The writer of Hebrews strikes upon a theme that is at the heart of Advent: Hope. The season of Advent reminds us of our deep need for healing as it arouses our longing for peace. Jesus told us, “In this world, you will have trouble” (John 16:33). All the troubles common to our own day were known to Abraham as well.
Abraham met with Melchizedek after the upheaval of a war. Surrounded by fresh reminders of human fallenness, Abraham sought out the ministry of Melchizedek, the priest of God, and the two of them turned to worship God even as the war-scorched world still smoldered.
It is precisely to such a world that Christ came and established His priesthood as the guarantor of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22).
Like Melchizedek, Christ came not in earthly greatness, boasting a grand lineage, but rather in the greatness of godly righteousness and faithfulness.
Like Melchizedek, Christ came offering refreshment, setting before us bread and wine, the food of kings and covenants.
Like Melchizedek, Christ came bestowing blessing, for He Himself is the fulfillment of every promise given to Abraham.
Like Melchizedek, Christ’s priesthood is not of man, nor of the descendants of man or of flesh, but of the Holy Spirit, sealed by God’s promise. But while the Levitical priesthood was imperfect, Christ’s priesthood is perfect. Christ alone is the righteous king, priest, and mediator of a new covenant of God’s peace.
We, like the Levites, cannot secure our own hope. Our strivings, our attempts at obedience, and our best efforts to set ourselves right before a holy God are all ineffective. All other priests, mediators, and sacrifices are insufficient to make us clean. But we have a better hope—a true and better priest Who enters into the very presence of God, interceding on our behalf.
I tend to picture Abraham alone with Melchizedek. But another king was there in the King’s Valley: the king of the wicked city of Sodom. Unlike Abraham, he seemed to pay little heed to the priest before him. The two did not converse. The King of Sodom was concerned only with sorting out the logistical aftermath of the war. He did not “seize the hope that was set before him,” but devoted himself to that which was “weak and unprofitable” (Hebrews 6:18; 7:18).
May we, like Abraham, fix our eyes upon our eternal priest: Jesus Christ. He is our sure and steadfast Hope who meets us in our need, sustains us with His provision, and blesses us richly by His grace. Only in Him may the weary world rejoice.
written by Caleb Faires