14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. — Hebrews 7:14-18 NIV
Under the Old Testament law, the priest had to be a member of the Levite tribe. No one else was allowed to serve in the temple and/or offer the sacrifices that were required. Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah. This was one of the issues that the Jewish religious leaders had with Him. But knowing the Old Testament, they should have realized that a new order would be established and the eternal priest would come from the tribe of Judah.
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. — Genesis 49:10 NIV
This new order would begin when the law had been fulfilled and Jesus did just that. He fulfilled the law and established a covenant of mercy and grace. The old law was weak and served only to show us that we needed a Redeemer. We could never live the life of perfection that it required. So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to fulfill that law. His death and resurrection would usher in a whole new way of coming close to God. Earthly priests were no longer needed as we now could speak directly to God on our own behalf. Having a living God and a resurrected Jesus to worship is the defining difference in Christianity and worldly religions. It is why Chrisitanity offers the only hope for an eternity with Jesus. No religion offers the hope that we have as Christians and that is the real Christmas message that we need to be telling every day. It started with the birth of a baby in Behtlehem, it continued with the disciples and apostles and has been handed down to us to continue telling the old, old story. A story that is just as alive and vibrant today as it was when Jesus walked on the face of the earth. A light shone in the darkness then and has continued and will continue to shine throughout eternity. Our lifestyles should be mirrors that reflect that light every day, not just at this time of the year.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.—Gal. 3:10-14 (NASB)
Paul continues to contrast living under the law as opposed to living under grace. For hundreds of years, all the Jews had known was the law plus all the man-made traditions that had been added by the priests and the religious leaders. That now there was a different way to please God was going to take a lot of “unteaching ” and “unlearning”. The law was not given to be a curse, but it became a curse because the flesh could not live up to its standards. It did not require faith, it was a law of works. It was meant to be a teacher showing “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. We needed a change, but to have that change, we needed someone to remove us from under the curse of sin and the law. Jesus became a curse and a Redeemer for us. Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can now receive the promise of the blessing of Abraham. We could not become the physical offspring of Abraham, but we could become the Spiritual descendants of the “seed” of Abraham. That “Seed” is Jesus Christ. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect—Romans 4:13,14 (NKJV)
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.—John 17:13-19 (NLT)
We have the privilege of listening into a personal conversation between Jesus and our Father. As we read through the prayer that Jesus is praying for His disciples, we get a little glimpse of His love and compassion for them. Jesus is not asking God to remove all the bumps, He is asking Him to keep them safe as they travel the rocky road. He is also asking our Father to teach them the truth. Jesus, as the oldest of all God’s children, is taking the responsibility of being sure that the family is being taken care of while He is separated from them. Of course, He knows that our Father is going to take good care of the disciples, but His compassion demands that He set the example for them to ask. Not only that, but He is paying in advance for their care by giving His life on the cross. Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, a brother, a friend and a Redeemer.
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.—John 4:25-30 (NLT)
For hundreds upon hundreds of years, generation after generation had heard the story, “Messiah is coming”. Could Jesus possibly be the long awaited Messiah? The woman hears all that Jesus said to her, but like so many today, she is not totally convinced. “Could he possibly be the Messiah?” HE WAS–Jesus’ answer takes us all the way back to Exodus: 14 God replied to Moses, “I AM who I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.”–Exodus 3:14 (NLT) He IS— Just as He came to this woman, His Holy Spirit comes to each of us today.
HE ALWAYS WILL BE— Just as the people back then waited for the Messiah, we wait for Him to return. There are still people that doubt the truthfulness of the Bible, but God has never failed to deliver on His promises. I stand firmly with Job when He said: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.–Job 19:25 (NLT)
People get ready! Jesus is coming again!
42 Jesus called the apostles and said, “You know that the acknowledged rulers of nations have absolute power over people and their officials have absolute authority over people.43 But that’s not the way it’s going to be among you. Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. 44 Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone. 45 It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”–Mark 10:42-45 (God’s Word)
Jesus left His honor and glory in heaven and became a man. Not just any man, but the perfect man, a man without sin. He spent His time here serving others and humbled Himself, even to the point of allowing Himself to be crucified on a cross. A sinless man dying for the sins of a corrupt human race. Yet, He did it without complaint. If our Creator and Redeemer humbled Himself to that degree, how should we respond to that act of love? We are to follow His example and humble ourselves. We should consider it an honor to be ridiculed for righteousness sake. Because of His obedience, God exalted Jesus to the highest position and put everything under His feet. If we humble ourselves and stay obedient in serving others, God will exalt us in due time.