So if you’re keeping track with the meeting numbers, obviously I’ve skipped a few weeks. But by the grace of God, we’re back on track now…
The last couple of times we met, we discussed chapter 9, which covers Jesus’ offices. The offices of Christ might also be called something like “job descriptions” or “functions”; they show the unique ways in which Jesus is qualified and equipped to do what He does. These have been set into three basic categories: Prophet, Priest, and King.
Jesus’ office of a Prophet is often seen in His teaching ministry. In fact, this is the angle Oden takes throughout most of this section. It’s very true; the same way that Moses heard the words of God and gave the people instruction, so did Jesus. He did a lot to communicate what God was saying to His people.
However, the ministry does not stop there. Jesus’ very incarnation was a massive testimony of the heart of God. He is the Word made flesh, the image of the invisible God, the One who makes known the Father. Just as Isaiah wrote many chapters of prophecy which focused on the greatness and the attributes of God, Jesus is God, and He walked the earth in human frame. He who has seen Him has seen the Father. Jesus declared (prophesied) to us of what the Father is like.
Jesus also had prophetic insight into the future. He predicted His own death numerous times… not just the fact that He would die, but how He would die, and how He would rise again (see Mark 8:31). He prophesied of the events at the end of the age (i.e. Matt 24). He gave His disciples explicit instructions regarding His Triumphal Entry and the preparation of the Last Supper — both of which were fulfilled to a tee.
Another dimension of prophecy, though, that I’m not sure I’d ever heard discussed until our little group began getting into it, is that Jesus saw straight to the heart of people. John records that Jesus “knew all men” and “knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). He could discern what was happening in the hearts of the religious leaders who were thinking evil thoughts, even if they had the tact to restrain their tongues (Luke 5:21-22, 11:38-39).
But what really got us excited about this was to think of other interactions Jesus had. Think of it — every interaction He had with another human being, He saw to their hearts and saw what would provoke them or encourage them. It makes some of those confusing interactions make more sense. Case in point, John 3, and Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. Jesus took the reins of the conversation pretty early on and kept answering the questions that Nicodemus should have been asking, addressing issues in his heart that he never would have brought up on his own. Think also of the interaction of Jesus with the Syro-Phoenician woman who was asking Him to drive a demon out of her daughter. This is a confusing encounter, and people wonder why on earth Jesus, the most compassionate Person ever, would respond to a desperate woman with the answer, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (Matt 15:26). But Jesus was not doing this in a vacuum, stoically uninterested and uninformed as to the state of the woman’s heart. I firmly believe He spoke as He did, knowing what sort of reaction He would draw from her, and knowing that He would be able to joyfully respond to her great faith.
When you begin to think of Jesus interacting with other people as a Prophet, it really begins to change how you view those conversations.
Last week, we talked about Jesus as a Priest and King. Although these are distinct offices, it’s great to study them together, because it is prophesied that Jesus will be a Priest-King — a ruler in a new type of priesthood. Historically, priests had to come from the tribe of Levi, and kings from the tribe of Judah (due to the Davidic covenant), so it has been impossible for priests to be kings or for kings to become priests. This is one of the ways Jesus is so unique and superior to any other ruler or any other priest on earth; He is of a higher order, the order of Melchizedek.
(Zechariah 6:13) Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘
(Hebrews 7:15-17) And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
As a priest, Jesus stands as the one true Mediator between God and Man (1Tim 2:5). Hebrews spends a great deal of time discussing Jesus’ priesthood. Because He is a great Mediator and Intercessor as fully God and Man, He can sympathize with us. It is through His mediation, His own blood sacrifice, that we are made clean before God. He has given us access to the very presence of God, and has cleansed our conscience that we may approach boldly. The more I study Christ, the more I love seeing Him as my great High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for me.
As a King, Jesus is the ruler over all things. This is the One who will be retunring to the earth to set up an everlasting Kingdom. This is the One who, even now, is sovereign over the affairs of the earth. All authority and dominion has been given to Him. All of the Davidic promises, all of the prophecies of a coming King and Deliverer, are summed up in Christ. He is all-powerful and all-wise, and He rules in righteousness.
Now remember that these three offices function together in one Person. Jesus the Prophet, who has given us the commands of God, is also Jesus the High Priest who sympathizes with us. The King who will govern the earth is the same Mediator who makes intercession for us. The King who will rule from the throne will be forever speaking of the Father and revealing Him to us. Though the offices are distinct, they are unified in the one Man Jesus. These three offices together demonstrate the beauty of His character and the uniqueness of His Person. This will keep us fascinated, enthralled and in love forever.
Next week I’ll be out of town, but the following Saturday we’ll be looking at chapter 10 of Word of Life. Check back with us then!