the truth.  This is called an oath.  The oath is meant to show that the person speaking is completely serious and sincere about the words he or she is about to speak and that his hearers can count on what he or she is saying. Likewise, when God spoke words to appoint Jesus as a priest, God swore an oath to show how serious and sincere He was about the pronouncement He was making.

Whereas others naturally became priests by being born into the tribe of Levi, Jesus supernaturally became a priest by way of God’s oath or promise.  It’s similar to what happened with Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.   First there was Ishmael who was conceived in an ordinary, natural, man-made way.  But then came Isaac, who was conceived supernaturally as the result of God’s promise (see Romans 9:9 and Galatians 4:23).  Jesus became a priest because of a promise.

A Better Hope Through Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 7:11-19.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 7:18-19 (NIV) 
18  The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless
19  (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

On verses 11-19:  In approximately 15th century B.C., Moses introduces laws to govern the people of Israel.  These laws are found in the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch, and are sometimes called the law of Moses, or simply “the law”.  The law of Moses stipulated that Israel’s priests, beginning with the first high priest Aaron, must come from the tribe of Levi.  Yet along comes Jesus who breaks this mold in that:

Jesus is not a descendant of the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah (v13-14)
Jesus becomes a priest not because of his family ancestry but because of the indestructible life he lived (v16);
Jesus is named a priest not in the typical order of Aaron as stipulated in the law, but in the order of Melchizedek as prophesied in Psalm 110 (v11).

Who is Melchizedek?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 7:1-10.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 7:3 (NIV) 
3  Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. 

On verses 1-4:  A few times already the writer of Hebrews has mentioned Melchizedek, saying that Jesus is a priest “in the order of Melchizedek” (for example, Hebrews 5:10; 6:20).  Now who is Melchizedek?  Melchizedek is a mysterious figure who is first mentioned in Genesis 14 where Abram has just returned from victoriously battling a number of kings.  All of a sudden, Melchizedek king of Salem appears, bringing bread and wine (v18).  In addition to being a king, Melchizedek is also called “priest of God Most High” (v18) and blesses Abram (v19).  Did you notice the parallels between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ?  For example:

Melchizedek is simultaneously a king and a priest, just like Jesus.  In fact the first mention of “priest” in the Bible is with reference to Melchizedek.  Similarly, it can be said that Jesus the eternal Son of God was and is the first ever priest. 

You Can Trust Who God Is and What God Says

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 6:13-20.  Let’s go!

On verses 13-17:  As an example of “those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (v12), the writer of Hebrews mentions the story of Abraham.  Despite Abraham’s old age and his wife Sarah’s inability to have children, God promises to Abraham and Sarah that “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” (v14)   To show how serious God is about fulfilling that promise, God “swore by himself” (v13) because “there was no one greater for him to swear by” (v13) and people usually swear on something that is greater than themselves (v16).  The specific wording can be found in Genesis 22:16-17:

16  …”I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17  I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

In addition to swearing by himself, God did one more thing:  He gave an oath.  By making this oath (promise), God was trying to make it “very clear” to Abraham and his descendants that God was serious about doing what He said He would do (v17).  As verse 16 says, “the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.”

Is it possible to lose your salvation?

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 6:1-12.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 6:1-3 (NIV) 
1  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
2  instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
3  And God permitting, we will do so.

On verses 1-3:  Just before this, the writer of Hebrews rebuked his readers for failing to mature spiritually.  As part of telling them to grow up, he mentions six topics that are foundational for every Christian to understand:

The first is “repentance from acts that lead to death” (v1), meaning the importance of turning from our sin (including our tendency to want to earn our salvation by our own good works) and turning to God.
The second is the importance of faith (v1).
The third is the importance of baptisms, referring to water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit (v2).
The fourth is “the laying on of hands” (v2), probably referring to how every believer is called and commissioned to serve God.

Jesus our Perfect High Priest

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 5:1-14.  Jesus our Perfect High Priest (Plus, 4 clues that you are still a spiritual infant) Let’s go!

Hebrews 5:1-4 (NIV) 
1  Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 
2  He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 
3  This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 
4  No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.

On verses 1-10:  In verses 1-4 the writer of Hebrews describes how the high priest under Jewish law was appointed and what that high priest did.  He says that the high priest:

is selected from among his own people (v1a)
is appointed to represent the people in God-related matters and to offer gifts and sacrifices to God for people’s sins, including his own (v1b)

Approach God with Confidence Because You Have the Perfect Representative

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 4:12-16.  These verses are worth memorizing.  They contain some powerful truths that we need to store up in our hearts.   Let’s go!

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) 
12  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

On verse 12:  Though the Scriptures (the logos “word of God”) were written thousands of years ago, they are incredibly relevant, applicable and helpful for us today.  Case in point: just before this, in verses 1 to 11 the writer of Hebrews gave a powerful sermon on Psalm 95 to communicate the powerful and relevant truth that trusting in Jesus’ finished work on the cross allows us to enter God’s rest.   What can we learn from this?  God actively uses the Scriptures to speak into our current situations.  God’s Word truly is living and active.

Jesus’ Finished Work Brings You Rest

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 4:1-11.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 4:1-3 (NIV) 
1  Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 
2  For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 
3  Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” …

On verses 1-3a:  What “rest” is the writer of Hebrews talking about here?  What “rest” is he not wanting his readers to miss?  To be clear, the writer of Hebrews is not referring to resting once a week from your normal work as per the 10 commandments.  The rest he is referring to here is the rest that comes from trusting in Jesus. God offers this rest to all of us today.  This is the ultimate rest, a rest that brings benefit to us not just today but for eternity.  As verse 1 says, “since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” 

Your Heart’s Condition Is Your Choice

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 3:7-19.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 3:7-8 (NIV) 
7  So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 
8  do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,

On verses 7-12:  There are two crucial lessons I learn as I read these verses today.
First, notice that in verses 7-11 the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95:7-11 and prefaces it was saying, “as the Holy Spiritsays”.  In other words, the writer of Hebrews believed the Old Testament is not just people’s words, but the inspired words of the Holy Spirit.

Second, notice that in this passage we are told not to harden our hearts and not to have an unbelieving heart that turns away from the Lord (v12).  In other words, your heart’s condition is your choice.  The condition of your heart is not something that is beyond your control.  Rather, you choose whether you will have a soft heart or a hardened heart toward God.  You choose whether you will have a heart that humbly responds to God or a heart that pridefully and stubbornly rejects Him.   It’s your choice.  Choose a soft and humble heart toward God today.

Fix Your Thoughts on Jesus and Experience His Peace

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Hebrews 3:1-6.  Let’s go!

Hebrews 3:1 (NIV) 
1  Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

On verse 1:  Could you use more joy, peace, hope, love or perseverance?  Then do what verse 1 tells us to do: fix your thoughts on Jesus.  Don’t just think about Jesus occasionally, but focus your attention on Him.  Fix your gaze on Him.   As the writer of Hebrews will later write: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).  When we spend long extended times looking at and thinking about Jesus, we gain joy, peace, hope, love and perseverance that the world cannot give.

Hebrews 3:3 (NIV) 
3  Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 

On verses 2-6:   In chapters 1 and 2 we are shown how Jesus is greater than the angels.  Now in the first part of chapter 3 we are shown how Jesus is greater than Moses.  When it comes to great leaders in the Bible, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who played a more significant role in building God’s house, or who served God and His people more faithfully, than Moses.