The Back Door
Loopholes. They allow people to circumvent custom and procedure. For the good, or the bad. You can get out of a traffic violation ticket that you are guilty of if the officer misspelled your name or wrote down the wrong home address on your ticket. We preached through Hebrews chapter 7 this past Sunday. In it, we can see how God creatively provided a “back door” through which Christ qualifies as high priest!
The old covenant dictated that men only qualified for the priesthood if they were from the tribe of Levi (Heb.7:5; Num.18:1-7). But in Hebrews, the writer is proclaiming that Jesus, who doesn’t qualify (Heb. 7:13-14), is now our great high priest! His whole argument hinges on this but to his Jewish Christian audience the credentials of Jesus posed a massive theological problem. So how does the author of Hebrews back up his argument and solve this conundrum? God gives him the wisdom to see and understand the unseen backdoor that God created thousands of years before!
The backdoor’s name was Melchizedek; An obscure, mysterious figure who makes the briefest of appearances in Genesis 14. The first 10 verses of Hebrews 7 the author spent building a case for the fact that Melchizedek was in fact a legitimate non-Levite high priest, as affirmed by their patriarch Abraham’s actions! Having proven the superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham, the writer shifts next to focus on the superiority of one “like Melchizedek” (7:11-28). He uses the only other reference to Melchizedek in the Old Testament (Psalm 110:4) to show that Jesus’ priesthood is “after the order of Melchizedek”, and lasts “forever”.
All in a day’s work for God Almighty to work outside the box! It was God who initiated the first covenant, but only intended it to be a temporary provision. The permanent forever covenant was going to be initiated by the prophesied Messiah. But the Jewish nation wasn’t prepared for this. I think they were more attached to the covenant than the covenant partner! What can we learn from this? That we don’t see the whole picture. That God can work in ways we don’t expect. That God may overturn the apple cart because it was only a temporary provision for us. Now I’m not talking about the means of salvation and relating to God. That is set in stone forever now! However, it could be in any other aspect of life. Our methodologies. Our life situation. We must live in a humble posture before God. He may surprise us and “change things up”. The way to be prepared to respond to him is to be growing in our relationship with him, so that we can hear him when he speaks to us. If we cling to the one who never changes and hold loosely to everything else, then we will be in the perfect place and posture!