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Hebrews 7:1-3

05.12.2011

There are two takeaways I see in this week’s passage, both of which set up the argument of this chapter and of the book as a whole.

1. The significance afforded to Jerusalem by the Jews, which we covered on Tuesday, was thought to have stemmed from its capture and selection by David as the site of his palace and of the permanent house for the Ark of the Covenant.  Prior to this, it would appear that Jerusalem was just another Canaanite city, no different from, say, Jericho. 

However, Mel’s attachment to Jerusalem upsets this assumption.  Mel is the high priest of God, the king of righteousness, and the ruler of (Jeru)Salem.  This indicates that Jerusalem’s significance to God predates not only David, but even back at least to the time of Abraham.  This starts to give off that buzz/vibe I get from areas of unknown or lost history.  Who lived there?  Did they people of Salem worship God or just Mel?  What happened between then and when the Jebusite pagans fought the armies of Israel in the time of the Judges and the united Kingdom?  There’s just so much cool stuff that we’ll never know this side of Heaven.

2. Secondly, Mel is compared here to Jesus, ‘resembling the Son of God’ both in his dual role as king and high priest and in the seemingly eternal nature of his life.  This doesn’t mean that our author thinks Mel was anything but a mortal man, but rather that the fact of his having no recorded lineage in Scripture, which our author hears as a pre-echo, if you will, of Jesus’ divine parentage. 

In this fact, I’m starting to see Hebrews as almost the anti-Matthew.  We’ll see as we dig deeper into the next four-ish chapters, which form the core of our author’s argument.  But whereas Matt was interested primarily in showing the Jews how Jesus fulfilled and reflected the intricacies of Jewish doctrine and culture, our author is instead interested primarily in showing the Jews how Jesus predates and underlies their doctrine and culture.  The effect is not, as in Matthew, to hold up Jewish doctrine and culture as preparatory elements for the Incarnation, but to minimize them as human replications of what is truly divine.  In other words, the Jews considered that their beliefs and practices and heritage made them holier than everyone else.  The author of Hebrews instead says that the beliefs and practices are nothing but a manmade reflection and outgrowth of God’s interaction with humanity.  Who knows whether that holds up to scrutiny, but it’s the impression I get thus far…

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