“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,”
Because the concept of Jesus being a high priest after the order of Melchizedek would be foreign to the Jewish brethren the writer of Hebrews feels a need to explain the connection of the two high priests and why the Levitical priesthood is not included. The Levitical priesthood and its special family of high priest had been the staple of Jewish life since the giving of the law on Sinai. The Jewish people knew no other priesthood, and the idea of a non-Levite priesthood would have been scandalous to them.
Melchizedek is unique in many ways. We notice the first two immediately. Melchizedek was, first of all, a king. Then he was a priest of God. This was an unusual circumstance in the ancient world and unheard of in the nation of Israel. Its importance becomes evident when the writer begins to compare Melchizedek and Jesus. Unlike a Levitical priest, Jesus was first a king, and then a priest of God.
We are introduced to Melchizedek in the story of Abraham. This mysterious personage comes on the scene as king and priest and is instantly recognized by Abraham as a special representative of God. Keep in mind that Abraham is considered the father of the Jewish nation and as such, is held in the highest esteem by the Jews. That Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek rather than the other way around is significant and was perhaps overlooked by the general population of Israel.
This blessing is the first major clue as to the importance of Melchizedek in the story we are reviewing. Blessings have a certain order, and much can be made from that order as our writer will point out.
Task for Today: Keep in mind who Melchizedek is and what he does. Compare this in your mind with Jesus as to who He is and what He does.