Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Hope

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless… and a better hope is introduced by which we draw near to God.

                        Hebrews 7.18-19

Turning a Corner

Rather fittingly, we close this weeklong series on “Our” Christ with a bookend, circling back to Hebrews, where we began with Jesus, our High Priest. But, though priesthood remains the central topic, we’re ending on a different, even higher note.

Hebrews presents Jesus as our High Priest by categorizing Him with a specific priestly order. In ancient Israel, most priests inherited their titles as descendents of Levi, the son of Abraham and patriarch of Aaron, the first priest to serve under the Law. On occasion, however, God called priests from other tribes. They belonged to the Order of Melchizedek, named for a priest who ministered to Abraham. They were sworn into office and highly revered for the nature of their calling. Therefore, Hebrews says, Jesus’s divine call and tribe (Judah) verify His position in Melchizedek’s order. That much seemed fairly straightforward. Then, the author turns a corner and finds something truly wonderful in the Psalms.

God’s Oath

Psalm 110.14 reads, “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek’”—prophetic testimony of Christ’s status. (Stick with this; we’re real close to the good stuff.) Hebrews contends that since God Himself swore Jesus into office, tradition was forever altered. His mind could not be changed on this and Jesus’s priestly authority could never expire. The past was sealed. Old thinking, old beliefs, and old practices were nullified. In Christ, God introduced a better hope that draws us near to Him.


Maybe this excited Hebrews’ original readers—Jews trying to reconcile their religious legacy with their newfound faith. Yet why should this excite us? For the very same reason. We’re all trying to reconcile certain things we were taught with what we now know. Like the Jews, we must reject old stipulations for God’s forgiveness to embrace the hope that is Christ. Doctrines of exclusion and manmade tradition are weak and useless. We have a better hope.

It’s time we leave the past to its guilt, shame, and self-persecution. Trusting in Jesus, our Hope, we can fast-forward to our future. His position as our High Priest is forever secure, which means our access to God’s mercy and grace is also secure. Let others (even us) doubt this. It doesn’t change God’s promise. And just in case you’re worried He might renege on His word or reverse His opinion, remember: He has sworn it and He will not change His mind.

God set aside the old regulations and swore that Jesus forever will be our Hope.

(Tomorrow: Christ in You)

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