So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron?
And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it. For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests.
What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe. [NLT]
The aim of God for humanity is healthy relationship with Himself. And being the loving Initiator of relationship that He is, God provided the means for that relationship–Jesus. All of history led up to and radiates out from that point–the consummation of Jesus Christ as eternal high priest.In referring to the Old Testament and proclaiming Jesus as a “priest forever,” the author of Hebrews is saying that God’s new covenant way of relating to people has replaced the old and will never be altered. It continues in this paradigm forever without change. “Consequently, Hebrews’ view of reality, grounded in the eternal high priesthood of the Son of God, offers us lasting stability for life,” says George Guthrie in his commentary on this passage.
For us today, chances are, we are not tempted to relate to God via Levitical priests or goat sacrifices. But what false, non-God-given ways do we try to relate to God? What do we need to turn from in order to relate rightly with YHWH? What paradigm do we still cling to that needs to shift in order to be in healthy relationship with our Creator? For some, maybe you need to repent of reading your Bible or going to church in order to be close to God. Maybe you need to turn from relating to God as wrathful, eager-to-punish task master since that is not the truth as revealed by Jesus. For others, you need to stop running yourself ragged serving God, ministering to people, doing good deeds for the purpose of intimacy with God. For that comes only through a humble clinging to the one and only mediator between God and humans–our eternal High Priest. Many of us still live the old sacrificial system, it’s just not goats, bulls, and rams.
Verse 18 says that the old rule was set aside because it was weak and useless. Pretty strong language. With Jesus, the old way is now obsolete. The term for “set aside” was even used in business documents for a legal annulment.
Jesus brought a new operating system to humanity. What did Jesus mostly talk about in the gospel accounts? The Kingdom of Heaven. He said it is here now, and He even said it is within you. What if by “Kingdom of Heaven” Jesus meant a state of consciousness that He brought? A whole new way of seeing and relating. The new operating system into which humans may now be rewired. How much have we missed over the years by making Christianity about mere mental assent as opposed to a new way of seeing the world. A new way of being. The old word for this is “regeneration.” Without the new operating system, you cannot live the teachings of Jesus. Operating under competition, scarcity, sacrifice, and the human effort of trying harder and convincing yourself of what is true, you’ll just keep defaulting to places of hypocrisy and burnout.
Perfection, God’s desired end of healthy relationship with Him, comes through Jesus Christ, our means, guarantor, saver complete, and eternal intercessor. The paradigm for relationship with God shifted cosmically with Jesus, and was set never to shift again.
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria