THIS SERIES: A SEASON OF PREPARATION
Next week liturgical churches celebrate Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, through the events leading up to the Cross, and finishing with Resurrection Sunday. Whatever Christian tradition we are part of, it would be good to set aside some time over the next week to reflect on the most portentous period in God’s story… and in ours.
In Genesis 14 we read about the enigmatic King Melchizedek (which means the ‘King of Righteousness’), who was the King of Salem (Jerusalem—the city of peace’). Hebrews 7 describes him as ‘without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever’.
After Abraham had rescued Lot, the prisoner of an alliance of malevolent kings, the passage says that Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and blessed Abraham. Then, as was customary in those times, Abraham gave him a tenth of the spoils of war, representing his fealty, in recognition of Melchizedek as Overlord.
When one of his allies urged him to take some of the booty for himself, Abraham replied:
With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich’.
The simple meal Abraham shared with Melchizedek was a covenant meal, a prophetic declaration of a profound truth: ‘The Lord alone is my Provider’.
This story has added significance when read together with the events of Holy Week. Jesus is described as a ‘High Priest after the order of Melchizedek’ in Hebrews 7 and Psalm 110:4, His name means ‘God saves’ and He was both King of Righteousness and King of Peace—and He brought out bread and wine at the Last Supper. Throughout His ministry, He had clearly taught His followers to put their trust in the Father who would provide for them.
At the end of the week, Jesus would show them the ultimate provision. But first He entered Jerusalem on a donkey; the King of Peace coming to the City of Peace. And He proceeded to show anyone who was listening that He had come to establish a new order; the old had been merely a shadow:
A NEW COVENANT
It was no longer about man’s effort to climb up to God, but entirely about God’s provision. When Jesus ‘brought out bread and wine’ at the Passover meal, He, like Melchizedek, was sharing a covenant meal of provision and blessing with His disciples—and, amazingly, we get to share in it too.
So, when we break bread next week, let’s enter into the breath-taking provision of God in Christ Jesus, who has given us everything we need for life and godliness [2 Peter 1:3]. And let’s renew our commitment to give ourselves back to Him in return.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
You can read more about God's provision on these pages:
And in the blog series:
GOD’S COVENANT OF PROVISION
For more reflections on Eastertide see the blog series:
SEASON OF NEW BEGINNINGS
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[Photo credits: Daniel Gutko (flag); James Coleman (bread & wine); Pisit Heng(tomb);
Markus Winkler (typewriter) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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