Encountered in Genesis. Part of a prophetic utterance in the Psalms. Explained in Hebrews. That’s Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God. And bottom line for me this morning, he’s just like Jesus.
He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 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.
(Hebrews 7:2b-3 ESV)
Four things highlighted by divine inspiration concerning this ancient figure. 1) By name, he is the “king of righteousness”; 2) because of his position, he ruled as king of peace; 3) with no record of his beginning or end, he is mysteriously without days; 4) and, as he was a priest of the Most High God (Gen. 14:18; 7:1), he thus is considered a priest forever. And all this, points out the writer, resembles the Son of God. He’s just like Jesus.
Maybe not appropriate to do so, but I can’t help but imagine a creative grin on the Father’s face, an all-knowing smile on the Son’s face, and the nodding assent of the Spirit, as the triune God, who knows the end from beginning, created Melchizedek, purposing a “chance encounter” between him and Abraham, so that it might serve as an eternal object lesson concerning the nature and work of the Son of God throughout the ages.
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” . . . The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
(Psalm 110:1, 4 ESV)
Concerning the One who would come in the line of David to rule in power, concerning this King, it was foretold that Messiah would be not only a king, but a priest as well. A priest forever. A priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Messiah would be marked by righteousness. He would bring peace. He would minister forever. And while He would be after the order of Melchizedek, Melchizedek was made resembling Him.
What a story Mel has (can we call him Mel?). His life patterned after the Son of God. The details that remain in history of that life reflecting the nature of the person and work of the promised Anointed One. Mel’s story and glory written so that it might shine light on Jesus’ story and His glory.
Not that we’re any Melchizedeks or anything. But haven’t we been created and redeemed for the same purpose? Isn’t our story intended to reflect something of His glory? Though we have a long way to go, isn’t it true that, because of His sanctifying work in us, we too resemble in some measure the Son of God? Aren’t we also being made just like Jesus?
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(Romans 8:29 ESV)
We who have had an encounter of the divine kind with the King of Righteousness have been declared righteous, and are being made righteous, in Him (2Cor. 5:21, Php. 3:9). We who abide in the shadow of the King of Peace know and can show a peace that passes all understanding (Php. 4:7). And, through the finished work of the Great High Priest, who once for all offered Himself as the sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:27) and now is at the right hand of God every making intercession for us (Heb. 7:24-25), we have been made a holy priesthood (1Pet. 2:5,9).
Melchizedek? Just like Jesus. And us too. Becoming more and more like Jesus.
By His grace. For His glory.