Connections 10.24.2021: Reassuring Permanence

Screenshot taken from Queen Elizabeth II’s coronavirus broadcast, April 5, 2020

Hebrews 7:15-28

One day during lockdown last year, while I was on the phone with my mother, she asked me an unexpected question: Did you watch the queen’s speech?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had, earlier that day, delivered a special broadcast on the coronavirus pandemic to the people of Britain and the British Commonwealth of countries. In it, she addressed the isolation and fear that people have endured since the pandemic’s beginnings, and both commended and called for selfless compassion for others. “We will succeed,” she said, “and that success will belong to every one of us.” Finally, she reassured her viewers that this time of suffering is temporary, saying “We should take comfort that while may still have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

I found myself tearing up. I was moved, and did feel reassured, as I hadn’t been by other speeches by American leaders.

The queen has been head of her country for nearly 70 years. By contrast, American presidents come and go within 4 or 8 years. She has been a fixture of world leadership throughout the lifetimes of every person alive today, regardless of how much or little influence she had over people’s individual lives. When the queen says (though not in these words) that “This, too, shall pass,” we are inclined to believe her. After all, her life represents all that her country and the world has endured, from the Blitz bombings of London during WWII through to this current pandemic. She’s still here.

Of course, the queen is still a human being like the rest of us, and her life may be demanded from her at any time. Her husband of 73 years passed away a year after her coronavirus speech. Still, for much of the globe, she is as permanent a leader as we have ever had, and there is tremendous reassurance in that.

On this final week of our unit about Jesus’ role as high priest, we encounter a name many may not know: Melchizedek. We know little about him, but our passage today points out the important details.

  1. Melchizedek and Jesus are similar because each is both a king and a priest, and neither are descended from Aaron’s priestly line.
  2. Melchizedek and Jesus are different because Melchizedek died, but Jesus will be a king and priest forever.

God tried to reach God’s people Israel through other prophets, priests, kings, characters, signs, and events. These efforts were effective to varying degrees, and we can read about them in the first Testament of the Bible. But this is how we know that Jesus is superior to them all: the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus “holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever” (v. 24).

Christ’s role of priest endured even after his death, past his resurrection, and is still Jesus’ active role today, making “intercession” for those who approach God through Jesus (v. 25).

Permanence is reassuring. And the messages of such a leader are trustworthy. After all, Jesus is superior to all the priests and kings who came before him. And Jesus is perfect.

Discussion

  • When have you yearned for reassurance, and from where did that reassurance come?
  • What assurances do you long to hear from God today?
  • Who in your life do you have influence over? How can you be a trustworthy leader to that person or people?

Katie Cummings is the web editor of NextSunday Resources and editor of the Preaching the Word series (Smyth & Helwys). Her husband Tyler and their two cats live in Macon, GA.

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