International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday October 23, 2016
Purpose: To understand how Jesus’ eternal priesthood helps us to live faithfully
Bible Lesson: Hebrews 7:1-3, 19b-28
Background Scripture: Hebrews 7
Key Verse: In contrast, [Jesus] holds the office of priest permanently because he continues to serve forever. (Hebrews 7:24)
Hebrews 7:1-3 (CEB)
(1) This Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the defeat of the kings, and Melchizedek blessed him. (2) Abraham gave a tenth of everything to him. His name means first “king of righteousness,” and then “king of Salem,” that is, “king of peace.” (3) He is without father or mother or any family. He has no beginning or end of life, but he’s like God’s Son and remains a priest for all time.
Hebrews 7:19b-28 (CEB)
(19b) On the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. (20) And this was not done without a solemn pledge! The others have become priests without a solemn pledge, (21) but this priest was affirmed with a solemn pledge by the one who said, The Lord has made a solemn pledge and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever. (22) As a result, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. (23) The others who became priests are numerous because death prevented them from continuing to serve. (24) In contrast, he holds the office of priest permanently because he continues to serve forever. (25) This is why he can completely save those who are approaching God through him, because he always lives to speak with God for them. (26) It’s appropriate for us to have this kind of high priest: holy, innocent, incorrupt, separate from sinners, and raised high above the heavens. (27) He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. He did this once for all when he offered himself. (28) The Law appoints people who are prone to weakness as high priests, but the content of the solemn pledge, which came after the Law, appointed a Son who has been made perfect forever.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
I will begin this lesson by telling you at the time of the writing of Hebrews there was no bible as we know it. Teaching and learning was by in person teaching and some letters, primarily by Paul to some of the congregations. So while I believe this lesson is important and was important when written, we have the advantage of Jesus own words about his priesthood as found in John 17 (20) “I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. (21) I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. (22) I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. (23) I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me. (24) “Father, I want those you gave me to be with me where I am. Then they can see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (25) “Righteous Father, even the world didn’t know you, but I’ve known you, and these believers know that you sent me. (26) I’ve made your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that your love for me will be in them, and I myself will be in them.”
I think the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus found in John 17 tells the story better of Jesus Priesthood.
We can easily see how Jesus intercedes for us and bridges between ourselves and the Creator God the Father.
If you want more about Melchizedek, see last week’s lesson. John’s gospel gives us a better picture of the Priestly Jesus and how he carries out that position for each of us.
When I think about Jesus and the High Priestly prayer, I think of one of the great old hymns of the church, “In The Garden".