Sermon – 03-22-15 – Lent 5 – Cycle B
Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:1-12 Hebrews 5:5-10 John 12:20-33
Sermon Title: “Melchizedek”
So, you are asking, “Who is Melchizedek?” He was placed in the Old Testament story as a “type” for Jesus. Scripture has people who are set into place to announce someone else. These types also prepare people for whom and what is to come. A type is like a model in some ways.
Many references are found in the Old Testament which lead to Jesus.
13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.
17 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the people, but take the goods for yourself.’ 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to the Lord, God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, “I have made Abram rich.”
*[The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
This interesting passage is making the point that even though Jesus (Lord) appeared on earth after David, Jesus was actually David’s Lord because Jesus existed with God from time past and into time future. Jesus (the Son) is one of the three persons of God who form the Trinity that is God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
[The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]
Now that we have met Melchizedek, why are we including him in this sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Lent?
The Old Testament lesson from Jeremiah 31:31-34 speaks about God writing his laws in the people’s hearts. This event takes place in the Babylonian exile, when the house of Israel and the house of Judah were exiled from their homeland, including the city of Jerusalem with the temple.
While the Israelites and Judeans were obeying/disobeying like a light switch or like a yes I will and no I won’t, uphill and downhill, there was this constant priest threading through the centuries, appearing when God needs him to appear as a passing priest when the coming Messiah has to be produced like a mirage but still authentic.
Well, when this real, holy one in the flesh. called Jesus, came to the end of the life of flesh, he was exhibiting God’s covenant of love for all God’s people in that he died for our salvation. Just as Abram rescued his nephew with the help of his three friends, Jesus rescues us to lose our lives for the sake of gaining our lives. Jesus tells the everlasting truth: people must become humble, to glorify God, we must be obedient even if we disagree. Because our lives are worth nothing to God unless we divest ourselves of our prideful goals and ways, we must open our hearts to understand the idea of a grain of wheat dying before it can become more; before we can glorify God in the fullest way; before we can feel the satisfaction of letting God write his love in our hearts.