The first priest
Lately I have been pondering Hebrews 7 where we learn about Melchizedek. I felt like I was missing something significant in this passage so I have read it for a few days. It shows that Melchizedek was a king and priest. We see also that Jesus was later listed as a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. So why are these events so significant that they were recorded in the Bible? I believe it is because Melchizedek was the first priest. When we think of the Biblical priesthood it mostly focuses on the tribe of Levi but when Abraham (the father of Levi who had yet to be born) paid a tithe to Melchizedek it shows us that honor was given to him as the first priest.
“And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
Hebrews 7:5-10 NKJV
The reason this has been stirring in my spirit is that I have always understood that Jesus came to fulfill the law, given through the Levitical priesthood so I have always considered that sort of a beginning. The law was created to give guidelines for man approaching God in relationship. Now we know that man is not capable of keeping all of the law and that is where Jesus sacrifice at the cross steps in to restore that covenant blessing of relationship with God.
Also, there is a spiritual principle of first fruits that has always spoken to me. God tells us to give of our first fruits. A first fruit in farming terms is the first sign of a harvest to come and often was used to ensure future plantings & harvests. So I find it interesting that God setup the priesthood in such a way that He gave His first fruits (Jesus) to ensure a future harvest (relationship with man) and that He wanted that to come through grace and mercy not legal guidelines. So while the levitical priesthood was important, mostly to show our need for mercy and grace, it was the first priest that was the harvest He wanted to ensure.
He wanted to establish the foundations of the priesthood that represents mercy and grace. I, the lesser, pray that as I live my life I will embrace the blessings of the greater. I also pray that as I have been adopted into the lineage of Jesus, and therefore am called a king and priest in the order of Melchizedek, that I will extend those same blessings of grace and mercy to everyone who passes my way. Just as Melchizedek went out to welcome Abraham that I too will go out to meet others where they are and to come bearing blessings for them from my Most High King!