December 11, 2010

Homily on Melchizedek, the King and Priest

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:17, 21).

Oh, how many hidden and faithful servants does the Lord have who serve Him day and night! Oh, how many shining comets are seen by men to cross the starry heavens, which appear unexpectedly, glistening, and then are lost in the vastness of the universe, leaving only tales about them! The righteous Abraham, with his descendants, is known to us like the starry heavens over our heads, but Melchizedek is known to us like a shining comet, which suddenly appeared, was bowed down to us by the starry heavens, and was again hidden in the unknown.

Who is this Melchizedek? "The King of Salem" … "the priest of the Most-high God" (Genesis 14:18). He brought bread and wine to Abraham; he blessed Abraham, and Abraham gave him one-tenth of all that was his. When Abraham was so greatly blessed by God, how much more blessed was he who blessed Abraham? Oh, how unfathomable are the depths of God's providence! A man's thought extends from today until tomorrow, but the thought of God extends to the very end of time.

According to the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, Melchizedek prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Hebrews 7:10). For while the forefather Abraham was a wonderful and God-pleasing peasant, this Melchizedek was both a king and priest, as our Lord is King and Priest. Melchizedek offered Abraham bread and wine, and our Lord offered His Body and Blood to the entire human race. Abraham bowed down to Melchizedek and gave him a willing tribute. Abraham's true descendants, the Christians, bow down to the Lord Jesus and offer Him their willing sacrifice, a gift in return for a gift, the gift of His Body and Blood on the Cross. "And who shall declare His generation?" (Isaiah 53:8). This refers to both Christ and Melchisedek.

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it and was glad" (John 8:56). Thus spoke the Lord to the Jews. How did Abraham see it? He saw it in the spirit. God revealed it to him, and he also saw the prefiguration of Christ in this glorious and wonderful Melchizedek, king, priest and servant of the Most-high God.

O Lord Jesus, bless us also as Thou didst bless Thy faithful servants, Melchizedek and Abraham. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.