The Genesis account tells us only briefly of a rather mysterious figure, Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High (Gen. 14:17-24). But in the New Testament book of Hebrews, the writer makes much of the fact that Abraham, from whom the nation of Israel would descend, offered tithes to this man. Hebrews contends that the high priesthood of Jesus is based on the priesthood of Melchizedek, of whom we know little, and not Aaron of the tribe of Levi, of whom we know much.
Jesus is our Savior and He is our Priest.
God’s people have had priests before and even we, as Christians, are priests (2 Peter 2:9).
But Jesus is different (of course!).
His priesthood is paradoxical–you know, a seeming contradiction that provides depth and breadth of meaning.
On the one hand He is just like us. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
On the other hand, He’s nothing like us. “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26).
We need a Savior. We need a priest.
And in the same way that only Jesus could be our Savior, only He can be the Priest we need.
“But he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:24-25).