Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

The Offices of the Messiah

Jesus is the Messiah or Christ, that is, God's Anointed One. The Lord Jesus has three main offices, during three different times:-

Jesus as a Prophet

In the Bible, the prophetic office consists of five aspects. Let's look at these aspects in Jesus' life:-

Recording: He did not write any part of the Bible. Matthew, Mark, John and Luke recorded what he said and did.

Delivering Wisdom: The Lord Jesus preached extensively about how people ought to live. Some of his preaching specifically pertains to the kingdom that he will set up on earth, but all of it holds lessons for anyone who wants to please God. Some of his teachings, such as The Sermon on the Mount are well known classics.

Foretelling: Jesus did some foretelling.

Admonishing: Jesus did a lot of admonishing. He told the people of Israel that the kingdom prophesied by the Old Testament prophets was imminent, and so they should repent - turn to God (Matthew 3:2). He also told the people that he was the saviour from heaven - they had to believe on him (see John 6: 28 onwards, or John 3:1 onwards). Jesus also spent time teaching the people the meaning of the Old Testament law - that God was more concerned about the hearts of men than the lists of ceremonies that they kept. He denounced the religious and political leaders of his day for their hypocrisy and their preference for tradition over scripture. He communicated what God really was like, but he was largely rejected by the nation of Israel.

Revelation: "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father - he has declared him" - John 1:18.

While Moses had a lot of revelation from God, the Lord Jesus was THE revelation of God! Jesus had tremendous, far-reaching, new revelation (he only revealed glimpses of it, leaving it to the apostles to elaborate after he returned to heaven):-
  • The nation of Israel would be set aside in God's purposes (Luke 13:35) - albeit temporarily.
  • God would soon start a new project - the church (Matthew 16:18). This was God's purpose in making the universe!
  • The hope of the church is not to be the establishment of a kingdom on earth, but that the Lord Jesus would return to take the church out of the world to himself (John 14:1-3).
  • Before its proper establishment, his kingdom would assume a mysterious, counterfeit, form. This we see in the kingdom parables of Matthew 13. These parables are usually misinterpreted.
Jesus had substantial authentication as a prophet. Most of Jesus' prophetic ministry took place in Galilee,shown in the image.

Jesus as a priest

The Jewish leaders asked the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate to put Jesus to death (John 18:28). Although Pilate didn't find any fault in Jesus, he complied (as politicians often do). With this began Jesus' work as a high priest.

A priest is the opposite of a prophet. While a prophet represents God before man, a priest represents man before God. Man's fundamental problem in approaching God (who is holy) is his sinfulness. God has prescribed the solution: death by the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). The Cohens, or Levitical priests of the Old Testament therefore performed animal sacrifices in accordance with the instructions that God gave Moses - these instructions are recorded in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. After performing the animal sacrifice on the day of atonement, the high priest would go to the inner sanctuary in the tabernacle or temple, sprinkle the blood there, and pray for the people (Leviticus 16:11-19). If the priest came back alive, it meant that God had accepted him. When the priest returned from the sanctuary, he would bring blessings to the people from God (Numbers 6:22-27).

One day, a priest was unusually delayed in coming out from the sanctuary. The reason? An angel appeared to him, announcing the birth of John the Baptist, the fore-runner of the great high priest, Jesus Christ (see Luke 1:5 onwards).

The book of Hebrews describes Jesus' high priestly office; the writer takes pains to show how Jesus is superior to the Levitical priests (Hebrews 7:22-27).

After all is said and done, animal blood CANNOT atone for human sin (Hebrews 10:4). In fact, all the animal sacrifices were only symbols of Jesus' death on the cross!

Jesus therefore did not sacrifice any animals. But he himself died for our sins! He took it upon himself to pay the penalty for our sins by paying the price himself - death (1 Peter 2:24). If he failed, death would have its hold on him. Therefore, Jesus' resurrection from the death is the ultimate authentication of his high priestly office. Therefore, the resurrection is crucial to our standing before God (Romans 4:25).
 
Jesus' high priestly work however, did not end at the resurrection. Just like the Levitical priests, he would also go to the inner sanctuary with the tokens of his sacrifice - but his inner sanctuary was not a man-made structure in Jerusalem - it was the real one in heaven itself (Hebrews 8:2). There Jesus went, made peace with God through his blood (Colossians 1:20) and continues to intercede for those who have submitted to God (Hebrews 7:25). He alone is the qualified mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). Without Jesus Christ, you are a cosmic misfit, destined for hell.

Jesus as King

When Jesus was asked by the Roman Governor, "Are you the king of the Jews?", his reply was "Thou sayest" (A polite Aramaic way of saying "yes"). Pilate referred to him as the king of the Jews a few minutes later (Mark 15:2, Mark 15:9). The magi came looking for "the king of the Jews" (Matthew 2:2).

What is Jesus' authentication as king?

  • Several of the Messianic prophecies mention a future great king (Psalm 2:6-7, Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, etc)
  • Five centuries before Jesus was born, Zechariah prophesied that this future king would be welcomed into Jerusalem; it happened just that way with Jesus (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:1-9).
  • Daniel even predicted the date at which the Messiah would enter Jerusalem; Jesus entered the same day.
  • Jesus had genealogical authentication, described below.

God had promised David, the greatest of Israel's ancient kings, that his descendant would reign on his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Four hundred years after David and six hundred years before Jesus, there lived an evil king called Coniah who was also a descendant of David and Solomon. God cursed him and said that none of his descendants would ever be king over Israel (Jeremiah 22:24-30)! Jesus' foster father Joseph was a descendant of David via the royal line through Solomon and Coniah (see Matthew 1). Joseph is thus disqualified to be king over Israel, but Jesus had a virgin birth, so the same disqualification does not apply to him! His mother Mary was a descendant of David through Nathan (see Luke 3:23 onwards). Thus, Jesus is legally and biologically the heir to the throne of David.

Note that these genealogical records were well known at the time of Jesus' birth. In the census, his parents were registered at Bethlehem, David's home town, because it was common knowledge that they were his descendants (Luke 2:1-5). These records were destroyed when the Romans crushed the Jewish rebellion of AD 70.

But Israel rejected her king (John 19:15). However, since the kingship of Jesus is an eternal purpose of God (Psalm 2:6-7), it cannot be annulled by human rebellion. Thus, Jesus will be king over Israel in the future. The Bible tells us how this will happen.

When the church is complete, the Lord Jesus will take her to himself and purify her; she will be his bride. He will then assume his office as king. How?

He will return to the earth. His first advent was mild, but it shook Jerusalem. His second advent will be the most dramatic event in human history. He will force his way through, and set up his kingdom. Most humans will wail in terror when they see him, but the righteous Jews will acknowledge him as their long rejected Messiah. He will rescue them from the rest of the world who will be hellbent on their "final solution" of destroying Israel - and be the Sun of righteousness who puts an end to the night of antisemitism and brings in the bright day of healing for Israel (Malachi 4:2).

The Lord Jesus' reign will run for a thousand years from Jerusalem, and then continue onto eternity in the new universe that God will create. 

Conclusion

Jesus has been the most influential person on this planet, not because of his clever strategies but because he is truly the Christ - God's Anointed One. He was the greatest prophet, is the greatest high priest, and will be the greatest king. While other prophets showed us the way to God, Jesus is that way! While other priests offered animal sacrifices for themselves and others, Jesus himself was the sacrifice! For the Jews, Jesus is their great kinsman-redeemer. For those of us who are not Israelis, he is our great saviour. Other kings have tried to bring peace to earth, but Jesus is the Prince of Peace! He is the Son of God. Understand what Jesus has done for you and commit your life to him!