Title: The Cure for Fatigue
Purpose: To help Christians notice Christ's continuing work and therefore gain strength

NOTE: The structure of this sermon is different. Due to the involved nature of this text, the sermon is presented inductively instead of deductively, with the points summarized after an examination of the text. The highly technical nature of this passage is followed by some practical implications based on the both the text and the condition of the Hebrews for whom this epistle was intended.

After preaching on this passage, it became evident why some preachers practice the "passover" on this one. It is hard to preserve the flow of the text and have good sermonic structure. However, this passage was suited for a critical need of the Hebrews, and should not be passed over today. The need is still ever real today.

I felt that re-arranging the text to fit homiletical structure might distort the integrity of the text, so I structured the sermon to fit the passage instead of vice-versa, and drew conclusions at the end.


  1. Went and saw prince of Egypt. Moses a prominent character in the Bible
  2. Then there is Melchezidek, 2 verses in Gen and one in Psalms. He is obscure
  3. Yet he has come up and is prominent here in Hebrews.
  4. Setting for chapter 7 began in 4:14 (interupted by rebuke & encouragement 5:14-6:20)
    1. Jesus as High Priest introduced in 2:17-3:4
    2. Then again in 4:14, and is developed in chap 7-10
    3. 5:1-4 Talking about Aaron’s priesthood, but 7-10 is talking about Melchezidek's Priesthood
    4. Begins to develop theme of High Priest in 5:5-10
  5. The point - Jesus a High Priest after the order of Melchezidek (therefore superior)

I. Background: Who was Melchezidek? (v.1-10)

  1. Genesis record (Gen. 14:18-20)
    1. Priest of the God Most High
    2. King of Salem (Shalom=”Peace”)
    3. Melchezidek (means King of Righteousness)
    4. He met Abraham, blessed him, and Abraham Tithed to him
  2. That’s it, nothing else is said of him
    1. He appears out of nowhere, performs preistly function, then disappears
    2. No Father, Mother, Geneology & therefore no levitical credentials
    3. Is “like” a Son of God, no beginning, no end (no geneology that we know of)
    4. He remains a preist perpetually
      1. No beginning or end is recorded of him
      2. No successor, or predecessor
      3. Has been alot of speculation concerning Him by Rabbis & Scholars
      4. However, there is no exact analogy for deity, so don’t press it too far
  3. Observe how great Melchezidek was
    1. He was both a Priest and King (these two offices never intertwined, I Sam 15)
    2. Abraham, the patriarch tithed to Melchezidek (v.4) (tithe means 1/10th)
      1. Notice the use of the phrase: Abraham "the Patriarch"
        • Emphasizing what the readers knew, Abraham was great
        • Jews were proud of their heritage, they were "Children of Abraham"
      2. Levites who are decended (lit: “from the loins of”) from Abraham receive tithes from the rest of the Israelites
        • Abraham did not pay tithes to Levi, Levi was his descendant
        • Since Abraham was a patriarch, he was obviously greater than Levi
      3. But Melchezidek was not a Levite, and yet Abraham tithed to him!
    3. Melchezidek blessed Abraham
      1. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
      2. The one with the promises was blessed by Melchezidek
      3. The lesser is blessed by the greater (v.7)
  4. Since Melchezidek was greater than Abraham, he was also greater than Levi
    1. Because of his perpetual-ness
      1. In the case the Levites, mortal men (literally: “dying men”) receive tithes
      2. In Melchezidek’s case, ONE receives tithes, (not many, as is the case of the levites), because he lives
    2. Because Levi is Abraham’s descendant, even Levi paid tithes in the loins of Abraham
  5. Point: Since Melchezidek is greater than Abraham who is greater than Levi who is greater than Aaron, then Melchezidek is a greater priest than Aaron and the entire priesthood

II. How Jesus is a High Preist after the Order of Melchezidek and Superior to Aaron's preisthood (v.11-28)

  1. The levitical priesthood could not provide perfection (v.11)
    1. On the basis of it (the priesthood), the people recieved the law
      1. the priesthood (with its instructions) was an indespensible part of the law
      2. Problem with the law - Rom 3:19-20 - no one will be justified by it
    2. Therefore: God changed the law because it could not provide perfection (v.11)
    3. If the preisthood is changed, then the law is changed (the 2 are tied together) (v.12)
      1. It had to change because Jesus was not a preist according to Aaron, he was not his descendant (v.11)
      2. It is evident that Jesus was from the tribe of Judah (v.13-14)
      3. Since the physical requirement to be a priest is not met, and Jesus is the High Priest, there is obviously a different priesthood
      4. If there is a different preisthood, there is obviously a different law
    4. ILL: The president can’t decide one day to be King. The Law makes no provisions for it
      1. The law would have to be changed
      2. In the same way, the law was changed with the a new priesthood that was not of the tribe of Levi
  2. Jesus’ Priesthood not based on a law of physical (lit: fleshly) requirement, but of power (v.15-18)
    1. 5:2 and 7:28 - Aaronic priests were weak (morally and spiritually), therefore a need for new priesthood:
    2. Jesus became a forerunner into the Holy place (6:20) something Aaron was powerless to do
    3. Jesus’ priesthood based on power of an indestructible life, not a legal requirement of law (v.16)
      1. His life cannot be destroyed
      2. His life has no beginning or end (“like” Melchezidek, v. 15)
      3. Therefore his is a priesthood forever
    4. Therefore the levitical priesthood and its laws were replaced!
      1. They were set aside (lit: annulled) (v.18)
      2. Reason: They were weak and useless, they made nothing perfect
  3. Jesus' priesthood paves the way to God, Levitical priesthood did not (v.18-20)
    1. Law not make anyone righteous
    2. Because of unrighteousness, there was a veil in the temple to separate impure man from a pure God
      1. ILL: Traveling, we saw a sign that read (obey stop sign)
        • Obviously people were ignoring the stop sign
        • Brilliant idea, put up another sign to say obey the other sign
        • Laws will not bring you to God, what is needed is a change of heart
      2. No motivation behind laws, many find loopholes and miss the heart
    3. However, we have a better hope (v.18)
      1. We can draw near to God (v.19)
      2. This hope “enters the viel” (6:20)
  4. Jesus took office as High Priest with an oath, levitical priests did not (v.20-22)
    1. ILL: Our president took office with an oath stating that he would uphold the principles of his office. Can you trust him? He’s human, and humans lie
    2. Already talked about God’s oath in 6:17-19
      1. God did not have to give an oath, he doesn’t lie
      2. God did so for our benefit, to give us strong encouragement and hope
    3. As part of that oath, God offers Jesus as a "gaurantee" or "surety" (v.22)
      1. Guarantee - Lit: “to put in ones hand”
      2. ILL: Closest thing to this is in our legal system to post bail
      3. God posted his own son as bail to gaurantee the terms of his covenant
    4. I wonder if things would be different if the President had to post his own child as bail when he took oath? Would be a lot more believable when raise right hand.
    5. You can trust God!
  5. Levitical Priests were imperfect, Jesus was perfect (v.23-28)
    1. Levitical Priests all died (death was due to sin, Rom 5) (v.23)
      According to Josephus, there were 83 High Priests from Aaron to 70 A.D.
      • Many of them were of very poor character
      • They were part of the reason for the exile
    2. However, Jesus is a dependable priest (v.24)
      1. He was sinless, (v.26-27) and does not have to offer sacrifice for self
      2. The Law appoints weaklings, God’s oath appoints a perfect son (v.28)
        • He was perfectly God (1:1-2)
        • He was perfectly Man (4:14-15) -Even though he is separated from sinners and exalted he is still sympathetic
    3. Because he lives and is a perfect(ed) High Priest: (v.24-25)
      1. He is able to save forever (or completely) those who draw near...
      2. He always lives to make intercession for us
    4. Thank God he lives today, that he makes intercession for us!

  1. Jesus is a superior High Priest because his priesthood is after the order of Melchezidek, and therefore greater than the order of Aaron
  2. Jesus is a superior High Priest because he saves completely those who draw near
  3. Jesus is a superior High Priest because he lives forever to make intercession for us

III. Practical Lesson? Remember that this was a response to immaturity

  1. They began their faith on the completed works of Jesus and their initial response
    1. They were taught several things at conversion that laid the “foundation” (6:1-2)
    2. These were the “A.B.C.’s” of the Christian Faith.
  2. Jesus completed his work here and went to Heaven. He will come back.
    1. This is what all Christians were taught.
    2. I Thess 4:18 says to “comfort one another with these words”
    3. This is the basis of our hope, he will come again!
  3. However, time goes by, and we await his return
    1. For the Hebrews this waiting was a time of struggle
      1. They began to slide backwards, back into Judaism
        • Judaism was legal, Christianity was not
        • They suffered Persecution from both fellow Jew and Gentile
        • Many were put out of the synagogue. (which also served as trade guilds and schools)
      2. This is why 6:12, 15 calls for patience and faith like Abraham
      3. As they slid back into Judaism (not proclaiming Christ), they likely thought they were still serving God
    2. They were once taught the elementary principles of their faith (or their A.B.C.'s)
      1. They had forgotten them, and had need for someone to teach them their A.B.C's all over again (5:11)
      2. Because of persecution and struggle, it became increasingly difficult to maintain their faith in the A.B.C's
    3. Notice how the A.B.C's are described in 6:1-2. It involves 2 things:
      1. Jesus' earthly ministry and our initial response to it
      2. Jesus' coming again
      3. For these persecuted Christians, the A.B.C's involved the past (Jesus ministry, their conversion) AND the future (the coming of Christ and eternal judgement) which they waited for, and waited for, and waited for in the midst of trial
    4. The A.B.C's concerns the past and the future
      1. What about the time in between??!! What about now??
      2. They did not press on to maturity - PAST those ABC's
      3. Notice that this whole section on Jesus & Melchezidek begins in 5:9-11 - "concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God..."
        • It was hard to explain because they did not press on to maturity
        • Because they did not press on to maturity, they needed to be re-taught their spiritual ABC's
        • But he did not go over the ABC's again, he went ahead and spends chapter 7-10 telling about the High Priesthood of Jesus
      4. SO -- Mature Christian faith is not based on just knowing His completed work and his 2nd coming, but also on his continuing priestly work this very day!
        • 7:25 - He always lives to make intercession for us
        • Jesus is active in Heaven right now as your High Priest!
        • ILL: Acts 7 - Stephen being stoned saw Jesus
          • What was Jesus doing?
          • "Standing" at the right hand of God (not sitting)
          • Shows he was concerned for Stephen
        • What effect knowing Christ's continuing High Priestly work has
          • Not knowing it caused the Hebrews to back-slide
          • Knowing would give great encouragement, confidence, and assurance
          • Knowing it gives Strength to hold fast your confession and confidence
  4. Yet here these Hebrews were, not understanding Jesus' continuing work for them in the PRESENT!
    1. They were sliding back into Judaism, (still member of synagogue, passover, etc.)
    2. They were trying to be God's people WITHOUT CHRIST!
    3. Problem: You can’t draw near to God without Christ!
      1. 4:14-16 - Hold fast our confession and “draw near”
      2. 6:20 - He is the forerunner (have to follow him to “draw near”)
      3. 7:19 - We can “draw near” only through HIS priesthood
      4. 7:25 - able to save forever those who “draw near” to God through Him
    4. They probably thought they were still serving God, but were not!
  5. The same thing can happen to us
    1. You get tired of waiting and waiting (start losing your assurance)
    2. Stop paying attention, start drifting away, start doubting
    3. You stop holding fast your confession
      1. You don’t read (you stop struggling with the text)
      2. You don’t make decisions based on GOD’s desire (stop struggling with self)
      3. you begin to make a secret of your faith at work
    4. Yet you still come to church once in awhile, so like the Hebrews probably did, you think you are still doing alright.
    5. If this is the case you are on the slippery slope, and can completely fall away
  6. You can’t draw near to God without Christ any more than the Hebrews couldn’t


  1. Yes Jesus is a great High Preist, the greatest there is
  2. He still lives today, and he is making intercession for you today
  3. He wants you to draw near to God
    1. That means you hold fast your confession
    2. That means pressing on to maturity
    3. That means wrestling with the text
    4. That means wrestling with yourself
  4. If you get tired, discouraged, take courage, remember, Jesus is interceeding for you.
  5. He has done everything he can, the rest is up to you