Heb 7:1-3,15-17; Ps 110:1-4; Mk 3:1-6
The Lord Jesus is a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek. He rules in the midst of his enemies. He rules over all human hearts. He intercedes for the hearts of his enemies that they may be released from hostility, hatred, and hardheartedness. Who are these enemies? Everyone, who refuses to seek the truth and grow in love, is an enemy of the Lord. The Father Almighty calls out to his Son Jesus: “Come sit at my right hand.” Christ the Lord has responded to this summons from all eternity. We too are invited to join the Eternal High Priest at the right hand of the LORD. Our footstool will be those who only seek to trip us up and delight to see us fall. The LORD has taken on our humanity so that we might take on his divinity. He wants to share with us princely power in holy splendor. He wants to share with us before the daystar shines, before the sun rises on the new day he wants us to shine with uncreated light. Indeed, the LORD Our God wants us to refresh those who are weary and find life burdensome with the dew of his refreshing presence. This is the Will of God—from this the LORD will not repent. He has summoned us to share in the priesthood of Christ, according to the order of Melchizedek. This order is the order of eternal life, a share in the very life of God that cannot be destroyed. It is the life that the Lord Jesus invited the man with the withered hand to experience in obedience to his command, “Stretch out your hand.”
With the Hebrew Converts to the Christian Way, we are reminded that our Father in Faith, Abraham, was blessed by a pagan priest, to whom he apportioned a tenth of his wealth after defeating the kings. Abraham recognizes the two-fold blessedness of Melchizedek who is both the king of Salem and the priest of God Most High. He can be referred to as a pagan priest because he had no ancestry or identity among those of the Covenant. Yet, he has a priesthood that is not unlike the Son of God, who is a priest forever. It is this uninherited priestly identity that these early believers saw as the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the same kind of priesthood all of us share in by virtue of our baptism into Christ. We, like Christ, are priest, prophet, and king. With the Lord Jesus we offer to the Father, the Most High God, a perfect sacrifice of praise. We, who have no share in the priesthood of Aaron or of Levi, do have a share in the priesthood of Melchizedek. The sacrifice of our lives is offered to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. It is this act of worship that brings the reign of peace into our hearts so that we can bring peace into our world.
The five wounds of the Lord Jesus is the only way that the Lord trains our hands for battle, war, struggle, and service. In today’s gospel Saint Mark relates the story of a love that is stronger than the giant’s weapons. The Son of David loves the man with the withered hand. The reckless courage of the Lord Jesus reveals that human suffering is
only a part of the human condition. Suffering, oppression, misery are not the end or the purpose of our lives. We are called forward in the assembly to trust the one who called us to trust that he will heal us and save us. The Lord Jesus does not hesitate to touch and heal the man with the withered hand even though it’s a Sabbath day. Even though his compassion is offensive to his brothers in the synagogue, the Lord Jesus reveals the Father’s love for the man with a withered hand and for the Pharisees. In Christ, the Father challenges them with the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” They refused to answer, and this stone cold silence angered the Lord Jesus. Their lack of compassion grieved his heart, but he did not cower in fear. Like his ancestor David the Lord Jesus stood up to those with giant egos and hardened hearts. This confrontation brought together the Herodians and the Pharisees. These two rival factions had something in common now, Jesus and his destruction. Everyone who hates, is loved by Christ, and it is his wounds that heal all hatred, bitterness, and hardness of heart. Indeed the crucified and risen Lord Jesus offers himself to us as constant companion and food for the journey home to our Father in the Holy Spirit.