Melchizedek, this shadowy figure from the Old Testament (Genesis 14; Psalm 110), and enlarged for our understanding in the New Testament (Hebrews 7), points to a wonderful combination of qualities found in Christ. From the shadow of Melchizedek we move to the substance of Christ.
First of all, he is both King of Righteousness (the meaning of the Hebrew compound melech and zedek) and King of Peace (shalom, or, salem), perhaps related to Jerusalem centuries before it became Israel's capital. But how is it that righteousness and peace meet? The demands of righteousness seem to result, not in peace, but in justice and wrath against all offenders. These words from Psalm 85 beautifully express how this combination of qualities will meet and agree in Christ:
“Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed
each other. Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down
(Psalms 85:10–11 NAS95)
Second, we find that Melchizedek is both King and Priest. This is unlike Aaron from the tribe of Levi, who was a priest but never a king. And this is unlike David from the tribe of Judah, who was a king but never a priest. But now, pointing ahead to Christ, we find one who as priest can come to our aid in our deepest problems, and as a king fulfill our best dreams.
Finally, we find one whose feet treads the dust of earth even though his first and foremost relationship is with "the Most High God." Yes, Jesus embraced man's humanity. But he is not just like me. He is the second Person of the Godhead. He is both God and Man. I may at times prefer someone who is at my level, but what I need is someone who is not enslaved by my same situation. Jesus, though a friend of sinners, is the eternal Son of God.