Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Bring Trouble to the World? Mix Religion with Politics But... This One Can (Genesis 14:14-17)

After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and his allied kings, the king of Sodom came out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh, the King’s Valley. Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine—he was priest of The High God—and blessed him: ‘Blessed be Abram by The High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. And blessed be The High God, who handed your enemies over to you.’ Abram gave him a tenth of all the recovered plunder. The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me back the people but keep all the plunder for yourself.’ But Abram told the king of Sodom, ‘I swear to God, The High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, this solemn oath, that I’ll take nothing from you, not so much as a thread or a shoestring. I’m not going to have you go around saying, ‘I made Abram rich’’
(Genesis 14:17-23, The Message)

Melchizedek (Hebrew means “my king is righteousness” and his title king of Salem means "king of peace") is one of the most mysterious figures in the Bible. In the midst of a pagan land, this man of God appears out of nowhere to greet and bless Abram, and he disappears just as suddenly as he came. His name, I think, is easily forgotten (and assume as unimportant) like those names from genealogies, except for the fact that the Book of Hebrews refers to Jesus as “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6).

I’m puzzled by this phrase. It seems like the only connection with Jesus is the fact that Melchizedek was both a priest and a king. Mind you, throughout the Bible, the role of priest and king are kept very separate. For example, King Saul got serious trouble for mixing the two roles (I noticed that the recipe for disaster is when religion mix with politics. Proof? Church history and contemporary issues). The two exceptions are Melchizedek and Jesus.

Lord Jesus rules over His people as King, but He also mediates between God and His people as Priest. Jesus the “great High Priest with ready access to God” (Hebrews 4:14). Perhaps it is appropriate that one of the first foreshadowing of Jesus be such a mysterious figure as Melchizedek. But Jesus is more than priest-king, He is also priest-king-prophet. One (higher) level than Melchizedek.

In the world where kings and leaders prone to be corrupt; and religious leaders and ministers tend to be abusive; using power for personal gains, lord over others in the name of spirituality – be hopeful and praiseful – Jesus, the King and Priest, is alive!


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