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Episode Info: Hebrews 7:11-28 Pastor Chris Tweitmann (SLIDE #1) Hebrews can be challenging for Christians to understand today. This sermon delivered in the form of a letter draws on a number of specific Old Testament references and allusions that would have been comprehensible to any Jewish follower of Jesus living in the first century A.D. Living thousands of years later, facing a significant cultural distance from these times, we have to do a little extra work. We have to dig into the history and practices of Israel as recorded in our Bibles. This hit home for us last week with the start of Hebrews, chapter 7 (SLIDE #2) as the writer reflected on Jesus being a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Asked to consider a number of analogies between Melchizedek & Jesus, we needed to go back to the book of Genesis to remember (SLIDE #3) who Melchizedek was in the first place! If we got lost in details, here’s the recap of last week’s takeaways: (SLIDE #4) Melchizedek, who was a king and a priest of righteousness and peace foreshadows the coming of Jesus who is both our King of Kings and our great, High Priest. The scriptural silence related to Melchizedek’s background (SLIDE #5) – nothing is said about his family line and there is no mention of the start or the finish of his priesthood – indicates Melchizedek’s order is by definition an order of one. Therefore, the mystery of Melchizedek prefigures the eternal, everlasting priesthood of Jesus, which is without beginning or end. Today, as we look at the rest of chapter 7, we’ll hear these observations repeated again (see if you can notice them!), but the focus of today’s text is explaining how and why Jesus’ distinctive priesthood, while similar to the Levitical priesthood that had served God’s people for many hundreds of years, is ultimately superior – and why we needed a change, an upgrade from the former way of engaging our relationship with God and with each other (SLIDES #6 – #15) In this long passage, there are several phrases or statements that should jump out at us… (SLIDE #16) vs. 18 – 19: “The formal regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless… …a better hope is introduced.” (SLIDE #17) v. 22: “Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.” (SLIDE #18) vs. 25 – 26: “…he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” (SLIDE #19) v. 27: “He [Jesus] sacrificed for their sins, once for all, when he sacrificed himself.” The Greek word for “better” occurs more time in Hebrews than in the whole rest of the New Testament put together. By this point, that should come as no surprise as the writer has been repeatedly declaring to us Jesus is better than all the rest – simply the best. But now, the author begins to unpack why a...
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