How Is Jesus Your Perfect Prophet, Priest, and King?
As citizens of earthly countries we often look forward to celebrating national holidays. Holidays like the Fourth of July for example are times for us to remember people who did positive things for our country or sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Yet, sometimes we forget that we are citizens or a heavenly kingdom. God gives us a special day each week to celebrate our heavenly citizenship, the freedom from sin and death and the One who won that salvation for us by his life, death, and resurrection.
Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin and rose because he was perfectly righteous and defeated sin and death.
In the very beginning of history, man was made to love and serve God and to be faithful rulers of his creation, speakers of God’s truth, and guards of the garden. If Adam and Eve had done this faithfully, they would have earned eternal life for themselves and all their subsequent children (i.e. the whole human race).
Yet, instead of loving God and ruling the creation as vice-regents for God, they listened to and followed God’s enemy (Satan) and brought the curse of spiritual and physical death upon themselves and humankind. This state of spiritual death made it impossible for humankind to save themselves from God’s just wrath against sin. They needed a savior. You and I are sinners in need of saving. We cannot save ourselves.
God must be the one to save a people unto eternal life.
With humankind unable to save itself, God must be the one to save a people unto eternal life. The first glimpse we get of a promised savior is in Genesis 3:15. God tells Eve that her offspring will destroy Satan and save humankind. The Bible expounds on this promise to Eve, revealing more and more clues about what kind of offspring born will be able to destroy Satan and save us.
The narratives in the Bible show us what kind of savior we need. The characters often positively or negatively demonstrate what type of savior for whom we are waiting. The prophets, priests, and kings of the Old Testament pointed forward to a person who would be the perfect prophet, priest and king on our behalf.
The Old Testament examples all had faults of one kind or another. The prophet Isaiah reveals more information about the suffering servant of the Lord who will save God’s people. When we get to the New Testament, we meet the one person who can do all that the Old Testament examples were supposed to do but could not. Jesus is the perfect prophet, priest and king and faithful servant of God.
How is Jesus the perfect prophet, priest and king?
Prophet: Jesus faithfully spoke God’s word to the people of Israel. He was a faithful messenger of God. He taught during his earthy ministry of the one way to be reconciled to God—through faith in himself. He spoke judgment against those who would not listen to God’s Word and mercy to those who trusted God for salvation. Even though the religious leaders of the time hated Jesus, as a faithful prophet he kept teaching God’s truth and pointing people to himself—God’s Savior for his people.
Priest: Priests in the Mosaic Covenant offered sacrifices on behalf of the Israelite people for their sins. The author of Hebrews teaches us that Jesus is our Hight Priest. He offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins and now intercedes on our behalf before the throne of God in Heaven (Heb. 5:1-7). Unlike the Old Testament priests who had to keep offering sacrifices because of the sacrifices’ insufficiency to cleanse us from sin, Christ Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for sin, and thus he only had to make one sacrifice for sin (Heb. 7:25-27; Rom 8:34). Jesus was perfectly holy and righteous and took the punishment we deserved in order that we might be forgiven of our sins and made right before God.
King: Fallen humankind needs a champion. We need someone to defeat evil, sin, and death on our behalf. We also need protection from sin and those who would seek to harm us. Humans need a king, and the only perfect king is Christ. He loves his people so much that he became man so he could die for their sins and defeat death (1 Cor. 15:20-26; Is. 53:5).
By his Holy Spirit, Jesus helps us to fight against sin in our lives and defends us from the evil one because he has delivered us from bondage to sin and Satan (Rom. 6:6) and will not let us belong to any other except himself. Christians are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, and one day all evil will also be defeated when Christ comes again to reign forever.
This Prophet-Priest-King-Savior is alive and knows your name.
The resurrection is wonderful news because our Savior is alive (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Because Jesus has conquered death, we will also conquer death through him. Just as he has a new resurrection body, so will we one day (Rom. 6:5). Just as he is without sin, so will we one day be without sin.
Just as Jesus has perfect fellowship with the Father, so one day we will live in perfect fellowship with our heavenly Father, experiencing the blessing of his presence in a greater, fuller way (1 Cor. 13:12). This future glorification is a wonderful thing to which we look forward with great hope and confidence.
Every Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
Every Sunday is a special holiday that brings to mind the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and his glorious defeat of sin and death. The apostles realized the significance of Jesus’ resurrection and therefore changed the day of rest where we worship the Lord from Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath) to Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead. Celebrate weekly Jesus’ powerful work on your behalf by thanking him for his life and death for you, worshipping him with fellow believers, and looking forward to your own bodily resurrection and final glorification.
Ayrian Yasar is associate editor of Beautiful Christian Life.
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