For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
After the references to Melchizedek in previous chapters, we finally get an explanation! We will unpack this over the next few days because this truth is so important. Jesus being in the line of Melchizedek is related directly to our salvation. It’s kind of a big deal.
Who is Melchizedek? We find him back in Genesis 14:18-20. (Notice how we keep seeing links to Jesus all the way back in Genesis? God has been telling us about Him all along.) I’m always amazed at how important Melchizedek is, yet he only shows up in three verses way back in Genesis. The short story from Genesis 14 is that Abram’s nephew Lot was caught up as a captive in a war between several regional kings. Word came to Abram and he and his 318 armed servants defeated the kings and rescued the captives. On the way back with all of the spoils of victory, Melchizedek, king of Salem, appears and blesses Abram. In response, Abram gave him a tithe (one tenth) of the spoils. That’s it. We never see Melchizedek appear in the Bible again. We only see his name referenced when God says that there will be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. And that mysterious appearance and disappearance also is connected to Jesus.
In today’s passage, look at verse two. Melchizedek is translated “king of righteousness” and “king of peace.” Who is righteous but Jesus? And through whom do we receive the gift of righteousness? In day 12 of this devotional, we saw that the word of righteousness is the word of Christ. Melchizedek is also the king of peace, and we know that Jesus Himself is the source of peace. Ephesians 2:14 says that “He Himself is our peace.” Isaiah 9:6 refers to the coming Messiah as the “Prince of Peace.”
Verse three of today’s passage continues on to explain that Melchizedek is “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” The man Christ Jesus has a genealogy, but He existed before the foundation of the world. He lives forever, having come from the Father and now being seated at His right hand. We saw in Hebrews chapter one that Jesus was with the Father at the beginning of creation, because through Him all things were made and are held together.
Melchizedek showed up out of nowhere with no backstory, and disappeared with no end. Therefore, he remains a priest continually. We know from Hebrews 5:9 that Jesus the High Priest is the author of eternal salvation. There is no end to His priesthood.
How incredible is God’s word! The mention of this one person way back in Genesis, who seemingly did nothing more than greet Abram and receive a tithe, was a whisper from the Father that spoke of the immeasurable significance of the Son. These mysteries are only discoverable through the lens of grace. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 13:11, “it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” To those who brave grace, nothing is hidden that will not be made known.