Melchizedek
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Communion Meditations (2012)

Melchizedek

Originally scheduled for July 15

Sometimes God uses the living bodies of human beings as canvas on which to paint a picture. An example from the Old Testament might be Hosea, and his love for his unfaithful wife — a picture of God's love for the people of Israel. In our own time, we are taught that marriage is a picture of the love Christ has for his church.

One such picture is Melchizedek.[1] The man appears out of nowhere — no genealogy, no explanation of his existence and only the briefest description of him as the King of Salem. He is a complete mystery in the Old Testament, but he is also the greatest of priests. The ancient Jew would see this in the fact that Melchizedek blessed Abraham, which is always the action of one greater towards one who is lesser. Abraham tithed to him. Interestingly, he brings out bread and wine to Abraham — the very same elements we use in communion.

There is only one reference to him in the Old Testament; it is Psalm 110. The Psalm is prophetic, concerning Christ. Looking at this from the light of the New Testament, we see that the Christ is a priest – but not like the Old Testament ones. He is a priest like Melchizedek, and thus greater than the Old Testament priests. The matter is explained more fully in the book of Hebrews.[2]

Have you ever asked yourself just what it is that the priest is supposed to be and do? Consider these three duties:

·         The priest represents us to God – and represents God to us.

·         The priest intercedes for us with Almighty God.

·         The priest offers sacrifices.

We see all of this in Christ, our High Priest. In him we see God in the flesh, the Word incarnate. But God also sees us through him, for it is said that his blood covers our sins. He intercedes for us with God the Father. He offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

At communion we remember his sacrifice. The cup represents his blood; the bread represents his body. It is by this sacrifice that he is able to intercede for us; it is by his sacrifice for our sins are covered. In the presence of communion we are in the presence of Christ our Lord. The greatness of God is held in our hands. It is fitting, therefore, that we do this in a worthy manner. We should not take it trivially; we should not view it as an interruption to the worship service; we should not take it as an empty ritual. Rather, we are instructed to examine ourselves. Look inside; see if there is any wicked way with you. Confess your sins and repent of them – and then accept the sacrifice which covers them.

God likes to draw living pictures; this is one of them.[3]


[1] Genesis 14:18-20

[2] Hebrews 6:20-7:28

[3] The reader will pardon the extreme brevity of this explanation. I encourage you to explore the depths of this matter more fully on your own.

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