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A Lifetime Guarantee – Hebrews 7:20-28

May 18, 2021 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: Hebrews: Greater Than Scripture: Hebrews 7:20-28

As the author of Hebrews continues to reveal the existential and eternal importance and value of Jesus as our high priest, he considers the greatness of His Melchizedekian high priesthood. He opens chapter seven by first introducing us to this eternal priestly “order of Melchizedek,” which was hidden in the shadows of the Old Testament (Ge 14, Ps 110) and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Beginning in verse 11, he makes a case for the necessity and nature of a change in the priesthood (and related law). First, it was necessary because of the natural inferiority of the Levitical order (vv 11-12). Second, the change is demonstrated by the fact that Jesus was from the lineage of Judah, a tribe of which nothing related to the earthly priesthood was ever mentioned in Torah (vv 13-14). Third, Jesus’s priesthood is greater because it is based on an indestructible life (vv 15-17). Fourth, and central to his thesis, he shows why the old and imperfect order had to be set aside once the perfect had come; the Melchizedekian high priesthood achieved the purpose for which the priesthood was founded – it ushers people into the very presence of God (vv 18-19).

In the remainder of chapter 7, the author continues to make the same case, offering three more arguments regarding the change of the priesthood: 1) it is based upon a greater oath (vv 20-22), 2) Jesus is a permanent priest who makes greater intercession on behalf of His people (vv 23-25), and 3) Jesus is of greater character and virtue (vv 26-27). While no oath accompanied the Levitical order, God swore a changeless oath which Jesus eternally guarantees in the new covenant. The permanence of His priesthood makes Jesus’s once-for-all sacrifice efficacious unto salvation through His intercessory ministry. Unlike any of the many the old order priests, our Great High Priest is holy, innocent, unstained, separated and exalted. Also unlike the older order priests who offered animals, Jesus secured our reconciliation with God by offering himself; and so he was both the priest and the sacrifice. Finally in verse 28, the author sums up the argument which he began in verse 11: 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. Here he contrasts the weakness of the old order to the superiority of the new order based on an oath and the perfection of a Son. In addition to being a summary, he significantly returns to referring to Jesus as “a Son,” which is so important from the outset of the epistle. Recall Hebrews chapter 1 where the Son is presented as greater than the prophets and angels!