This past September the newswire was abuzz with the discovery of a new species of dinosaur. The discovery was big because it was just that: big. This dinosaur is said to be the biggest dinosaur discovered to date. Archeologists actually have a category for the most colossal dinosaurs called “titanausars.” This particular dinosaur is unique because it is supposed to be the largest of all the titanausars that have ever been found.
It is estimated that the beast would have stood as high as of the biggest buildings in downtown Mansfield (seven stories).
What is amazing about this beast is that the experts say that it was still yet a juvenile. They can tell from the fossil composition that it was just a kid. It died in the prime of life, and still had potential to grow even bigger.
Ken Lacovara was the paleontologist who discovered the behemoth. He gave a sketch of what the animal’s feeding habits would have been like. You know how teenagers eat. Imagine a 65 ton teenager. He said the beast must have cleared whole forests almost on a daily basis. He says that as big as it was the whole day would have been spent grazing and chomping down trees in order to get enough calories to sustain itself.
Lacovara seemed to be most impressed with the dinosaur’s 30 foot long tail. He said that the tailbones are gargantuan, even in comparison with other titanosaurs’ tails. These bones could be up to a yard in diameter and they display the scars of muscle tissue that tell us that essentially this was nothing more than a weaponized tail.
It was of such immense stature and would have possessed such incredible power that they say it would have been impervious to any predator. Even though it was a plant eater, it was too intimidating for any carnivorous beast to attack. Thus they named this greatest of all dinosaurs, this titanausar of titanosaurs, Dreadnoughtus; “fears nothing.”
As we have been studying the book of Hebrews we have been making something of a similar discovery. Our study has been a lot like an excavation of the Old Testament. As we dig through Hebrews we have unearthed various figures; they were the titanausars of the OT: angels, Moses, the priesthood. Yet, there is one who stands out above all others. No one can even begin to match this colossal giant whom we are studying. Indeed, we have found that Jesus Christ is something of the titanausar of all titanausars. When we compare him to the largest and most imposing figures of the Old Testament, we find that Christ supersedes them in every way.
But here in this passage we discover that Christ is anything but a puny priest. He is a robust priest; maybe we could call him a titan priest. For we find him being described as one who is in the order of Melchizedek.
The author refers to Melchizedek because he wants to impress on his audience that Christ is the greatest of priest, surpassing the supremacy of their adored Aaronic priesthood. And so he takes the time to point out the supremacy of his majesty and his ministry.
But probably no one here needs this thought reinforced. There’s probably no one here who gives much of a hoot about Aaron and the OT priests. For us, all that stuff just makes for hard devotional reading as we slog through the OT!
But this passage is still quite relevant for us. That’s because this passage reminds us that Christ is the Super Savior. He is for us a titan priest who guarantees our deliverance from sin.
We can see something of his saving supremacy in the first few verses. In verses 1-4 as the author introduces us to Melchizedek’s and shows off his greatness. And as he does so we see something of Christ’s majesty as our priest.
I. His majesty [2-3]
There are four aspects of Melchizedek’s majesty that are brought out in these verses. The first thing we find is that Melchizedeck is more than just a priest. He’s a titan priest in that he is also a king.
A. He was kingly [2b]
The author points out in verse 2 that his name means “king of righteousness.” (Melech = king; zadiq = righteous). Then he also mentions that he was the king of Salem. It is interesting that his jurisdiction is not so much the grounds of some temple, but rather he rules over a whole city or nation.
It is interesting too that the Psalm that has been referenced also picks this up. The author has noted Psalm 110 which says, “You are a priest forever in the order of Mel.” I went back and studied that Psalm this week and I was surprised at what I found. The Psalm is a kingly psalm. It focuses on the royal aspect of the Messiah, and it has very little to do with anything priestly.
So you see that Melchizedek was superior to the Aaronic priesthood because he brought together two of the three OT offices. He was not just a priest, but he was a royal, kingly priest.
That is to say that in Christ’s kingdom there really is no separation of church and state. The one who is the head of our religion is also the one who governs our lives.
The passage goes on to describe exactly how he rules. He was not just a king. But he was the king of righteousness.
B. He was righteous [2c]
Melchizedek stands out as a priest because he is a king. But as a king he is unique because he is not like other kings. Virtually all the kings of earth are tyrants; their kingdoms are built on selfishness, greed, and injustice. Melchizedek had to certainly be distant among the kings of the day for Abraham to acknowledge him and pay tribute to him. He must have somehow lived up to that name.
But, of course, Melchizedek is just the shadow. Ultimately he prefigures Jesus Christ, who is the true king of righteousness.
This really separates Christ from Aaron. We’ll talk more later about how the priests of the OT had to sacrifice for themselves before they sacrificed for the sins of the people. But when it comes to Aaron there was a rather big stain on his record. Aaron, you remember, was the one who created the golden calf and called the people to worship it.
Moses had gone up on the Mountain to speak with the Lord. So, in all reality, Aaron was left as the interim governor of the nation of Israel. For just over a month he was to serve as a civil as well as a religious leader. And what happened? He failed miserably. Under his headship the people fell into gross immorality.
It just shows how important godly leaders are. The old saying is true, as the king goes, so goes the people.
When we were kids we would sometimes have a substitute teacher fill in for our regular teachers when they were ill. I would never want that job. Because it was an all-out blitzkrieg on the substitute. If he was willing to concede some disobedience, it wouldn’t be long until the classroom fell apart. Order would break down and chaos would erupt as kids took advantage of the breakdown of rule. But that all stopped once the regular teacher came back to class. That’s because just their presence had an effect. That’s because these teachers had the ability to impose a higher standard.
And this is part of what makes Christ such a great savior. He is not only a priest who makes sacrifices for sin, but he rules in righteousness. In doing so he brings the people out of the mire of their immorality.
We have talked a lot about how Christ saves us from the penalty of sin by his going to the cross. He bore our guilt and allows us to be declared righteous before God. But we should not forget that he continues to reign over us in righteousness. And as such he is continuing to save us from the sins that still infest our life. He is imposing his righteousness on us each and every day.
Even right now, through the preaching of His word, he is reforming your life and sanctifying you in righteousness. As we hear the word of God preached and we hear of how majestic he really is, it is like the Spirit of God has to tear down another wall in our lives to make room for him. Sin has to go because it has to make room for Christ.
Our author also notes that Melch is a peaceful king, just as much as he is a righteous one.
C. He was a bearer of peace [2d]
Melch.’s domain was the area called “salem.” That is an offshoot of “shalom,” which is the Hebrew word for peace.
Keep in mind that the Hebrew word for peace doesn’t just mean quiet or restful as we typically use the word peace. We say we have peace after the kids have all gone to bed. That’s not the Hebrew understanding of the term.
Shalom (salem) means wholeness. It has to do with the absence of sin and the misery that it causes. To have peace is to have wholeness of life, be it economic wholeness, emotional wholeness, physical wholeness.
In sum, Melk’s kingdom was symbolic of the kingdom of God. It foreshadowed a kingdom that lacked sin, death, and misery.
And that is exactly what Christ brings to us. Yes, he imposes his righteousness, but he is imposing his peace upon us too.
I was reading this past week in the book of Ephesians. In chapters 4 and 5 he gives all kinds of commands. He sets for the righteousness that we must abide by: let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, put away falsehood and speak the truth to one another, share with anyone in need, be kind, tenderhearted, put away sexual immorality and impurity. It is like Paul grabs a machine gun and starts rapid fire list of exhortations.
And the thought struck me: These chapters give a rather serene picture of life. I thought, Isn’t he giving us a picture of what peace really is like? What if we really lived this way? The people who abide by these principles, will they not have less drama in their life? Won’t it cut down on the amount of conflict they experience from day to day? Won’t their relationships be richer and more enjoyable?
It is true. And that is exactly what characterizes Christ’s reign. As he imposes his righteousness on your life he imposes his peace on you too. The wonder of heaven actually begins to seep over into your life right now. And most of all it reminds us that there is a kingdom of peace yet to come.
In verse 3 we see another aspect of our priest’s majesty, it is the fact that he is divine.
D. He is divine 
The author gets at this in verse three by pointing out that Melchizedek has an eternal attribute about him. It says that Melchizedek is “without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.” In the story Melchizedek appears on the scene out of no where and then pretty much vanishes into thin air, never to be heard of again.
He is such a mysterious fellow that some commentators have said that he is a pre-incarnate Christ. I don’t think that is true, but I can at least understand why they think that. The author of the Book of Hebrews certainly says that this lack of any genealogy makes him resemble the Son of God.
Here again we see the superiority of Christ. He is our titan priest because he is very God of very God.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see;
hail th’incarnate Deity
Please as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emanuel
But we will not have a full sense of Christ’s power to save until we consider Melch.’s ministry.
II. Melchizedek’s ministry [1, 4-9]
The author, of course, is out to show how Melchizedek is a greater priest than Aaron. And he does so by looking at two aspects of his ministry. The first is that he received the tithes of Abraham.
A. He receives tithes
The author here is pretty much saying, if you want to know who is the most important, all you have to do is follow the money. In verse 2 it says that Abraham apportioned a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek. And in verses 4-10 it says that, technically speaking, Aaron paid Melch through his grandpappy Abraham.
In sum, Aaron’s priesthood is really like the minor leagues in comparison to the priesthood of Melch.
Melch’s ministry was more than simply passing the offering plate though. But the passage also mentions the fact that Melch blessed Abraham.
B. He blesses
That’s noted at the end of verse one and also in verses 6-7. Verse 7 goes the extra distance to point out that one who is inferior is blessed by the superior.
When we give the benediction here at the end of our service, who is it that gives it? You might notice that different men lead different parts of the service. But the benediction is typically given only by one of the elders. That’s just an example of what is said here: the inferior is blessed by the superior.
You’d kind of think that Abraham, being the chosen one of God—the one who held the promises, would be the one who blesses. But it wasn’t so. It was Melchizedek. That just shows you again how superior he was to Abraham, let alone Aaron.
The point simply is: There’s no match. The Melchizedekian priesthood is the greater priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood, just can’t measure up. And when it comes down to it: Christ’s priesthood rises above. And as such, it is able to deal with sin in a more sure way.
John Kolb was one of the stellar lineman for the Pitsburg Steelers in the 70’s. He played during what you might call the reign of Steelers, earning 4 Super Bowl rings during that decade.
On a number of occasions I got to hear Kolb give his testimony. He is a Christian man and his life’s story is an interesting one to hear. When he was a little boy, maybe five years of age, he had his picture taken with his dad. His dad worked on an oil rig, so he wasn’t home a lot. But he had this picture in his room that he always looked at. It was a picture of them at the water’s edge, the little boy reaching up and holding his father’s hand. Kolb said he admired that picture because his dad just looked like the biggest, baddest dude in the world. The picture showed him towering over the young boy, with muscles bulging. All those days of working on the oil rig produced a buff muscle tone.
Kolb said that this picture really inspired him. He made it is goal to be a big bad dude, just like his father. And when he got to High school he started working out. He played football, and he started to really grow and put on weight.
One day his father was home, which was an oddity being that he worked on the rig. And Kolb walked into the kitchen and met his father. It struck him that he was looking down at his dad. It was an odd experience, because he was bigger. All his life he had that picture in his mind of his dad being bigger and badder.
But at school, there was a guy on the football team who was just the biggest baddest dude he knew. So Kolb set this teammate as the guy he wanted to be like. Of course, he graduated and Kolb eventually became a senior. One day, the older teammate came back for a homecoming game. And Kolb was struck again: he had become bigger and badder than his former teammate.
This continued into college. Then he got drafted by the Steelers. He came in for the first day of camp and there was this towering guy they called, “Mean Joe Greene.” He said, “I want to be like Mean Joe Greene. But, as the two played opposite each other, it wasn’t long until Kolb was knocking Mean Joe Greene around.
Kolb then was invited to the World’s Strongest Man contest. Here he thought he arrived. He thought he had reached the pinnacle. But when he got to the hotel, the elevator opened up and there stood the WSM champion right before him. Kolb then turned to his wife and said, “Honey, I give up.”
Kolb realized that no matter how hard he tried, he was never going to be the biggest baddest dude. There was always going to be someone greater.
That’s essentially what the Aaronic and Melkizedekian priesthoods do. Aaron meets Melch, and has to admit that Melchizedek is a bigger, stronger priest. And Melchizedek ultimately bows to Christ, recognizing him to be the true titan, the real Savior of men.
Kolb ends his testimony by pointing his life to Christ as well. Kolb says that no one can ultimately match Christ. For the Scripture says that God marked off the heavens with the span of his hand. If there was ever one who was the biggest and strongest, certainly it is the One who holds the universe in the palm of his hand.
Then Kolb, who had lifted no end of weights in his time, said that there has only been one who has born a weight that no man has ever been able to bear: Jesus Christ bore a cross, and on top of that cross he held the weight of the world’s sin.
Certainly that is a weight that no man could ever bear. Only a true titan could do it.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.