Keep On Drawing Near

A couple of weeks ago, my grandson walked into our house on his own two feet for the very first time.  There was snow on the ground — an indescribable delight to a sixteen-month-old — and, although he is still working on balance, he strode manfully across the lawn.  The expression on his face revealed that he was fully in the moment, completely unaware of the miracle of physics and biology manifested in his teetering steps.

My approach to Hebrews 7 this week feels a little like that toddling journey across my driveway.  With barely a thimbleful of scriptural information available as background, the mysterious Melichizedek holds sway over the chapter and demonstrates the amazing ability of the author of Hebrews to connect the dots between Old Testament shadows and New Covenant reality.  The truth is exquisite, the implications are breath-taking, and I am fully in the moment, enjoying them — all the while being dimly aware that I am barely scratching the surface of this topic.

Here’s what we know:

  • Genesis 14:18 – Melchizedek was a contemporary of Abraham, thus pre-dating the Levitical priesthood. His name meant “King of Righteousness,”  and he was the king of Salem — an ancient name for Jerusalem, which also gives him the designation “King of Peace.”
  • Psalm 110:4 – David speaks of the coming Messiah as a “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”  This unending priesthood supersedes the traditional Jewish priesthood which ended in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the Temple.  These words of God to the Son elevate Melchizedek’s role to that of a pointer to (or type of) Jesus.
  • Hebrews 5 – Picking up these strands of truth, the author of Hebrews tightens the weave, presenting a whole cloth of truth in which Jesus emerges as The Superior Priest, not a flawed human being who requires a personal sacrifice for his own sin before he is qualified to represent the people before a holy God.  His is not a veiled heart whose selfish neediness prevents Him from entering into the needs of those He represents.
  • Hebrews 7 – Here the author, dipping his paintbrush into what he knew of Melchizedek, reinforces the truth that Jesus, our King and Priest, has completely superseded the traditional priesthood, the shadow of the former now being replaced by the solid reality that had been pre-figured.  Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi, but of Judah; not temporary but eternal; not a hopeless merry-go-round of many priests, but a “better hope through which we draw near to God” through a “better covenant” based on Jesus’ indestructible life.

At Hebrews 7:25, the author guides us to a magnificent conclusion with the word “therefore”:

“Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

As theologically and historically fascinating as all this is, there are three excruciatingly practical truths embedded in this one verse, corresponding to the three clauses:

  1.  Christ is able to save forever.  Filling up the word “save” with biblical meaning brings me back to the truth that God is infinitely holy — and I am not.  My own righteousness is insufficient, in itself, to take me into the presence of God.  John Piper describes Jesus as our “Asbestos-like Priest” who can take the believer into the center of the fire of God’s holiness.   There would be no “coming to God” without this great salvation.
  2. He can save forever because He “always lives to make intercession.”  Jesus’ on-going role as intercessor adds depth to my understanding of His role as Savior.  While it is imperative that He died and rose again at an actual historical point in time, it is equally imperative that He continues to serve in the role of Advocate, Intercessor, Great High Priest.
  3. He “saves . . . those who come to God through Him.”  Just as Jesus’ role was not a one-dimensional point-in-time, over-and-done-with deal, my role is also on-going.  I am to keep on drawing near, every day looking back at the anchor that secures my hope, and then entering into the minute-by-minute journey of enjoying God.

How would your relationship to God change if you lived in the realization that it is not a static, past-tense transaction but a living, ongoing work?

How would your day be impacted by embracing this statement:  “I, today, will draw near to God through Jesus Christ”?

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Thanks for joining us in our study of The Epistle to the Hebrews, a letter to a congregation of struggling Jewish Christians written by an unknown author sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  My Sunday school class and I will be landing on a few verses in each chapter with the goal of getting an overview of this fascinating and complex book.  These mid-week reflections and observations are intended to initiate a deeper pondering of the week’s assignment in preparation for our discussion the following Sunday. This is the seventh week in the series, and if you’re interested, here’s last week’s blog post.

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

32 thoughts on “Keep On Drawing Near”

  1. I find this post very helpful, Michele, as I just began the study of 1 Samuel and am in the thick of Eli and his sons losing their positions as priests for Israel. I know some details about Melchizedek and of course, how Christ is our ultimate, enduring and final priest, but this gives me more to think about, understand as well as giving me curiosity to explore and know more. Very thought-provoking, my friend!

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  2. What a great question, Michele! “How would your relationship to God change if you lived in the realization that it is not a static, past-tense transaction but a living, ongoing work?” Too many of think of our salvation experience as a done deal without realizing we also have to walk it out.

    As always, I love your descriptive terms; and thanks for sharing Piper’s idea of a “Jesus as our “Asbestos-like Priest” who can take the believer into the center of the fire of God’s holiness. There would be no “coming to God” without this great salvation.” Love it!

    Thanks for sharing at the Loft!

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  3. Michele, I love the book of Hebrews, though it holds a lot I don’t understand. I hadn’t realized Jesus’ being a priest after Melichizedek added this aspect: “Jesus emerges as The Superior Priest, not a flawed human being who requires a personal sacrifice for his own sin before he is qualified to represent the people before a holy God.” Hallelujah, what a Savior!

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  4. A couple of thoughts, Michele. Melchizedek is one of my favorite guys in Scripture. I devoted two days to him when I wrote my HeBrews Bible study. He is fascinating, and I believe, a pre-incarnate visitation of Jesus. HeBrews 7:25 is one of my go-to verses in Scripture. It truly is the gospel in a nutshell. Great post, Michele. Thanks for linking up at The Loft today.

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    1. I was kind of hoping you might weigh in on this guy, Leah. As I continue through the chapters of Hebrews, I am more and more amazed at the clarification the Holy Spirit is providing to the OT sacrificial system. Beautiful substance to clarify the shadows.

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  5. What a great statement to start our mornings with: “I, today, will draw near to God through Jesus Christ.” Thank you for that wonderful thought, Michele. We should all post it on our mirrors :). It would be truly life-changing.

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  6. Michele, that is a great highlighting of this magnificent, yet mysterious passage. I admit, Melchizedek throws me for a loop when I read this. I love your summary of what is important, and pinpointing of what is essential from this passage. These are great truths about our Savior.

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  7. Michele, I love how you are able to dig deep in the bible and pull out treasure, what a gift you have! And if I said/did this more, “I, today, will draw near to God through Jesus Christ?” I know my life would be impacted for the better.

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  8. I loved reading about your grandson, it brought back a memory of my son and his first snowfall while learning to walk. What a precious memory.
    I’m thankful I serve a flawless Saviour! Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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  9. Michele, these are great thoughts. I know that my relationship to Christ continues to grow as I spend time in His word and in prayer. I’m so thankful that He didn’t just provide the way of salvation, but continues to intercede for us and has given us His spirit to guide. I’m glad you linked up with Marvia this week! Blessings to you!

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  10. Your teaching always enriches my day! Your question at the end also reminds me of what Jerry Bridges says in The Discipline of Grace when he reminds us we are not only saved by grace, but we live by grace….an ongoing continuing way of living with Jesus. To see each day as a growing crescendo in my relationship with Him is humbling and mind-blowing at the same time. How little we comprehend of this kind of LOVE!

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