Friday, April 24
Our “King of Righteousness”
When we confess that Jesus is Messiah, or Christ (i.e. ‘anointed one’) we are saying he is a king-priest. In contrast to other ancient governments, where the king was also high priest, these functions were served by separate positions in ancient Israel, probably for the sake of checks and balances. Both offices or positions were alike in that they were marked by anointing with olive oil, which symbolized the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. But despite the supernatural anointing, despite the checks and balances, and despite God’s covenant, the Ten Commandments and Passover and the like, ancient Israel failed to establish a government that righteously represented the God who established all of this for them. It would take a new covenant and new governance.
Jesus is the guarantor of a new and better covenant. He presents a better hope by which we gain access to God. He is the Christ, anointed to be King and High Priest, as King David prophetically declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:17, 21 = Psalm 110:4).
Melchizedek shows up in Genesis 17 as someone of importance; important enough that Abraham presented a tithe to him and received a blessing from him. Some think this King of Salem (Jerusalem) was Shem, son of Noah, which would make him Abram’s 7
great-grandfather. Whatever the connection, the name Melchizedek identifies him as the king of righteousness. Nobody fits that description like Jesus. His is a righteousness that is by faith and is from God. As our Priest he represents us to God and God to us, through the blood of his own sacrifice. As our King, he governs our thinking to conform it to his own way of thinking. Thereby he brings leadership influence in all our relationships as we trust him and are entrusted by him.
This Melchizedek “has become a priest … on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. … Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:16, 24-25).
Prayer: Thank you, God of ages, for giving us a priest who meets our need—holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens, who by his own blood, in the sacrifice of himself, has away with sin and brought us near to you by faith. I believe he will appear a second time not to bear sin but to bring salvation to me and all who wait for him. Come, Lord Jesus!