What We Need Forever

November 05, 2023 | Jess Rainer

Passage: Hebrews 7:1-28

Opening Illustration: Leaving Tags On. I don’t know if you are like Rachel and me, but whenever we purchase something, we like to really think about it. I occasionally will do the impulse purchase, but for the most part, we like to talk about what we buy and think about if we really need it. But we also take it one step further. We won’t take the tags off whatever we bought so we can be extra sure we want to keep it once we get home. Here’s the funny thing: I have gone into my closet a month later and still find the tags on my shirt. And I’m not kidding when a found basket in my house recently that had a tag on it from a few years ago! The store was a little confused when I tried to return for a refund. Kidding! There’s that fundamental question: “Do I really need this?” Today, we reach a passage that is complex in so many ways, yet simple so many other ways. It’s a passage that forces you to ask the question about yourself, “What do I need?” “What do I really need?” And we the writer of Hebrews answers it for us: Jesus. Don’t like those kinds of answers? It’s the Sunday School answer that never failed. But it’s so true. Jesus is what we always needed, what need now, and what we need forever. Let’s open up our Bibles to Hebrews 7.  If you are joining us for the first time, we are working through the book of Hebrews. And you just happened to come on a Sunday where we are covering quite the complex chapter! Our current Sermon Series: Hebrews: The Complete Work of Christ.  We’ve learned two major pieces so far in Hebrews: Jesus is better than anything else, so we stay close to Him. Let’s read God’s Word with expectancy and joy. Read Hebrews 7:15-28. Pray. 

Hebrews 7 is a chapter that as one pastor called it, “A skipping chapter”. It’s chapter that is easy to skip over and hope that no one notices. I heard several other pastors start off their sermons by saying the temptation to skip was real. But not for me! I would never do that to you all. I just contemplated giving this chapter to one of the elders. But we are doing this! I won’t have the ability to go over every verse in this chapter, but my hope is that I will give you all the high points so that you get a full understanding of the importance of the chapter. There is some groundwork we need to lay down. We start with this: Melchizedek was a foreshadowing to Jesus. Now, your reaction to this first point won’t initially make you stand up and say, “Amen. That is exactly what I needed to hear.” But if you give me some time, I think it’s something that everyone needs to know. 


1) Melchizedek was a foreshadowing to Jesus. (vs. 1-10). After dancing around, the writer of Hebrews finally addresses Melchizedek. We saw in chapter 5 that he took a detour away from Melchizedek because he didn’t think this group of believers was ready for it. He mentioned Melchizedek again at the end of chapter 6 and you can tell he’s like, “Well, I brought up him again, so I guess it’s time.” Who is Melchizedek? The way the writer of Hebrews keeps mentioned Melchizedek, you would think he’s someone who is heavily involved in the Old Testament. Do you know how many verses in the Old Testament deal with Melchizedek? Four! We first hear about Melchizedek in Genesis 14. Abram (Abraham) had gone out to protect his cousin, Lot, after Lot had made some bad decisions. 18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. All we really learn about Melchizedek in these verses is that Melchizedek was a king and priest who blessed Abram. The other verse is from Psalm 110, which was written about 1,000 years later than what we read in Genesis. Verse 4 says, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” So, up until the book of Hebrews (which is about another 1,000 years since Psalm 110), Melchizedek is a shadowy figure in the Old Testament. 

So, what’s the big deal about Melchizedek? Why did the writer of Hebrews spend a whole chapter on this guy whose name is hard to pronounce? (I was tempted to call him Mel during this sermon). Do you remember one of the main reasons for this book? The writer of Hebrews is reminding a group of Hellenistic Jews that became Christ-followers why they don’t need to go back to their traditional, former religious ways. Melchizedek becomes a means to show this group of Christians that Jesus is better than their former religion – better than the Levitical priesthood they all know so well. So how does the writer of Hebrews highlight Melchizedek for this purpose? What was significant about Melchizedek was that he didn’t fit the mold of all the other Old Testament priests.  To be an Old Testament priest, you had to come the lineage of Aaron, as part of the tribe of Levi. Your birth certificate had to be registered. If you didn’t have proof of your lineage, there is no way that you could become a priest. What does verse 3 tells us about Melchizedek? There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God. It’s as if Melchizedek appears out of nowhere in the Bible. And there is no record of his ending. Which is another big deal because Old Testament priests would only serve for 25 years. Melchizedek never should have been a priest because his lack of lineage.

Also, what does verse 1 say? 1 This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. In the entire Old Testament, there was only one person that was both a priest and a king – and that is Melchizedek. These were two offices that you didn’t want to combine. It’s like adding walnuts to your brownie – you just don’t do that. Unless it’s pineapple, then you definitely add that to your pizza. The king was the lawgiver and judge. The priest was the sympathizer. Those two roles don’t go together, but yet Melchizedek filled both roles. On top of all of this, we have this seen where Abraham gave money to Melchizedek. Which at first glance, doesn’t seem to have much significance, but it does. In the Old Testament, the tribe of Levi received money from the other tribes. It was how they were able to carry out the priestly functions for the people of Israel. Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek was a complete reversal of the tithing system. Look at verse 9: In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. The tribe that normally received the tithes were now paying tithes to Melchizedek.

This Melchizedek character in the Old Testament was unlike any other – and these new Christians knew this. Melchizedek was special in that he didn’t have the credentials, but yet through his character, he became priest. He served in a role that no one else ever did. And he was set apart in a way that even Abraham, who would have been considered the founder of the Jewish race, tithed to Melchizedek and received a blessing from Melchizedek. The writer of Hebrews was saying, “Look at Melchizedek. Look at his uniqueness, his character, his position, his authority. There was no one like him.” “The priesthood of Melchizedek was far better than the Levitical priesthood that you thinking about running back to”. “And Jesus, not only come from the priesthood of Melchizedek, Jesus surpassed Melchizedek in every way.” “If you think Melchizedek was so great, then Jesus is even far greater.” “Why would you run to something that is inferior?” Jesus is the better Melchizedek. What is foreshadowed in Melchizedek is made perfect in Jesus. Here is the reason these first 10 verses are so powerful for us today: Whatever draws you away from Jesus will always be inferior to Jesus. And you need to see that in your own life. Is there anything that is catching your eye that Satan is trying to lure you away from Jesus. And it might not even be something that seems bad. But it doesn’t matter what it is because anything that draws away from Jesus isn’t good. Good things can become bad things if they are not God things. 

Whether you realize it or not, Jesus is what you’ve always needed. In a summary sort of way, that’s what the writer of Hebrews is telling these Christians. You always needed Jesus and now you’ve found Jesus, so don’t go back to Jesus. Jesus is still what you need now. You still need to draw near to Jesus now. And that’s the next major emphasis in Hebrews 7: Jesus became our High Priest so we could stay near to God.


2) Jesus became our High Priest so we could stay near to God. (vs. 11-24) Look at verses 18 and 19: 18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. A few weeks ago, we looked at the Old Testament sacrificial system. The whole point of the sacrificial system was to do what? Offer forgiveness and restore the relationship with God. The sacrificial system sought to provide approval and acceptance. What the people in Old Testament sought is the same thing we still seek today. We all crave acceptance and approval from God. But that system could never last. What did verse 18 say? It was weak and useless. The system that required a human priest to be the mediator for the people of God was weak and useless. Why? Because it was a system that offered no permanency. It was perpetual in that the sacrifices were not enough to last. The temporary restoration wasn’t enough to resolve the ongoing guilt. That system never made anything perfect. The Old Testament priestly system had to change.

What changed? Look at what Hebrews says starting in verse 20: 20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. 23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. What changed? Jesus stepped in. Illustration: Rachel and the cop at 3am. Rachel tried to wake me up, but I just couldn’t. So I told her to go open the door for the cop. I remember the cop looking at me with a slight face of disappoint when I standing behind my pregnant wife and 3am while she opening the door. But there Rachel was! Standing between me and potential danger! Even though it was a clear failure on my part, knowing that Rachel would stand in the gap for me impacted me. We get this little moments in life, how much more should that put us in awe of what Jesus did for us!   Jesus stepped in as the final and full sacrifice. Jesus is the better priest. Jesus is the better Melchizedek. Jesus is the better sacrifice. Jesus did what no priest and no sacrifice could do. He finally and fully resolved the wrath of God.

And what does this do for us? What does verse 19 say? 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Jesus became our High Priest so we could stay near to God. Jesus became our High Priest so we could be present with Him. We’ve lost the capacity to be present as a culture. This week, I had multiple conversations about our inability to be present. And I believe “inability” is the right word. We have reached a point, generally speaking, where we no longer know how to be present. The reason is that we’ve been so distracted. I read an article recently that talked about the amount of digital noise in our life and how it affects us[1] When we are always distracted with something, our brains actually silence the part that help us understand ourselves and related to others. Think about how much of your life is connected to something with an “on” switch. Every time you move to something with an “on” switch, your brain turns “off” the ability to move to relationship depth – with yourself and with others. We’ve lost the capacity to be present with ourselves and present with each other. If that’s true, how do you think you can be present with God?

So many of us look at our busyness and say, “That’s the problem. I just have way too much going on. If I could simplify my life and do less, then I wouldn’t feel the way I am feeling right now.” And I’ve been wrestling with that same line of thinking myself. That problem is not unique to us. Do you remember Mary and Martha? What was Martha’s problem? She was too busy preparing a meal. What did Jesus say in Luke 10? 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 4There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Simplifying your life may lead to less stress, but you won’t find the ability to be present. The reason Jesus became our High Priest is so that we can be concerned about the one thing worth being concerned about, which is drawing near to God. Jesus is what you’ve always needed and Jesus is what you need now. Let’s look at few more verses and see that Jesus is what we need forever. Here’s what we see last: Jesus intercedes for us for all eternity.


3) Jesus intercedes for us for all eternity. (vs. 25-28) Look at verse 25: 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. Unlike the need for continual sacrifices of the old priestly system, Jesus’ sacrifice was once and forever. Jesus going to the cross fulfilled the need for all sacrifices for all time. That means ANYONE who comes to Jesus for their soul to the saved, will be saved once and forever. I want you to think about this a moment. When you choose to believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, Jesus immediately becomes your mediator between God and you. And Jesus is interceding for you forever – it never stops. Illustration: What do you think of when Jesus is interceding for you to God? Do you think the Father yells out to Jesus and says, “Jesus, he did it again! I know we’ve told him not to, but he did it again.” Then Jesus runs to this big filing cabinet and pulls out the file with your name on it and brings it back to the Father. “Father, I know we’ve forgiven him 7,923 times before, but I think we should forgive him again.” Do ever think of Jesus in heaven like that for you? And then worried that 7,924th time will be time that God finally runs out of patience and says, “I’m done.” God never gets tired of forgiving you because God never gets tired of His Son. There isn’t a case file with your name on it. All there is a coat of righteousness that belongs to Jesus and Jesus wraps it around you. When God looks at you, all He sees is His Son’s righteousness that is holy and blameless and unstained by sin.

I asked you the question at the beginning, “What do you really need?” Here’s the answer in verse 26: 26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28 The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever. The perfect High Priest lives forever to intercede with God on your behalf. 

Let me close with a question…Are you leaving the tags on Jesus?

  • Have you picked out your favorite version of Jesus and are just trying Him on for a little bit?
    • Are you keeping the tags on so that if it doesn’t work out the way you thought, you will return Him?
    • You’ll just pick up where you left off before Jesus
  • Jesus doesn’t work that way
    • He didn’t become the High Priest to fulfill the OT in order that He can intercede on your behalf for all eternity – just so you can try Him on.
    • If you want Jesus is the High Priest, as the better Melchizedek, then you have to go all in
    • No refunds, no returns, rip the tags off
  • If you have Jesus as your Savior, Lord, and High Priest, stop the busyness, draw near to Him, and don’t look back
    • Satan will entice you away, don’t buy it
    • Jesus is what we always needed, what need now, and what we need forever.
  • Let’s pray.

 Transition to Lord’s Supper and Prayer

[1] Jon Tyson, being a present man in a distracted world

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Series Information

Sin causes us to experience shame, rejection, and pain.  This series highlights the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ in the Book of Hebrews—offering hope to all of those struggling with self-doubt and seclusion. By exploring the passages that connect Jesus' ministry to the fulfillment of the Law, this guide will help you not only better understand the Old Testament, but also how Jesus completes the story of God’s redemption. This is a great series to remind others of God’s love for them, as well as the sacrifice He made to bring them back to God.

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