The author of Hebrews isn’t through arguing for the superiority of Jesus as the intercessor on our behalf, over the priesthood of Israel. Like Aaron, Jesus was appointed directly from God. Unlike the corrupt priesthood in the day that was purchased or gained through political intrigue, Jesus was twice identified in His life personally by God as the appointed intercessor for all mankind. He was superior because He was one of the people, human, himself but without sin. His sacrifice did not pass through the sinful hands of any man. God directly appointed Him and then established Him as the High Priest for all mankind through the resurrection from the dead. But there was more evidence to support Jesus’ superiority. Hebrews 5:6 says, “As he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.’”

Mentioning Melchizedek is a reference back to the days of Abraham. Pfeiffer explains the significance of this. He says, “This provides the key to the contention that the priesthood of Christ is superior to that of Aaron and his descendants. Although all priests in Israel had to be of the Aaronic line, the Law itself spoke of a pre-Aaronic priest who was recognized by no less a personage than Abraham. Melchizedek had been the priest-king of the city-state of Jerusalem (Salem) at the time Abraham had rescued Lot from his captors. Subsequently the Psalmist spoke of an ideal and everlasting priestly line after the order of Melchizedek.”[1] It seems that the mention of Melchizedek is saying that Jesus was of an order that pre-dates Aaron. He is superior because He was priest long before Aaron even existed. Jesus’ order is affirmed by Abraham, the father of the whole nation, and therefore is superior.

But it’s not only that the Order of Melchizedek, of which Jesus belonged, is much older than the priests of Aaron’s line, it is an order that will last forever and ever and ever, Hallelujah! The quote from Psalm 110 is a key passage for understanding much of what is to follow in the book of Hebrews. But it seems to me that the purpose of it begins in this verse by pointing out that Jesus’ divine appointment predates Aaron’s and will outlast Aaron’s. Further it is an uncorrupted priesthood unlike that of Aaron’s. The priests cannot offer an acceptable sacrifice for our sins. They cannot intercede for us. Neither the Prophets, the Angels, or Moses himself are capable of mediating a relationship with God. Only Jesus can do that. Paul encourages the young preacher, Timothy, to set aside his interests in the law and efforts at measuring up to God’s standards. He wants Timothy to focus on what matters. He says, in 1 Timothy 2:3f that God…”desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” What is that truth Paul? Verse 5 tells us, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” Paul goes on to tell Timothy, “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle.” Preachers should preach “Jesus.”

[1] Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1962), 44.