Today’s Reading: Hebrews 7:1-17 (additional reading: Psalm 105:37-45 & Proverbs 27:3)
In 1664, the Dutch master artist Rembrandt painted Lucretia, the Roman heroine who took her life as a result of Roman desecration. Two years later Rembrandt painted a second picture of Lucretia in a different pose. For over 300 years private collectors dispersed the paintings among themselves so that the two were not seen together until 1991. For years the paintings were “unknown” to the general public. The two paintings come from the same master and portray the same woman. For a long time, however, people seeing either separately did not see the other and certainly did not realize their connection.
In the days of Abraham, the man called “Friend of God” encountered a mysterious Priest called Melchizedek. His name in history was a masterpiece of God. Centuries later allusion to his connection with the coming Messiah was indicated in the 110th Psalm. This disclosed another masterpiece from God’s handiwork. In Hebrews 7 the two are brought together.
MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST AS PRIEST (Hebrews 7:1). – A priest goes between man and God. To do this, the priest must serve God. Long before there was any Aaronic priesthood Melchizedek was the priest of El Elyon, the Most High God. He represented the God of gods, the ultimate God. Christ is our ultimate priest. He is between God and man. He blesses us. He receives sacrifice from true worshipers.
MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST AS RULER (Hebrews 7:2). – Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness.” His very name points to righteousness and probably his own personal and yet great integrity. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and the King of Righteousness.
MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST AS ETERNAL (Hebrews 7:3). – Melchizedek was without descent. There was no record of ancestors or descendants for him. Christ did not achieve His position by the authority of earthly parents. He had no descendants to take His position. He too is a continual priest and He is the very Son of God.
The two paintings by the Dutch master, Rembrandt, though the great works of art are to be appreciated, they are nothing compared to the great works of God. Melchizedek was a great man whose greatness may be undervalued easily. His foreshadowing of, Jesus the Messiah was greater still and is all too easily under-appreciated.
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. He is also to be feared above all gods” (I Chronicles 16:25)