Jesus Is Better #10 -- Hebrews 7 -- Jesus Is The Best Priest


  • Problem: How do we define the role of a priest?
    • We might mistakenly think of Protestant or Roman Catholic clergy.
    • But, as I taught in a previous study (Hebrews 5), Israel's priests served like guides, friends, worship leaders, therapists, counselors, financial planners, advisors, coaches, teachers, helpers, intercessors, or pastors.
      • So when I say, "Jesus is the best priest," I mean he is the best at each role.
  • Today: Jesus is a better priest (guide, friend, worship leader, therapist, counselor, financial planner, advisor, coach, teacher, helper, intercessor, or pastor) than any other.
    • 6 reasons Jesus is the best priest.

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

  • 1-3 This Melchizedek: Finally, the author returns to explain this character (see 5:10).

    • Hebrew Christian questions:
      • How could Jesus be a priest?
        • Through a different priesthood (not Levi, but Melchizedek).
      • Why is he better than the Levitical priests?
        • Various answers and comparisons to the Levitical priesthood are found here in Hebrews 7.
    • Melchizedek's appearance in the Old Testament:
      • Microscopic:
        • Mentioned only in Genesis 14 and again, years later, in Psalm 110.
      • Major appearance:
        • After Abraham rescued his nephew, Lot, from foreign powers.
        • Genesis 14:18–20 (ESV) — 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
  • 3 Resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever: The idea of this entire passage is that Jesus was not a Levitical priest, but a Melchizedekian one.

    • Notice the similarities between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ.
      • He is without father or mother or genealogy (3).
      • Having neither beginning of days nor end of life (3).
      • Priest forever (3).
        • I will leave it to you to decide if you think Melchizedek was preincarnate Jesus Christ, or merely a mysterious man who was on the biblical scene for a brief moment.

1. Jesus Is A King-Priest (1-3)

  • 3 King of righteousness and king of peace (2).
    • Name (Melchizedek): King of righteousness.
    • Title (King of Salem): King of peace.
    • The Levitical priest weren't kings
      • They couldn't be kings.
      • The kings eventually came from Judah, specifically the line of David.
        • King Uzziah tried to become a priest, and leprosy broke out (2 Chronicles 26:19).
    • But Jesus is our King-Priest.
      • From David -- King.
      • From Melchizedek -- Priest.
      • Priests are concerned with humanity's relationship with God (sin, forgiveness, prayers, etc.). Kings are concerned with building and governing justly and righteously (justice, defense, expansion, etc.). Being good and doing good...
      • Jesus is concerned with both.
        • Note: When you isolate one from the other, you get an out of balance Christianity.

4 See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.

8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

  • 4 See how great this man was: The only directive in the chapter -- consider the greatness of Melchizidek.
    • The way he explains Melchizidek's greatness is through considering the fact Abraham gave him a tithe (a tenth).
      • The implications of Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek:
        • 1 Melchizedek is a greater priest: One might even say that Levi himself...paid tithes through Abraham (9).
        • 2 Melchizedek is greater than Abraham: It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior (7).

2. He Is Worth Giving To (4-10)

  • Abraham gave to Melchizedek and was blessed.
  • Anything we give to our Melchizedekian priest turns into blessing.
    • 2 Corinthians 9:6 (ESV) — 6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
    • 2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV) — 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
    • When you give your life (time, treasure, energy) to Jesus, it is a blessing.
      • Giving turns into blessing.

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.

  • 11 / 14 Levitical vs. Descended from Judah: The priest came from the tribe of Levi. Jesus came from a different tribe (Judah).
    • This was a major question for the Hebrew readers.

3. He Changed Our Relationship With The Law (11-14)

  • 11 If perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood / 12 A change in law as well
    • 1 He fulfilled the law for me.
      • Romans 3:21 (ESV) — 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law...
    • 2 He gave me a new law.
      • Galatians 5:13–14 (ESV) — 13 ...through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    • 3 He helps me keep the law.
      • God did what the law could not do “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4 ESV).

  • 17 For it is witnessed of him: Second Old Testament appearance of Melchizedek, many years after his visit with Abraham.

4. He Generates Inward Hope And Upward Access (15-19)

  • 17-18 The result? A better hope, through which we draw near to God.
    • A better hope: The law was weak and useless to make us perfect. It was a hopeless situation!
      • In Jesus, however, we have hope.
    • Upward access: We don't draw near to priests who then draw near to God, but a priest who is God. He draws us near to God.
      • We have hope of change by drawing near to God.
      • Galatians 4:9 (ESV) — 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
      • Don't silently sit there and try to -- week after week -- muscle your way alone through temptation.

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. 23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

  • 20-22 Oath / Sworn / Guarantor: The Psalm 110:4 oath secured God's plan.
    • The Old Covenant priesthood couldn't guarantee anything, but Jesus' priesthood guarantees a better covenant.
    • 24 He hold this position permanently, because he continues forever.

5. He Saves To The Uttermost Through Intercession (20-25)

  • 25 Lives to make intercession:
    • Old saying: “At twenty, we worry about what people think about us. At forty, we don’t care what people think about us. At sixty, we find out that people haven’t been thinking about us at all!”
    • Romans 8:34 (ESV) — 34 Who is to condemn? Christ at the right hand of God...interceding for us.
    • Idea:
      • Not placating the Father, for that was done at the cross.
      • Continually holding up our righteousness to the Father, and securing the help of the Godhead for our lives today.
  • 25 So he can save to the uttermost.
    • Degree of salvation -- uttermost.
    • Time of salvation -- uttermost.
    • Distance of salvation -- uttermost.

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

6. He Is Perfect Forever (26-28)

  • 26, 28 Exalted above the heavens / Made perfect forever: The point of this paragraph is to highlight the glorification of Christ.
    • His position: holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens (26).
    • His decision: offered himself up for our sins (therefore he took our unholiness, guilt, joined to us sinners, by coming down to earth).
    • His appointment: made perfect forever through his resurrection and ascension.
      • So he is forever our priest because he is perfect forever.
        • 27 No need: 70 A.D. destruction would now make sense.
        • He will always be our priest.


  • Priest work was personal work.
    • I hope you can see how personal Jesus wants to be while helping you.