How Jesus is the Perfect Prophet, Priest, and King
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Think about the last team you were a part of maybe it was a sports team. You shared a common goal or purpose with other people. If you had an effective team then you, undoubtedly, also had good leadership.
My high school dance team had a goal: win state. It was as simple as that.
The work that went towards accomplishing that goal was anything but simple. Thousands of smaller goals had to be met first. It was a journey that spanned the course of a year and there were many distractions and hurdles along the way.
We needed someone to keep the vision in place and to keep the group moving forward. Officers were chosen to lead the team. The effective ones learned, soon enough, that being a leader really meant being a servant.
That was my first experience on a dance team. We didn’t win the state championship that year but I learned a lot about leadership and about working within a group.
Twenty-something years later, I found myself leading the booster club for my daughter’s dance team. The girls had the same goal, a state championship.
I watched closely and observed how the team was led.
They had a coach who knew the rules of the state dance association, inside and out. She knew what the judges were looking for and she knew what it would take to get the girls to perform at their highest level. She told the girls what they needed to hear and she pushed them to be their best even when it hurt.
There were other leaders who made it their purpose to care for dancers in ways that were more nurturing: preparing meals for them, providing gifts and treats, writing notes of encouragement, planning team bonding events, etc.
The team also needed to be funded. They needed someone to organize events that would bring in money. Volunteers had to be recruited to work at these events. They needed someone to run meetings, do the banking, the paperwork, the taxes, etc. I was one of those people.
All of those leadership roles were important and contributed to the success of the team. No single person could do everything perfectly, but working together, we met our goal. That year, the team won the state championship. It was exciting!
It’s not a perfect analogy, and it pales in significance, but when I read about three major offices of the people of Israel in the Old Testament: prophets, priests, and kings, I thought of my team experiences.
A team needs someone in leadership who is a stickler for the rules, who speaks the truth and motivates. They need someone advocating for the members and they need someone to take charge of the all the details required for administration.
I started thinking about God’s people as a team. The common goal being: God glorified.
These three offices of the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings foreshadowed Christ’s own work that he did for us.
Jesus was the fulfillment of these offices, the perfect prophet, priest, and king, working for our benefit, a servant leader.
Christ as Prophet
A prophet is someone who reveals God to us and speaks to us the Word of God.
Jesus is unlike the other prophets in that he is more than a messenger. He is the source of revelation. He’s the one about whom the prophecies in the Old Testament were made.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2
Christ as Priest
Old Testament priests offered sacrifices, prayers, and praise to God on behalf of the people so that they would be made acceptable to come into God’s presence.
Jesus offered himself as the perfect sacrifice, on our behalf, by his work on the cross. He now leads us into God’s presence. Jesus also intercedes in prayer for us.
“There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
Christ as King
In the Old Testament, kings had authority to rule over the nation of Israel.
At his resurrection, Jesus was given authority over the church and over the universe.
“On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16
In light of these truths, how can we respond?
As Christians, we are called to imitate Christ in each of these roles (though in a subordinate way). When we proclaim the Gospel, we are operating in a “prophetic” role. In our role as priests, we are invited to enter into the presence of God and to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter calls us “a royal priesthood.” And finally, we have been given a degree of authority over evil:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
When Christ returns, we will more fully operate in our roles as prophets, priests, and kings, for all eternity. Jesus, though, is, and always will be, the ultimate prophet, priest, and king.
“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Revelation 3:21
It’s an amazing thing to be called a child of God. We have been given so much more than our human understanding can even fathom- and it is all because of Jesus. Jesus, God’s perfect son, brings glory to the Father. Christ became man so that he could show us how to join the team.
Let’s keep the goal in mind: to God be all glory.
Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenets of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
Linking up with Deb Wolf at #faithandfriends (Friday), #GraceandTruth (Friday), Holly Gerth at #coffeeforyourheart (Wednesday), Susanne Eller at #livefreeThursday, Carmen at #salt&light (Thursday), Kelly at #RaRalinkup (Tuesday), and Lori at #Momentsofhope (Monday)