Hebrews 7 has this great theme of Jesus as a high priest, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek. It is a unique perspective. Melchizedek is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible except where that encounter occurs in the Book of Genesis 14 and he's mentioned in Psalm 110.
Now in the New Testament, the writer to the Hebrews says God did this on purpose. This encounter between Abraham and Melchizedek is important because this OT character, Melchizedek, is a picture of Jesus, who is our Priest. Jesus is not a priest after the order of Aaron, the Levitical priesthood, but he's a priest like Melchizedek.
The writer of Hebrews is telling them why this is significant, because the temptation for the Hebrews, these early Christians who had a Jewish background, was not to do bad things. He's not just writing to them about don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't kill. Those choices are always easy and obvious. We know we're not supposed to do those things. The temptation for them was not to do bad things but to trust in good things. And to miss therefore, the best things.
He says the law is good, but when it comes to your salvation, it's weak and useless. The Old Covenant was good but when it comes to changing your heart, it's weak and useless. So the temptation for them is to trust in this Old Covenant. That's a good thing but it's not the best thing. Jesus is the best thing.
When it comes to changing your heart, the Law can't do that. The Law can’t make anybody holy. It can only show you that you're sinful. It can only drive you to Christ, it can only reveal your need of Christ. So the writer says in Hebrews 7:18, "For the law ...
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Hershael York is pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, as well as Professor of Christian Preaching and Associate Dean of Ministry and Proclamation in the School of Theology of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.