1 - We turn now to the fifth chapter of the letter to the
Hebrews in the New Testament.
2 - This reading mentions someone named Melchizedek
(pronounced). Don’t worry
if you don’t know who that is.
1 - Allow these words to lead us into a time of sharing and
2 - We’re reading from an Australian paraphrase called the “Laughing
Bird Version.” Listen.
1 - The person who is chosen to be a high priest is given the
task of representing the people to God and offering to God the
costly gifts that people bring as a sign that they are sorry
when they have messed up.
2 - The high priest, being just as prone to thoughtless and
crooked behavior as anyone else, is able to be supportive and
understanding of people instead of dealing harshly with them.
1 - After all, priests have to offer gifts to God to say
sorry for their own wrongdoing along with everybody else’s.
2 - No one can nominate themselves for this honor. A person
only becomes a high priest if God hand picks them for the job.
That’s how it was for Aaron and it has been ever since.
1 - It was no different with Christ. He became a high priest,
but not because he campaigned for the position. It was God who
tapped him on the shoulder and said, in the words of scripture:
2 - “You’re it - my Son; today I have named you.”
1 - In the same way, in another place, God says:
2 - “You are a priest forever; your task is the priestly work
begun by Melchizedek.”
1 - When Jesus was among us and the threat of death was
closing in on him, it was with agonized cries and tears that he
did his priestly work of offering up prayers and appeals to the
God who has the power to save us from death.
2 - His pleas were heard because of his prayerful acceptance
of God’s will.
1 - He was given no special privileges as a Son –
2 - he got his lessons in obedience in the same school of
suffering as the rest of us.
1 - Once he had made the grade, perfecting all that he had to
learn, God marked him out as a high priest - the last of the
line that began with Melchizedek.
2 - Thus, Jesus became the one who sets free all who trust
and follow him.
1 - For them he is the source of life without limit.
2 - May God bless our hearing of these words.