1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him. 2And to him Abraham apportioned a tithe of all. He is first, by translation, king of righteousness, then also king of Salem—that is, king of peace, 3without father or mother or genealogy, not having beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains priest without interruption. 4See how great this one is, to whom the patriarch Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils. 5And those descendants of Levi who received the priesthood have a commandment to receive the tithe from the people according to the Law; these are their brothers, although they also proceed from the loins of Abraham. 6But this one who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. 7And it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8In one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9One might say that Levi, who received tithes, gave them through Abraham. 10For he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. 11Now if perfection through the Levitical priesthood were possible (for the people received the Law under it), what further need was there for another priest to arise from the order of Melchizedek rather than one from Aaron? 12For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is by necessity a change in the law too. 13For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to a different tribe, from whom no one had ever officiated at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, and Moses didn’t say anything about priests from that tribe. 15This becomes even more clear when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16who became such not on the basis of a fleshly command but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is testified that “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” 18For on the one hand a previous command is set aside [annulled] because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the law made nothing perfect), but a better hope is introduced through we draw near [cf. “offering” of Leviticus] to God. 20And it was not without an oath, for those who previously became priests were made such without an oath, 21but this one was made through an oath by one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn, and does not change his mind: you are a priest forever.” 22This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23The priests were many in number because they were prevented by death from continuing 24but he holds his priesthood permanently because he continues forever. 25Therefore, he is able to save for all time those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for us. 26For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest—pious, innocent, holy—separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices first for his own sins and then those of the people, for he has offered himself once for always. 28For the law appoints men in their weaknesses to be high priests, but the word of the oath (which came after the law) appoints a Son who has been made “perfect” forever.
The author’s contention thus far is that Jesus is superior to angels and superior to Moses and the Law. Now he makes the argument that Jesus is even superior to the Aaronic priesthood, which had been established by the law. The priests of Aaron existed because of the rule of law, but long before Aaron there had been a high priest in Genesis 14 who was named Melchizedek. This guy was a priest of the Most High; there is nothing known about his origins or his family, so he “appears” eternal in that sense, though the author does not mean this literally. Abraham clearly shows God reverence through his reverence of Melchizedek, so the Old Testament seems to show a priesthood order that predates Aaron and is BETTER and more powerful than Aaron’s. It is THIS order of priest in which the author places Jesus: he is the Son of God, and the Creator of the world. Unlike the other priests, he was sinless. Unlike them, he doesn’t have to make a continuous habit of offering sacrifices to God. He offered himself once for all time, and that will never stop “working.” In fact, he is always interceding for us—the work of a true high priest.
The book of Leviticus employs the Hebrew word for “offering,” which is “to draw near.” To offer something to God is to draw near to him. Because of Jesus’ offering, we can draw near to God through him. And he never stops praying for us to the Father, at all times and in all seasons. He is the best high priest ever.
Are you still trying to be good on your own? Are you growing tired of the roller coaster ride of emotions in which you stop and start serving the Lord because you are still trying to “draw near” him on your own terms? Jesus is a way better high priest than you. Trust him instead of yourself today.