Dispatch Two Hundred Eighty-Nine

Posted: May 10, 2018 in Fifty-Fifth Bundle
Tags: , , ,

HEBREWS 5:1-10

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
    according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus became “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” by opening the path through the jungle of human experience, not to some alien world in the afterlife but into the heart and higher possibilities of our life in the present world. He didn’t say, “Just hang in there, and it will be over soon.”

Rather, the refrain of his good news message was that we are all of us in the evolutionary throes of becoming. He said that by God’s grace we can enter into the fullness of life before we die, but that if our death comes early we can die into this self-same grace, like a child falling asleep in its mother’s arms.

How did Jesus discover that unconditional grace is always and everywhere available, if not for the fact that he outlived his last doubt and out-loved his last fear? Because he was subjected to the toils and mortal condition of our shared human experience, and kept his spiritual balance through the gauntlet of rejection and physical trauma, Jesus was “made perfect” just as we are “made perfect” (finished, complete, whole) in the fire on the altar of life. The author regards Jesus as our high priest who offered his example as our way through and his living spirit for our present comfort and strength.

Melchizedek was the mysterious higher priest-king of Salem (Jerusalem) who offered Abraham communion, with a blessing over his enemies. In return, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything he possessed.

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