Senior Adult Weekly Devotional Wk.91

By: Noah Barr

 What Has Never Been Done Before

Hebrews 7:11-22

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” 18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’ ” 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

        “This has never been attempted before!”, I heard many people saying as they anticipated a feat that was going to take place in Chicago that night. This man is going to do something that has never been done before! Will he succeed? As I learned more about this event, it became clear that success was nonnegotiable. For this man to fail, would mean death.

On the cold and windy night of November 2, 2014, Nic Wallenda was preparing to tightrope between two major skyscrapers in Chicago. I had the privilege of being there surrounded by thousands of Chicagoans who had come out to see something that they would probably never see live again. After successfully completing phase one of his tightrope challenge, he went back up to the skyscraper and attempted a shorter challenge, but what was so unnerving about this challenge is that it would be done: blindfolded. As I stood there I remember the nervousness I felt, would we see a man fall to his death? In a few moments that possibility was over, as he completed the second challenge. And as this man had many reasons to boast he chose not to. In his ending interview he acknowledged that the Lord was the one who had kept him safe and given him the ability to do it. He had accomplished a great feat, but he knew there was One who has accomplished much more than that. And this One had done something that had never been done before nor ever will be done again.

“Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests” (Heb. 7:11-14). Jesus is the only one in history whose work has provided the forgiveness of sin. However, Israel was given a priesthood that went on for hundreds of years. They brought their sacrifices to the priests endlessly, and it was so much a part of their lives, that when Christ came, it was hard to shake the truth that the Levitical priesthood was no longer necessary.

After explaining Melchizedek’s greatness, the preacher to the Hebrews continued on to talk about the even greater priest: Jesus. His charge in these verses is that the Levitical priesthood was not final and when Jesus came, that priesthood was abolished. There was no more need for the Levite priests. But after so much time, it was astonishing that the priesthood could just disappear. Even more astonishing was that Jesus was a priest who was not from the Levitical line! Throughout the Old Testament, it was never permitted for anyone to be a priest, unless you were a Levite. With the coming of Christ as High Priest, everything was turned upside down as Jesus did something that had never been done before. He took His rightful place as the High Priest! Not only this, but He also instituted a new covenant or a new way of doing things that was without the Levitical priesthood!

All of the priests would have been out of their job and now were to look only to Jesus in their sacrificial life. Jesus was appointed a priest, even though He did not meet the requirements. How incredible that Jesus the Son of God would have been unqualified to be a priest in the temple because He was not a Levite! Imagine turning away the Son of God for employment! It is possible that even Moses would not have recognized Jesus’ priesthood. For Moses never said anything about a priest coming from Judah! Why was Jesus able to do this? Because His appointment came from God.

“This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life” (V.15-16). Jesus is qualified to be our eternal High Priest because His life is never ending. That is what indestructible means, Jesus place as the Son of God is never ending! Jesus is unlike any other as He was never created but always existed. For this reason, He will always be our High Priest for that is what the Father appointed Him to be.

“For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant” (V.17-22). For you and me this means that our sins will never be resurrected. As Jesus will always be our High Priest, our sins will always be paid for in Him. As so many people are grabbing for false security by giving a lot of money to charity, praying multiple times a day, and resting in their good deeds, we look to Jesus in whom all debt is paid.

All the priests of the past were only temporary. They would live and then die with all their power stripped away from them. Even Melchizedek was only a man who eventually died. God made it clear that Jesus would do what had never been done before, that He would be a priest superior to all others. God swore that His Son would never fail to be the spotless priest, who not only forgives us, but forgives us forever.