In our last post we saw that Bera, King of Sodom was representative of his city and culture – while Abraham was a friend and representative of God – one who stood apart from the prevailing culture of his day, sometimes to his extreme cost.
But in the narrative another person appears – one who is as mysterious as he is significant – “Melchizedek” – “King of Salem” and “Priest of God”.
This mysterious person whose name, we are told, means – “King of Righteousness and “King of Peace” – met Abraham on his return from the defeat of the kings who had plundered Sodom. The narrative records that Melchizedek brought out “Bread and Wine” and also blessed Abraham.
This incident reveals something of the mystical roots of the Jewish and Christian faiths – something many in my Evangelical tradition struggle with. [On the opposite extreme there are today those who attempt to use the mystery of Melchizedek for weird and highly speculative theologies.]
While some attempt to identify Melchizedek as a historical figure – the Apostle Paul, writing to the early church, informs us that Melchizedek was in fact – “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life.” [Hebrews 7:2]. Paul also teaches that Jesus himself is a Priest in the order of Melchizedek [Hebrews 6:20]
It appears to me that Melchizedek The Priest [Genesis 14:18] and Jesus The High Priest [Hebrews 2:17] are synonymous.
Jesus, to us, as Melchizedek to Abraham, offers “Bread and Wine” [Genesis 14:18 & John 6:51 – 54]. As we eat this mystical food a relationship is formed – and we enter into the covenant promises made to Abraham [Galatians 3:29]. We become “His seed” – part of a “Holy Nation” [1 Peter 2:9] – one based of relationship – not tradition, nationality, affiliation or race. And it is in this relationship we stand today! But we are also called to stand as Abraham was – before the King of Sodom, and unashamedly – “Declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” [1 Peter 2:9].
The burning question is – where are such men and women today? In the light of what is happening at this moment in time, particularly in the USA where so many Evangelical leaders appear so ready to bow the knee before the King of Sodom, one wonders if there are any left who, with the spirit of Abraham will stand against the tide?