Friday, September 16, 2022

The Priesthood of Christ (Psalm 110)

"The LORD has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4).

This most quoted psalm in the New Testament reveals a unique blending of offices in the Messiah. Christ is not only King but High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek served as both King of Salem and priest to God Most High. He was honored by Abraham (Gen. 14), showing the superiority of his priesthood over that of Levi (who came after Abraham). Except for Melchizedek and Christ, God did not permit the blending of the kingly and priestly offices. Hence Uzziah, David’s legitimate successor, was struck with leprosy because he attempted to offer incense to God (2 Chron. 26:21). The circumstances connected with the lineage of David were vastly different from those of Melchizedek. Only with divine authority could the mysterious Melchizedek be invested with both the office of king and priest. Likewise, Christ became our high priest by God’s oath, revealing the very weighty and binding aspect of this office.

This priestly office of Christ is the very turning point upon which our salvation depends, because without Christ as our high priest we would forever be debarred from entering into God’s presence. “In prayer, too, nothing is more needful for us than sure confidence in God, and therefore He not only invites us to come to Him, but also by an oath hath appointed an advocate for the purpose of obtaining acceptance for us in His sight,” Calvin wrote.

With the coming of Christ as our new high priest, the Levitical order has been dissolved. No longer do we need men to go before the altar of God, offering sacrifices daily in atonement for our sins. But Christ “sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever” (Heb. 7:27–28 NIV).

Jesus now serves as high priest of the new covenant. He is a priest who sits at the right hand of God in power. He rules as King and serves in the sanctuary, “the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man” (Heb. 8:2). Through Christ we have eternal access to God. “Because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Heb. 10:14).

Read Hebrews 4:14–16. What does it mean for you to have Christ as your high priest? How does Christ as your high priest relate to the security of your salvation? As you worship this weekend, do so with the knowledge that Christ has opened the way for you by His priestly work.