January 6 – January 13

Friday, January 6

Matthew 2:1-12: There is an important literary correspondence between Matthew’s Christmas story of the Magi and his account of the Great Commission; namely, the theme of the Church’s universal calling. Whereas Matthew ends his story with the Apostles’ being sent forth with the command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (28:19), he begins his whole account with a kind of foreshadowing of that final mission by the arrival of the Magi, those wise searchers from the East who come to adore the newborn King of Israel. These two passages, then, thus embrace Matthew’s entire story of Jesus.

The very purpose of the Great Commission is to transform the whole of humanity as the rightful heirs of the Magi. Like the stars themselves, the Apostles are sent forth to lead all nations into that path first followed by the wise men from the East.

Indeed, St. Paul compared the Apostles to those very heavens that “declare the glory of God,” quoting in their regard the Psalmist’s affirmation that “Their line has gone out through all the earth, / And their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 18[19]:4; Romans 10:18). The stars and the Apostles proclaim the same universal message, and that message is the Gospel.

These Magi have come to the Messiah, moreover, precisely because they are star-watchers. “For we have seen His star in the East,” they affirm, “and have come to worship [or adore] Him” (Matthew 2:2).

Likewise, the mission of the Apostles is to bring all nations even unto Bethlehem, that “house of the Bread” (for such is the meaning of “Bethlehem”), where all who eat the one loaf are one body in Christ, to join with the Magi in their eternal adoration.

This adoration takes place within the “house,” which is the Church formed by those who break and share the one Bread: “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped [or adored] Him” (Matthew 2:11).

That is to say, when the Magi entered the house, they found what we all find portrayed on a central icon up near the altar, the mother holding and presenting the Child for the adoration of those who have followed the star into the house of the Bread.

For this reason, it was entirely proper that the Apostles, as they were being commissioned for the great work of universal evangelism, should manifest in their very posture the Christward adoration which is the final goal of that evangelism (Matthew 28:9).

Finally, while the Magi were instructed by what they read in those heavens that declare the glory of God, they did not pursue their quest among the stars but upon the earth. They found the answer to their quest, that is to say, in a particular place and at a particular time. They accepted the spatial/temporal, fleshly limitations that God Himself assumed.

Saturday, January 7

Luke 3:21-38: When the subscriber to these notes studied Luke’s account of Jesus’ baptism here days ago, he may have noticed a detail peculiar to the Third Gospel; namely, Jesus’ baptism is not isolated from that of the other people. Luke began, “. . . when all the people were baptized . . .” The evangelist’s stress on this point indicates Jesus’ solidarity with the rest of humanity.

This emphasis is important to Luke’s theology of the Incarnation. In the immediate context, Jesus’ organic solidarity with the human race is addressed by Luke’s inclusion, immediately after the baptism, of the Savior’s genealogy, in which his ancestry is traced all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:23-38). In other words, the mention of “all the people,” in his baptismal scene, pertains to Luke’s larger interest in the humanity of Jesus: He is at one with the whole human race, descended from the fallen Adam.

Hebrews 5:11-14: These verses of Hebrews recognize a distinction well known in moral philosophy—the distinction between the milk of the beginner and the solid food of the proficient.

The Christian begins with mild teaching: doctrines easy to digest, the simple doctrines of the catechism. At the beginning of the next chapter our author gives a list of these: “The foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”

There are examples of this simple catechesis in the New Testament. For instance,

(blockquote>Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).

In this text there is elementary teaching about Christian Baptism, in the course of which it is distinguished from John’s baptism of repentance. This teaching is what Hebrews 6 refers to. Another example is found in Acts 19:1-6, about baptism and the laying-on of hands, another theme to which Hebrews refers. Such things are called “milk”; they form the Christians’ introductory food.

Both Paul and Peter mention such “milk”. Thus, we read in First Corinthians, “I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able” (3:1-2). And Saint Peter wrote, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, unto salvation “ (1 Peter 2:2-3).

If Christians spend their whole lives consuming baby food, however, they will eventually grow anemic. Indeed, such spiritual anemia is not uncommon. It is not rare to find Christians who have done no serious study of the Christian faith after age 12. Such Christians are no longer infants; they are malnourished—even starving—adults, whose spiritually empty bellies are swollen with famine. This is a serious and widespread pastoral problem.

St. Paul warns the Corinthians: “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).

For a Christian, a day without Bible study can be written off as a wasted day. We know that during his whole time at Ephesus, St. Paul taught Christian doctrine to his Ephesians every single day. When Paul and the other Christians were expelled from the synagogue, St. Luke tells us, “he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, discoursing daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:9-10). The great Fathers of the Church followed suit, from John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria, through Gregory Palamas, all the way to Alexandr Men. Daily instruction in the Sacred Scriptures is the long tradition of the Church, very much for reasons similar to those prompting us to eat daily meals.

Sunday, January 8

John 2:1-12: The miracle at Cana, narrated in a story unique to John, apparently took place shortly after Jesus' forty-day fast in the wilderness. About that time and, it would seem, subsequent to the arrest of John the Baptist, "Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom" (Mark 1:14). One of the villages in Galilee was Cana.

Although the sequence in John's early chapters is notoriously difficult to accommodate to the chronology of the other gospels, he does indicate that Jesus visited Cana after the calling of the first disciples and prior to the larger ministry at Capernaum.

The circumstances of Jesus' visit are not too difficult to imagine: Traveling north, he arrived first at his mother's home at Nazareth, nine miles south of Cana. He was accompanied by his earliest followers, one of whom was Nathaniel, a man who actually hailed from Cana (John (21:2).

Although now and then a regional rivalry between Nazareth and Cana prompted the citizens of one village to disparage the merits of the other (John 1:46), we are probably right to think such banter benign. The two places were doubtless linked—along with neighboring Bethsaida (1:41-45)—by numerous friendships, and we know that Jesus visited Cana more than once (4:46).

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Mary was invited to a wedding in that village. Indeed, John begins his story by noting her presence there (John 2:1). Nor is it extravagant to imagine she may have gone to Cana early in order to assist with the preparations.

At least, this would reasonably explain why John separates her presence in Cana from the invitation extended to Jesus and his disciples. More than one reader has gained the impression that Jesus and his friends, newly arrived at Nazareth, may have been something of an afterthought on the Cana guest list. In turn, this sudden influx of extra visitors may explain why, during the course of the celebration, the wine ran short!

If—as I guess—Mary assisted in the wedding preparations, it is not surprising that she, it was, who noticed the wine shortage. Indeed, during the several days of feasting, this helpful wedding guest may occasionally have cast a wary eye at the beverage supply, growing a tad alarmed at its steady decline. At last it was gone, and Mary determined to speak with her son.

What prompted the mother of Jesus to take this step? What did she expect? John does not say, and Mary's actual expectation remains one of the genuine mysteries of the story.

This does not mean, however, that we are totally at sea on the matter. We do know the substance of a message Mary received from an angel more than thirty years earlier:

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest . . . therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:31-32, 35).

Moreover, the birth and infant life of Jesus were attended by extraordinary circumstances. In addition, Mary had heard her son—from tender years—speak of God as "my Father" (Luke 2:49).

How did Mary understand all these things? It is not at all clear that she did understand. At least, it would be silly to suppose that she thought of Jesus in formal creedal terms. Mary's knowledge of Jesus was not of this dogmatic sort. It was, first of all, a mother's knowledge of her child, especially a child who had lived with her well into adulthood.

There was surely more, as well: It would be wrong to imagine that when the Holy Spirit, "the power of the Highest," descended upon her to effect the conception of Jesus, the Spirit intended this decent as a transitory visit.

Mary was not just a temporary or purely physical conduit of the Incarnation. The relationship between Jesus and his mother was transpersonal and transcendent to biology. She was truly the mother, and not simply the “bearer,” of God's Son. When, during her pregnancy, she declared, "He who is mighty has done great things for me" (Luke 1:49), she was aware of at least this much. Day by day she measured, and now continued to measure, what this meant. If, then, she knew Jesus at all—if being the mother of God's Son meant anything—it certainly meant she was entitled to speak to him about a shortage of wine.

Monday, January 9

Luke 4:1-13: Whereas Matthew says simply, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit,” Luke expands the account to read,

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

In the portrayal of Jesus “filled with the Holy Spirit,” we discern Luke’s particular attention to this theme. The Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness is the same Spirit that led old Simeon to the Temple (Luke 2:27) and will, in due course, guide the missionary journeys of the apostles (Acts 8:29; 16:6-7). The description of Jesus as “filled with the Holy Spirit” repeats what Luke has already written of John the Baptist (1:15), Elizabeth (1:41), and Zachary (1:67). He will also use this expression of those in the upper room on Pentecost (Acts 2:4), Simon Peter (4:8), the church at prayer (4:31), Stephen (6:3, 5; 7:55), Barnabas (11:24), and Paul (13:9).

Luke’s order of the temptations—with the scene at the Temple in the position of finality—reflects the dominance of the Temple in Luke’s Gospel. Luke both begins this work (Luke 1:9) and ends it (24:53) in the Temple. Luke’s infancy narrative culminates in the Temple (2:46). Jerusalem, for Luke, is the place of finality. Only in Luke do we read that Jesus “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51; cf. 13:22; 17:11; 18:31).

Because each of these temptations seems to be dismissed so quickly, the reader will perhaps not pause to consider that they really were temptations. That is to say, Jesus really was hungry; Jesus really did feel the attraction of worldly power. He was tempted, insists the New Testament, “as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), and the Gospel accounts of his experience were written down so that we might know that our high priest “can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness” (Hebrews 5:3).

The temptations of Jesus are told with an eye to Israel’s desert experience. Both Matthew and Luke, in spite of differently arranging their narrative sequences, apparently relied on a common source, according to which the Savior quoted the Book of Deuteronomy in response to each of the three temptations. This sustained appeal to the final book of the Torah—invoked as a weapon to resist temptation—summons the memory of Israel's moral failings during its forty years of desert wandering.

The immediate context of the two biblical accounts furthers this purpose: The parallel between Jesus’ baptism and the passage through the Red Sea is followed immediately by the correspondence between the temptations of Jesus and Israel in the desert. (Mark also adheres to this sequence.)

Let us limit our attention to the Lukan narrative sequence:

Jesus meets the first temptation—“If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread”—by declaring, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” This verse is lifted from the middle of Deuteronomy 8:1-6, which refers to ancient Israel’s murmuring at the loss of their (alleged) better diet in Egypt (Exodus 16; Numbers 11).

Jesus answers the second temptation—the promise of world domination in exchange for fealty to Satan—by affirming, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” This verse appears within Deuteronomy 6:10-15, in reference to Israel’s repeated disposition to seek temporary advantage by worshipping alien gods (Deuteronomy 12:30-31; Exodus 23:23-33).

Jesus responds to the third temptation—“Throw yourself down from here”—by proclaiming, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” This text, Deuteronomy 6:16, refers to Israel’s constant disposition to tempt the Lord in the desert (cf. Exodus 17:1-7).

In all his temptations, then, the faithful response of Jesus is placed in direct contrast to Israel’s infidelity during those forty sinful years of wandering.

Tuesday, January 10

Luke 4:14-30: Here we have Luke’s very solemn, detailed description of Jesus’ first sermon. When the author earlier wrote, “Jesus increased in wisdom” (2:52), he not only stated a fact; he also initiated a line of reflection, in the light of which to assess other facts—particular events—in the life and ministry of Jesus: he grew and matured. Luke, throughout his narrative, invites us to observe the Savior’s continuing growth in wisdom, and there is clear evidence of it here in the event at Nazareth.

Up to this point in Jesus’ public ministry—although we know that “he taught in their synagogues” (Luke 4:15)—there has been no detailed description of his teaching. It is in the synagogue scene at Nazareth that we find the full programmatic format of Jesus ministry: preaching the Gospel, healing the blind, liberating those in bondage, and relieving the various afflictions of the oppressed. This Isaian text serves as a preview of what, in the course of Luke’s account, will soon come to pass.

Most striking about this appeal to Isaiah is the narrative “voice”——he who is speaking. By declaring, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” Jesus identifies himself as the real “voice”—the “me”—of the Isaian text: “He has anointed me.”

This identification of the speaker is given “from within”: Jesus recognizes himself as the voice speaking the words of the prophecy. The inspired Scripture becomes the medium of Jesus’ self-reflection. He measures his ministry and calling—he knows God’s will for him—through his self-awareness expressed in the inspired words of the Prophet. This is not an external semantic reference, an objectified fact, but the expression of an immediate self-awareness.

The key to this scene is conveyed in the opening line of the Isaian text: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me [ep’ eme].” Luke, in his description of the Savior’s baptism, had indicated how Jesus came to know himself as the “me” in this prophecy: “And the Holy Spirit, in bodily form like a dove, came down upon him [ep’ avton].” It was in the Holy Spirit’s descent upon Jesus, we recall, that the Father addressed him as “you” and “Son”: “You are My beloved Son; in you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).

When the Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism, something changed. It was an event, with a before and after. Of course, Jesus already is conscious of himself as God’s Son (cf. Luke 2:49), but this new experience at his baptism was decisive; it created, in his life, a then and now. He grew, he increased, through this experience, and, when he went through it, his family and friends recognized that something truly unique had happened to him. Indeed, they were disturbed by his new behavior.

This personal experience of the Spirit’s descent—to confirm the testimony of the Father’s address—was integral to Jesus’ increase in wisdom. By reason of that personal experience of the Father and the Holy Spirit, he recognized himself as the “me” in the Isaian prophecy—not as an objective fact, but as component of his subjective being. For this reason Jesus was able to proclaim that prophecy in the synagogue, not just as an ancient record, but as the divine message delivered to Israel in the here and now: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” In his proclamation, Jesus takes personal possession of the prophecy and assumes the full, immediate burden of its message. He is the bearer of God’s word to Israel.

No one else in the world could read the prophecy as Jesus did, claiming complete and internal ownership of it. Luke implies that his hearers in the synagogue sensed the difference, inasmuch as “the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him.” This stunning description captures the full drama of the moment—Jesus, self-disclosure—the existential presentation of himself to Israel through the words of prophecy: “me,” “today.”

It seems important to consider the passage of time with respect to this event: During the interval separating the Lord’s baptism and this later scene in the synagogue—a couple of months?—the reader senses Jesus’ unseen growth in wisdom. Between the two events, the “wisdom” of the first event has “increased,” to attain the further maturity revealed in the second.

During that interval, Luke informs us, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:14 emphasis added). This reference to “the power of the Spirit” serves to connect these two dramatic Spirit-events in the maturing self-understanding of Jesus: his baptism and the reading of Isaiah at Nazareth.

Wednesday, January 11

Luke 4:31-37: The demons learned something from the experience of tempting Jesus. Through these temptations, the premise of the hypothesis “If you are God’s Son” was established. Although the dark agencies are not really sure what this predication means, they do know it to be true.

Thus, when Jesus begins, very soon, to exorcize them from human souls, the demons have a clearer sense of what they are up against: “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

Since Jesus himself, however, was not yet prepared to proclaim his own identity in public, it was necessary for him to hush up these demons: “Be quiet, and come out of him!”

The reference to “power” in yesterday’s Gospel reading is illustrated in today’s. Jesus drives out the demons with a mere word. This abruptness is consistent with Jesus’ other miracles. The gospels never portray him as a thaumaturge of the sort we find among the biblical prophets. If I were to use corresponding opposite adjectives to summarize the difference between Jesus and the biblical thaumaturges, the words that come to mind would be “arduous” and “easy.”

That is to say, those miracles that seem to take a certain measure of effort among the wonder-workers appear to be effortless in the case of Jesus. Elijah, for instance, prays for some time, and it starts to rain (1 Kings 18:41-45), whereas Jesus instantly stops a storm without a single syllable of prayer (Luke 8:22-25).

Or let us compare Elijah’s raising of the widow’s son to Jesus’ raising of Jairus’s daughter. In that earlier miracle, the prophet took the body, prayed over it, and enacted a ritual of petition for the child’s revival (1 Kings 17:17-24). In the case of Jairus’s little girl, on the other hand, Jesus made no petition: “He took the child by the hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha, kum,’ which is translated, ‘Darling, I say to you, arise’” (Mark 5:41).

The same is true in each of the other two cases where Jesus raised someone from the dead: Lazarus and the son of the widow of Nain. In each case, Jesus addressed the dead person with authority. There is more than a prophet here!

Thursday, January 12

Hebrews 6:13-20: Christian theology insists that the true anchor is hope. This is the reason the depiction of the anchor appears everywhere in Christian art. Alone among the peoples of the Greco-Roman world, the early believers knew the origin of stability and the source of hope. In the words of this text, they “laid hold” on the hope set before them. This is why the anchor—along with the cross and the fish—is portrayed everywhere in the Christian catacombs. It symbolized the hope that held Christians in place in the midst of a tempestuous and unstable world. Near the end of the second century, Clement of Alexandria mentioned the anchor as one of the few symbols a Christian might legitimately have on a ring on his finger.

I submit that that book was also prophetic, inasmuch as the final result of Ahab’s voyage foreshadowed the dreadful terrible international tragedy known as the 20th century, when more people died of starvation and violence than in all other periods of history put together.

Acting as foils to the maniacal Captain Ahab were the three mates of the Pequod: The first mate, Starbuck, was a quiet, conservative Christian, who he relied on his faith to determine his actions and interpretations of events. The second mate, Stubb, was a sort of fatalist, persuaded that things happen as they are supposed to, so there was little that he could do about it. The third mate, Flask, avoided all such questions and simply enjoyed life, especially the excitement of hunting whales.

Near the end of this long story, there was a brief discussion between Stubb and Flask about anchors. In the course of that discussion, Stubb inquired, “I wonder, Flask, if the world in anchored anywhere; if she is, she swings with an uncommon long cable, though.” I submit that the entire history of philosophy in the 19th century consisted in various attempts to answer that question.

It is the same question I want to consider today: Is the world anchored anywhere? We will address this question under three headings.

The first is hope. In response to the query Stubb put to Flask—“I wonder if the world in anchored anywhere”—today’s epistle answers, “This [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters behind the veil, where the forerunner has for us entered—Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Second, Hebrews describes this anchor of hope as “firm and secure”—asphale kai bebaia. The first of these adjectives, asphale—which means “firm”—is the root of our English word “asphalt.” As an adverb we find it in the first Christian sermon: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly [asphale] that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The second adjective describing this anchor of hope is bebaia, meaning “secure.” Our author used it earlier to describe the Christian conviction: “we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence [bebaia] to the end” (3:14).

The entire efficacy of the anchor depends on the ship’s not losing contact with it. Hope cannot be hypothetical. We must be tied to it.

Third, the anchor here in Hebrews 6 is actually a kedge, an anchor used to advance the movement of a vessel and maintain its direction. This process, in fact, is called kedging. To kedge a vessel is to place the anchor at some distance from the ship and pull towards it. A kedge anchor is carried out in a suitable direction by a tender or a boat to enable the ship to be winched into a particular heading and to be held steady against a tide or obstructing current. The kedge anchor holds the vessel fast in the proper direction. Sailing ships use the kedge anchor when becalmed or drifting.

Observe in this text from Hebrews that the anchor of hope has already been carried out ahead of us. It is already “behind the veil, where the forerunner has for us entered.” Jesus is this anchor. He has already gone where we hope to go. We maintain our proper direction by pulling on Him, keeping the prow of the ship ever pointed toward Him.

Let me suggest that fervent and constant prayer is the winch we use to maintain our direction and advance our course. That by which we progress is also that by which we maintain our true course. It is the hawser by which we are joined to Christ.

Otherwise, we will lose our sense of direction; indeed, this is the danger envisaged all through Hebrews.

So let there be no slack in the line. The anchor itself is secure. All we need to do is pull on it through prayer. By constant prayer and communion with Christ we guarantee our voyage will be steadfast and secure.

Friday, January 13

Hebrews 7:1-10: One of the most obvious features of the Bible—and most noticeable to its new readers—is the presence of what are called the “begats.” We are told, for instance, that Adam begat Cain and Abel, that Joshua begat Eleazar, that Hezron begat Pheres, and so forth.

These “begats” are not just occasional parts of Holy Scripture. Not only are they sometimes lumped into lost lists, but they likewise appear to provide continuity to the Bible’s narrative structure.

Thus, the uninitiated reader, informed that the Holy Scriptures are very interesting and important, comes to Genesis 5, for instance, rather early in his pursuit of God’s Word. Here he finds his first list of begats. Unaware that this is only the first of many such parts, he plods on and manages to finish chapter 5. Interest in the story picks up for the next four chapters, which deal with Noah and the Flood, but then he arrives at Genesis 10, which is simply one, long, solid list of begats. It is arguable that many a newcomer to the Bible completely breaks down at this point, never getting past chapter 10.

It seems that many such readers, faced with this dilemma, decide to jump ahead to the New Testament, perhaps with the resolve to come back to the Old Testament at a later date. The person who takes this step, however, suddenly finds himself with the first chapter of Matthew, which commences with a list of 42 more begats. Many early efforts to read Holy Scripture simply die and are buried at that point, and the Bible is closed forever.

Fortunately, this pattern among new Bible-readers is not universal, and some brave souls do manage to survive the begats of Genesis 10. For such as these, it must come as something of a relief to arrive at Genesis 14 and discover a character who is not on a list of begats.

His name is Melchizedek, and he appears as though out of nowhere: “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). We are not told where Melchizedek came from, nor does he ever again appear in the biblical narrative; there is not a word about his death or his descendents. He shows himself just this brief moment, but in this brief moment he is described as greater than Abraham: “Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.” In the person of Abraham, even the Old Testament priesthood of Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek.

Thus, Melchizedek “without father, without mother, without begats, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”

Melchizedek’s kingship and priesthood stand outside the begats. The very brevity of his appearance in the biblical story—which forms but an instant in the narrative, and not an element of sequence—becomes a symbol of eternity, inasmuch as eternity is an unending “now,” an instant without sequence. Our experience of eternity in this world is always an instant—a “now”—not a sequence. Thus, the “now-ness” of Melchizedek’s kingship and priesthood represents the eternal “today” of the sonship of Christ: “ You are My Son, / Today I have begotten You” (Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 5:5).