wk 2 | Prophet, Priest, and King
Read Revelation 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
Does who you were in the past define who you are now? In a way, it kind of does. It’s neat moving back to my hometown and being encountered with my past. I took Hudson to baseball practice yesterday and a buddy I played baseball with from the time I was Hudson’s age was there with his child. It was neat remembering the past, because it matters and has led to who I am now. It’s much the same with the Old Testament and its relationship with the New Testament.
The Old Testament points to the New Testament. Everything that happened in the Old Testament has deeper meaning in the New Testament. In Jesus, everything in the Old Testament finds its fulfillment. So, in thinking through who Jesus is, it has long been taught that Jesus simultaneously holds the three offices that were the most important in the Old Testament. This isn’t just stuff for our head, theology to learn, all of this matters significantly to us. Especially in regards to our sin.
Prophet, Priest, and King.
Each of these offices were the most important offices held in the Old Testament. Each of these offices mattered, and each of these offices had a function, an important function. So, in thinking through who Jesus is, we need to think through what He does. How does He fulfil the duties of these offices? We will say that out of this threefold office, Jesus performs a threefold ministry.
Spoke God’s Word.
Prophets in the Old Testament did what? They spoke God’s Words. That’s how we have a large part of the Word of God. When referring to the Old Testament, the New Testament calls it the Law and the Prophets. So, prophets spoke God’s Words to the people. They were the mouthpiece of God.
Called for Repentance.
Prophets spoke words of indictment against the people for their sin (Isaiah 1:4). And they called the people to repentance (Isaiah 1:18).
Pronounced Pardon from God.
Prophets didn’t just pronounce God’s judgment, though that’s what it seems like they did most of the time. They pronounced God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace. Think about the minor prophet Jonah. He was called by God to speak God’s words of repentance to the people of Nineveh, but he didn’t want to. Why? Because he knew if they repented, God would relent. God would offer mercy and grace. And Jonah didn’t want that for them, but God did. And He does for you as well.
Mediated Between God and Man.
Priests were the mediators between God and man. Man is too sinful to approach God. Priests had to be set apart to bridge that gap. And how they did it was through sacrifices.
Offered Sacrifices for Sins.
As mediator, the High Priest would enter the Holy Place of the Temple, where God was, and offer a sacrifice to God on behalf of the people once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:34). He sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat “because of the uncleanness of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins” (Lev. 16:16). He did this year after year after year after year.
Ruled and Reigned for the Welfare of the People.
The purpose of kings was to establish peace, prosperity, and welfare of the people they ruled over. They were to protect them from enemies, lead their battles, and ensure that their needs could be met. King David was the greatest of these kings of the Old Testament. 2 Samuel 8:15 explains David this way: “David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people.” The Bible even calls him a man after God’s own heart.
So, you see, prophets, priests, and kings were essential and of utmost importance throughout the Old Testament, and what they did mattered incredibly. So, how is Jesus all three of these? If everything in the Old Testament is fulfilled and made clear in the New Testament, how does Jesus fulfil all three of these offices and ministries? He does so by being the threefold cure for our sin.
Jesus is the Word, preached repentance, and proclaimed our forgiveness for sin.
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Mark 1:14-15 – 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Colossians 1:13-14 – 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice for all our sin.
Hebrews 9:11-14 – 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Jesus has fought our battles and now rules in such a way that sin never can reign over us.
In asking the same question this series asks, in regards to the prophecies that the Messiah would come from and be like that great King David, hear this conversation with Jesus:
Matthew 22:42-45 – 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
Jesus here is telling them, “You are expecting a great King like David? You have no clue how far beyond David I am in my rule and reign.” Hear some more about His rule and reign:
Revelation 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
Revelation 19:16 – On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Jesus rules over all! He is sovereign over all! He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! No one compares!
This is about what is called the Lordship of Christ. What is the purpose of a King? To bring peace and welfare and flourishing. When we don’t submit to the authority and rule of the King of Kings, we are forsaking the welfare that His rule brings.
In thinking through these offices, ministries, and the cure for our sin, we must ask ourselves the question, is Jesus Savior of my sins and not Lord of my life?
Jesus is not just our prophet, who pronounces God’s rules and judgments when we break them. He pronounces God’s forgiveness and freedom. Jesus is not just our priest, who offers forgiveness of sins and cleanses us from all guilt for all time by the sacrifice of himself. He is also King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, and His rule and reign doesn’t just exist in heaven for all eternity, it exists right now with your heart and your life and your actions and your thoughts and your life either laid down in submission to Him or in opposition to His rule and reign over you. Jesus is prophet, priest, and king. For you. Will you submit to His rule and accept His pardon?