(The Four-Fold Superiority of Christ’s Priesthood)
The purpose of a priesthood is to reconcile man to God. The priesthood under Levi was unable to do this. It pointed to the priesthood that could do this (the priesthood of Jesus Christ himself).
11. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12. For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
The Old Testament priesthood within the tribe of Levi was powerless to reconcile sinful man to a holy God. Therefore another kind of priesthood replaced it that did not come from the tribe of Levi.
13. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
15. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16. Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Jesus Christ was of the tribe of Judah (in a human sense) rather than the tribe of Levi. The superiority of Christ’s priesthood is evident in that it is associated with Christ’s endless life.
18. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Many today are hoping that by trying to keep the ten commandments they might be good enough to be acceptable to a sinless God, but this is a false hope:
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
20. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21. (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22. By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
The second reason for the superiority of Christ’s priesthood is that it was made with an oath of God.
23. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24. But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
The third reason for the superiority of Christ’s priesthood is that it never changes.
26. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27. Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
The priesthood of Jesus Christ is as far above the Levitical priesthood as the heavens are above the earth. The final reason given here for the superiority of Christ’s priesthood is that only one sacrifice was needed to reconcile us to God – the sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself.