If you don't switch from flesh to spirit, this is gonna swoop right over your head. Dr. Tony Evans says it can be difficult understanding the deep meaning of Jesus' role as a priest.
But if you decide to look at things spiritually rather than worldly, fleshly, humanly, then it will blow your mind. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Mention the word priest, and many people picture a man with a clerical collar or an ancient Jew offering sacrifices. But how many picture Jesus?
Probably not so many. Well, that'll change after Dr. Evans takes us to Hebrews chapter 5 for today's lesson. Let's join him. An elderly lady was dying. She knew she only had a short time to live.
Her doctor came in and he said, ma'am, as you know, time is getting short. Can I go get you a priest? That's when the elderly lady grabbed the crucifix around her neck, held on to it tightly, and said to the doctor, no, don't get me a priest.
I already have a priest. Referring to the Christ on the cross of her crucifix. Today I want to speak with you about another name.
A name that is deep, rich, often not known, understood, misunderstood, and underutilized. I want to talk to you today about Jesus, our great high priest. This is a title given to Jesus Christ that is daunting in its definition and its implications for your life and mine.
The discussion of Jesus as your high priest is found predominantly in one book of the Bible, and that is the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is the second most difficult book to understand in the New Testament. Second to the book of Revelation.
Revelation because of all the symbolism. But the reason that Hebrews is so rough to understand is that Hebrews was written with an assumption, and that is the assumption was that you understand the Old Testament, and that you understand the Old Testament sacrifices, the Old Testament priesthood, and it was written to people, Jews, who had become Christians but who were well acquainted with the Old Testament. So it assumes that knowledge when the author writes the New Testament book of Hebrews. Well, most of us don't come from that background. We were not steeped in Old Testament tradition, theology, the sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood. We were not steeped in that reality. And as a result of that, it is unclear to many of us what Hebrews is talking about.
So let me make it crystal clear. What Hebrews wants you to get through all of the chapters are three words. It wants you to get three words. If you get these three words, you get the heart of the book of Hebrews, even though you may not understand all of the idiosyncratic elements of the book. The book of Hebrews wants you to understand these three words. Never give up.
The book of Hebrews boils down to three words. Never give up. It was written to people who were tempted to throw in the towel. They were tempted to walk away. They were tempted to give up or to give in because life had become too hard. Being a Christian had become too difficult.
Persecution, pressure, challenges were overwhelming them. And chapter after chapter after chapter, he tells them, Don't you quit. Don't you throw in the towel. Never give up. There are some here holding on by a thread.
And you are tempted to quit. You're raising the question, why go on? It's never going to change. It's never going to get better. I'm never going to find victory. And life will never improve even though I belong to Jesus Christ. And you are tempted to give up. The author of the book of Hebrews wants to serve notice to you today.
Never give up. And the reason why he doesn't want you to give up is because of Jesus' name. He is the great high priest. Now, to understand this, you have to understand a little bit about the priesthood in order to make sense of Jesus today being your contemporary, right now, high priest.
He begins the first four verses of chapter 5 by defining the qualifications even to be a priest in the Old Testament. He said, first of all, that a priest had to be taken from men and appointed on behalf of men. In other words, a priest had to be equal to the one they were being a priest for. So if a man needs a priest, he needs a human priest because a man or a woman, they are human. So they had to partake of humanity in order to qualify to be a priest. He goes on to say the priest had to be appointed by God. You couldn't wake up one morning and decide, I want to be a priest today. You couldn't write in like folk do today for a priest certificate. You could not self-authenticate yourself as a priest.
There had to be a defining call by God. In addition to that, he goes on to say that the priest had to offer sacrifices for sins. His own sin, verse 4 says, and the sins of those, verse 3 says, and the sins of those that he represented.
So the priest went to the temple or the tabernacle to offer sacrifices. The sacrifices could not take away sin, Hebrews 10-4 says. No sacrifice could take away sin.
It only delayed judgment. It didn't solve the sin problem, but it delayed the judgment. In fact, the sacrifice of the killing of the animal was to remind the people that sin brings forth death.
Since sin brings forth death, the animal would be killed to delay the judgment of death on the human beings that had sinned. So he offered the sacrifice for sin. There was one other qualification that any priest had to have. And that is that the priest had to be, watch this, verse 2, beset by weaknesses. He had to struggle in his own life because he couldn't identify with the strugglees if he wasn't a struggler. If he didn't have some stuff he had to deal with.
Don't get me wrong up here. Up here where I'm standing, I'm struggling like y'all down there to even qualify to be a priest. You had to beset by weaknesses. You had to have some limitations too, or else you're spouting information that you've never experienced.
You're trying to help folk when you've never needed help yourself. And so a priest had to qualify because he had to go through some stuff that the folks had to go through so that he had to get his sins cleansed and he needed divine help. So that was what was needed to qualify to be a priest in the Old Testament. Well, how does that relate to Jesus? He says in verse 5, so also Christ. In other words, Christ had to qualify like the priest had to qualify. He did not glorify himself, verse 5 says, he was appointed by God. He was human. God became a man so that you qualified for men because you are a man.
He then had to be appointed. He says, you are my beloved son, today I have begotten you. He says in verse 6, you are a priest forever. He says in verse 7, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, but he did it with loud crying. In other words, he had to cry like you and I had to cry. He had to weep like you and I had to weep because of qualifications for a priest as he had to struggle the same way of the folks he was representing.
The spirit can't struggle that way. So God became a man so he could struggle that way. So that now Jesus Christ can be a priest because he's seen a struggle. He's been through crying and weeping and pain and anguish and agony, just like you and I in his humanity, qualifying him to be a priest.
Ah, but now he throws something else, and this something else is a zinger. He says that he is a priest after the order of Mount Kesedek. Now at this point, I must pause. And the reason I must pause is because the author of Hebrews has to pause because he knows when he brings up Mount Kesedek, he has probably lost his crowd like I lost you. That's why he says in verse 11 of chapter 5, concerning him, Mount Kesedek, we have much to say, I got a lot to tell you about this guy, and it is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. He says, I want to tell you about Mel, but I can't tell you about Mel like I want to tell you about Mel because it's so deep that most of you are going to miss it.
And he says, like I'm saying to you, if you miss it, it's not my fault. He says, if you miss it, it's because you are dull of hearing. That is, you don't have spiritual ears.
To be dull of hearing means you're still thinking worldly, functioning worldly, being carnal, living by the flesh. So when I drop this Mount Kesedek piece on you, if you don't switch from AM to FM, if you don't switch from flesh to spirit, this is going to swoop right over your head and you're going to miss the whole point. And if you miss the point of Mount Kesedek, you've missed the point of Jesus. And if you miss the point of Mount Kesedek and therefore miss the point of Jesus, you're going to miss the help you need to get over the problem you face.
So let me give us a minute to switch frequencies. This is didactic. This is teaching. We don't want you to miss this. The author of Hebrews does not want you to miss this, but he says you've got to change your head right now. Because there is much to be said about Mount Kesedek, but unless you are spiritually oriented, you're going to miss it.
And when you miss it, it won't help you in your struggle. But if you get it, if you get it because you switched frequencies and decided to look at things spiritually rather than worldly, fleshly, humanly, then it will blow your mind. And Dr. Evans will come back with more of the story of Mount Kesedek when he continues our message in just a moment. First, though, I want to make sure you don't miss your chance to get Tony's engaging book, Experiencing Israel. This resource chronicles one of his recent tours to the Holy Land and lets you relive the whole experience through beautiful pictures, insightful commentary, and real-life applications.
You'll be taking the trip of a lifetime without ever having to leave home. You'll learn about the history, geography, culture, and people as you see the sights Jesus saw when He walked on earth. You'll not only feel closer to the Lord, you'll get a whole new perspective on what you read in His Word. Request a copy of Experiencing Israel right away, and we'll send it to you as our gift in appreciation for your contribution toward Tony's ministry. As a bonus, we'll include all eleven full-length messages in his current teaching series, Encountering Jesus' Names, making this the perfect package to help deepen your understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, both of these powerful resources are yours as our thank-you gift when you make a donation in support of Tony's ministry. The alternative is a completely listener-supported broadcast, so your faithfulness is the only way we can keep bringing it to you each day. Make the arrangements right away at TonyEvans.org, or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222.
That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans, we'll come back with more of today's lesson right after this. Add some adventure to your family time, and impart spiritual truths to your kids with a library of books from Dr. Tony Evans specifically geared toward children. Written for children of all ages, these books will help you teach your kids the Bible, lead them to depend on the Lord, and spark joy in their hearts for Him, all the while enjoying time together as a family. You'll find scripture to memorize, journal prompts, and practical applications for the whole family to put into practice.
But most importantly, you'll have a way to spend intentional time with your kids, having fun and enjoying each other, while learning biblical truth together. Explore Dr. Evans' line of kids' books today, and start them on the path to discovering what it really means to live faithfully for Jesus. Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Abraham has just come from a battle with three kings, and now he's on his way weary from war. Beginning in Genesis 14, it says in verse 18, And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of God Most High, and he blessed him, Abraham, and said, Bless be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, and bless be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tenth, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of all.
Now watch this. Jesus is a priest after the order, in the line of the priesthood of Melchizedek. What do we discover about Melchizedek in Genesis 14? Melchizedek is a king. He is the king of peace. Melchizedek, if he's a king, means he has a kingdom.
It means he rules. But it goes on to say he's a priest. In the Bible, you could be a priest or a king. You could be a priest and a king. Melchizedek is the only one who's a priest and a king.
Jesus is after the order. He's after he's in line with Melchizedek, the only one who is a priest and a king. The job of the priest was to represent men before God. The job of a prophet was to represent God before men. The prophet brought the word of God and delivered it to men. But the priest brought the sins of men and offered up to God. Jesus Christ is king.
He is priest, and we know he's prophet because he's the word of God. But look at the situation where Melchizedek shows up. Melchizedek shows up when Abram, before his name was changed to Abraham, when Abram has just come from a battle. He's come from a war. He's been giving it all he's got. He's been seeking to have victory. He's come from a battle. It is in the midst of this coming from a battle that he runs into the king priest. He runs into the king priest, and what does the king give him? Bread and wine. Because Abraham is tired.
Abraham, even though he got through the battle, he's weary now, and he needs to be restored. So he gives him some bread and wine coming out of a fight. I wonder if anybody came to church here this Sunday out of a fight last week. You had a financial battle, a work battle, a marital battle, a parenting battle, a child battle.
You had a financial battle. You had a health battle, and you didn't show up, and you didn't drug yourself into the house of God. It says Melchizedek, the high priest, gave him bread and wine. It not only gave him bread and wine, it said he blessed him. So with the bread and wine came a blessing. He comes out of a battle.
He gets refreshed by Melchizedek because after this, he's getting ready to go into a new battle. In verse 21, then the king of Sodom, that's Sodom and Gomorrah, then the king of Sodom said to Abram, give the people to me and take the goods for you. Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have sworn to the Lord Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, I will not take a thread or a sandal or a thong or anything that is yours, for fear you will say, I have made Abram rich.
I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten and the share of the men who went with me. In other words, watch this, he's coming from a battle, but he's going to a new one. Because the king of Sodom is going to ask him to compromise.
I want you to compromise with hell in order to joy heaven's blessings. He's coming from three kings because he's getting ready to fight another king. But in between the three kings and the one king, there's another king. King of Salem, now in Melchizedek. But the king of Salem is also a high priest.
So the king is ruling, but he's also a priest to lift up people before God. So what I want to say right now is, if you came out of one battle, I'm going to guarantee you, you headed toward another battle. But in between the battle you came from and the battle you headed to, you're supposed to get refreshed. And the refreshing, he says, came from the bread and the wine. The bread and the wine would refresh him.
But notice something else. With the bread and the wine came a blessing. The bread and the wine was accompanied by a blessing. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10, when you take up the cup and the bread, it is the cup of blessing, because he is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. So the reason we have communion today is because of what the priesthood did under Melchizedek back there. You thought it was wafers and a juice.
No. It's designed to help you overcome yesterday's battle and get you ready for tomorrow's battle. But in between the two battles, it's designed to give you a fresh blessing. So the blessing was tied to the two sides of the conflict. You see, what we do is we come out of one conflict, go to another conflict without either being refreshed or without the blessing being activated on our behalf, and God says, but you're a high priest.
It's after the order of Melchizedek, and that order allowed him not to compromise even when he was tired, not to give up even when he was weary from the battle he had just come out of. If you're tired of fighting life's battles on your own, isn't it time to let Jesus start fighting them for you, especially the battle with sin? No matter what you've done or how good a person you might be, the Bible makes it clear that a relationship with Jesus is the only way to get right with God and guarantee a place in heaven.
Dr. Evans would love to tell you how that relationship can be yours. Visit tonyevans.org today and follow the link that says Jesus. You'll find answers to your questions, a simple prayer that can change your life, and free follow-up resources. Here's a reminder that if you'd like to have a copy of today's message to review on your own or pass along to a friend, just contact us for details on the title Jesus, the Great High Priest. Better yet, get this message as a part of Tony's current teaching series, Encountering Jesus' Names. Right now, for a limited time, you can get all 11 full-length messages in this powerful series as our gift, along with the Experiencing Israel book I told you about earlier, with appreciation for your generous contribution to help keep this program coming your way. Call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements. It's open around the clock.
That's 1-800-800-3222. Or get all the details and instantly make the arrangements at tonyevans.org. You know, a lot of people can point you toward God, but tomorrow Dr. Evans will tell us more about the only person who can connect you with Him, and that's something we can truly give thanks for. I hope you'll be back with us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
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