Posts Tagged ‘The New Covenant’

Hebrews 7: Melchizedek

Monday, December 2, 2019

Reubens: The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek

The writer of this letter tells us today that with the arrival of one such as Jesus the old way of living in doubt and fear is ended.  From the resurrection forward we live by a new order, a new covenant, a new intercession.  Jesus has arrived to liberate all – no matter creed or race or origin.  Jesus supersedes all – no matter nationality or ethnicity or orientation.  Jesus fulfills all – no matter doubt or rejection or fear.  This is wonderful news for us for it means that all that is good that we might possibly hope for is now guaranteed to each of us – and this promise is foreshadowed in humanity’s earliest stories.

From the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE: “Why is so much attention paid to a figure who appears only twice in Scripture?  Because both appearances point toward Christ.  In Genesis 14,7-20, Melchizedek is named a priest of God [although he was a Gentile!], whom even Abraham acknowledged.  Logically, then, a priest descended from him would be superior to one descended from Abraham!  And Melchizedek’s second scriptural appearance is in verse 4 of that very Psalm 110 which Christians regarded as a literal prophecy of Jesus’ resurrection.  Melchizedek’s being ‘without beginning or end’ (because Scripture records neither his birth nor his death) is therefore an anticipation of the Son of God whose priesthood is eternally valid; conversely, Jesus is a priest ‘according to the order (rank) of Melchizedek’ (Ps 110,4).  In his resurrection, Jesus became priest “by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed” (7,16).  He ‘remains forever’ (7,24).  His sacrifice is ‘once for all’ (7,27). He ‘lives forever to make intercession’ (7,25).  The Jewish priesthood descended from Abraham cannot compete.  God’s revelation in Jesus does not merely continue the former story, it raises it to a new plane.  Jesus’ death and resurrection mark an absolute beginning”. (Senior RG 545)

Melchizedek comes to us as a unique figure; we know so little about him and yet he holds so much importance.  In a way, he mirrors many of us.  History will record little about us and yet we each make an important contribution to the collective human story.  Many will argue that we are far different from Melchizedek in that he was a priest and we are not.  Yet others will reply that each of us – as followers of Christ – has the potential to sanctify, to bless and anoint.

This reflection does not present a theological argument but rather it posits a thought for us to mull and turn over.  What do we know about Melchizedek?  What does his relationship with Abraham and Jesus have to say to us today?  How will our lives – and the lives of those we touch each day – improve as a result of our reflection on this mysterious man from the distant past?  What and whom do we sanctify with our belief in the Living God?  Why and when do we make our relationships holy – even with our enemies?  How and why do we bless and anoint others with our words and actions?

What does the man Melchizedek mean to us today?  And how do we show the world what we have learned from him?

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 545. Print.   

A re-post from November 11, 2012.

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Colossians 3: The Ideal Christian Life

Sunday, June 3, 2018

This Favorite reminds us that because Jesus is The Life, Christ guides us to live in him

This is an interesting citation which follows upon yesterday’s recounting of the old covenant with Yahweh where we heard a description of what it meant to be a Jew.  Today’s Noontime is about the New Covenant: What does it mean to be Christian?

Of course, we must remind ourselves that St. Paul writes from an ancient perspective regarding women and slaves, but the essence of the message of this letter is valid.  To be Christian, one must not only turn away from vice, but turn to the qualities Christ exemplified.  Verse 8: We are to stay away from anger, fury, malice, slander and obscene language. Verse 12: We are to turn to compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.  Do we need more guidelines?  Turn to verses 15 and 16: Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another . . . with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

The Old Covenant, as Jeremiah predicted in 31:31, has been re-written and this time it is in our hearts rather than on stone.  The New Covenant is universal, open to all, not just a select group.  And to be in community we are to be with one another in Christ.  We are to be thankful and demonstrate the qualities listed in verse 12.  We are to caution one another in peace and prudence.  We are to be loving, just and wise.  God no longer dwells in the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple; rather he now lives in each of us in as much as we are Christ to one another.

In the opening chapter of this letter, Paul tells us that the invisible God is made visible in Christ.  And this Christ is in us, and we in him, just as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father.  What a wonderful gift we have been given . . . to share in the reward Christ has gained for us.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you for your gifts of life and light which you give to all of us.  Help us to be more inclusive and less exclusive.  Teach us to me more loving and less judging.  Guide us in your wisdom and grace, and grant us your peace.  Amen.

A Favorite from August 26, 2007. 

Tomorrow, remaining in Christ as we live through the joys and miseries of life. 

Image from: http://thomastaylorministries.org/blog/bible-covenants/

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