2008-05-11pm Lord’s Day 12 Heb. 10.11-14; Gal. 5.16-26 God the Son—The Anointed
Since submitting the order of worship to the bulletin editor, I’ve made some changes. In writing the sermon, I didn’t venture beyond the first question and answer. So, in three weeks we’ll continue with the second question and answer. In a way, it is a shame, it would be great to get to the practical application of these truths tonight, but in light of the length of this morning’s service, I wouldn’t want to tax you too much.
Tonight we’re looking at Jesus, called the Christ. The word Christ, Christos in Greek, means anointed. The Hebrew word for anointed is Messiah. Jesus is the anointed one.
Jesus was not anointed as the priests of the Old Testament were anointed. He did not have oil poured over his head. He did not have another priest perform the duties. As we saw this morning, Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit.
But so what. He’s anointed. Big deal. Well, it is a very big deal. And we see why when we realise what Jesus does for us.
Jesus is our prophet, priest and king.
Let’s look at those three offices individually.
Jesus is our prophet.
Now, what comes to mind when you hear the word prophet? Most of us, growing up in the church, think about the Old Testament. But what about people who haven’t grown up in church? Suppose you went to your neighbour and said, listen, you gotta believe in Jesus, he’s our prophet.
What are they going to think? They might well conjure up in their minds an image of a guy holding sign that says, “The End is Near!”
Or maybe they’ll think of one of those guys who form a cult. You know, like David Koresh, or Jim Jones. You never know, if they eventually come to church, they might steer clear of the Kool-Aid.
So we’ll have to provide them with a little instruction to teach them what a prophet is.
Even those of us who grew up in the church, we might have a mistaken idea of a prophet. We might think of them always predicting the future. But that is only one aspect of a prophet’s work.
In the Old Testament, what did the prophets do?
The prophets brought the word of God to the people. They gave instructions. Moses was one of the earliest prophets. He brought all sorts of instructions from the Lord. He brought the Ten Commandments, he brought the book of the covenant. He set up the Levitical laws. He called the people to repentance. He even spoke, prophesied about Christ, saying about him, that he would be a prophet greater than he was.
The prophet’s main task was to reveal God. They taught people what was right and what was wrong. The prophet Nathan convicted King David of his sin with Bathsheba. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the minor prophets taught the Israelites about God. They called the people to repentance. They told them to turn away from the false gods they were serving and to turn to the one true God. Though they were in the Old covenant, they looked forward to the new covenant in Christ.
They turned their eyes to Jesus. They foretold his coming, where he’d be born, how he would minister, what he would do.
Jesus came to turn people back to God. Jesus came to preach the kingdom of God. Jesus came to open hearts and minds to the reality of God, of Emmanuel, God with us!
Though knowledge of God is vital, there’s more. Even though we might know God, if our sin is not forgiven, if it is not atoned for, then we’ll remain separated from God.
Jesus isn’t just the perfect prophet of God; he’s also the high priest. Now, again, you mention the title priest to someone, and he’ll probably think of unmarried men, serving in the Roman Catholic Church, whom you can recognise by their special shirts.
But then again, we have to correct them of this image, and give them a crash course in Israelite worship practises. Make no mistake here, these two offices are tied together, from the prophets we get conviction of sin. From the priests, we get atonement of sin. The priests were specially appointed, anointed by God to serve as sacrifice bearers. They were given stricter rules; they were taught the proper process for sacrifices. They were the only ones who were allowed to sacrifice, to maintain the purity of the ritual.
But, as it says in our Hebrews passage, the atonement they offered wasn’t sufficient. It didn’t pay for sins. It was a shadow of the things to come. All those sacrifices, all the activities of the priests were but a foretelling of the future. They all pointed to Jesus Christ. Day after day, the priests followed the law. They performed the sacrifices, morning and evening, for themselves, for the people.
Contrast that with Jesus. Hebrews 10 does that for us. It says, Jesus offered one sacrifice, sufficient to pay for all the sins of the world, once and for all. Jesus acted like all those other priests, but with a major difference. He wasn’t the shadow, he was the real thing. It was his shadow that was cast the long way back to the Old Testament. All the work of the Old Testament priests pointed to Jesus. We mustn’t think that their sacrifices, though insufficient in of themselves, that is, because the blood of the animals were not enough to cover the sins of humanity, that those sacrifices were useless. Jesus Christ’s blood fulfilled even those sacrifices.
Jesus Christ, as high priest isn’t just the supreme priest. He isn’t just the shadow caster. He’s also the sacrifice. He’s the priest and the sacrifice. No other priest did that, no other priest could do that! If they did, they’d have to replace their priests twice a day! Not too many people would sign up for that job!
The Old priests, after offering a sacrifice, had to get up again and offer another sacrifice, and another and another!
But Jesus Christ is the final and perfect sacrifice. He paid for all the sins once and for all. After he paid for all the world’s sins, he sat down. He didn’t just rest on earth; he sat down at God’s right hand! Can you imagine that? Jesus sacrifice was perfect! It was God glorifying. It was Christ glorifying!
But that’s not all. His priestly functions continue, for he remains the great High priest. Now, instead of offering sacrifices again and again, he stands before God the Father, the just judge, and he pleads our case for us. He’s the great advocate. He’s on our side! All the accusations brought forth against us fall short. They are silenced by Christ! Christ clothes us with His righteousness! We are clean, pure and holy, in Christ!
Christ, working on our behalf in heaven, waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. This is a quote from Psalm 110:1 “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” The final enemy that needs to be conquered is death. But Jesus Christ is patiently waiting for that day to come. Why is he being patient? Why hasn’t he come yet? It is because he is waiting for the fullness of time. That is, he’s waiting, he’s patient because there are still people who need to hear and respond to the gospel.
We must not think, that in waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool that he isn’t already the supreme ruler of all. He is. Before he ascended, he told his disciples, “All power and authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus is the most powerful. Jesus is king.
And that nicely leads us to our third point about Jesus.
But, try telling people today that Jesus is their king.
It is meaningless to them. Consider the Royal family. They have reprehensible behaviour. Nothing about them sets them apart from the rest of the world. Also, they seem to be puppets, they don’t really do anything. Or if you think of other kings and kingdoms, then what you often get is a supreme dictator who makes unreasonable demands of his people.
So, when we talk about Jesus as king, we have to be very careful to distinguish him from mere human kings. Jesus is all powerful, all authoritative, but he wields his power with love. He is, for lack of a better word, a benevolent king.
Now, if you were to examine history, there are places where you can find good kingly examples. The scriptures always speak highly of King David, even though he had his faults.
Jesus Christ is king. That is who he is. He is supreme ruler. He does not operate in a democracy. He needs no advisers (apart from the Father and the Holy Spirit). He is the great sovereign. He rules with utmost authority. All the authorities in heaven and on earth derive their authority from him, whether they realise it or not.
Christ limits and controls Satan’s authority. Christ conquered sin and Satan. Satan’s doom is certain. He and all his minions are destined for destruction.
It is interesting that while the people didn’t recognise Jesus for who he is, the demons sure did. Recall the account in Matthew chapter 8. Jesus came upon two violent, demon possessed men. They were so violent that no one could pass by them. Surely, by going there, people must have thought Jesus was either very brave or very foolish. But do you recall what the demons said to Jesus?
““What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” You see, they recognised Jesus’ authority. They know their future destruction is imminent. They pleaded with Jesus not to destroy them then and there. They too wanted a bit more time. But they know what’s coming. They know their fate; they know who has the power and authority to destroy them.
Jesus Christ is our king. As has been mentioned already, he is a servant king. Jesus does not lord it over us like most earthly kings do. Jesus doesn’t demand blind obedience. Jesus doesn’t require brainwashing or manipulation in order to shore up his kingdom. Jesus is king, plain and simple. Whether people believe it or not, is irrelevant. He is who he is.
But Jesus isn’t a useless king, like the royal family, or the puppet kings of the earth. Jesus is a real, powerful, involved, near, loving and true king.
He governs us by His word. In this book is everything we need to know about God’s rule. In this book we have every instruction necessary for having a good, God-pleasing, enjoyable and satisfied life. When you look at, say the apostle Paul, when you look at Christians who fully understand this, you realise that they, regardless of their circumstances, remain happy, content.
Does that mean they are out of touch with reality? Not at all! They realise who is in charge. They realise that, though their present circumstances may not be so great, that Jesus is Lord even of the pain, the suffering and the disappointments. Their circumstances are shaped by Christ, Christ isn’t shaped by their circumstances.
That is to say, that they don’t love Jesus only when things are going well. They don’t have a health and wealth gospel. They have a true Gospel, one whose truth lies with who Jesus really is, not what Jesus does for us physically and financially.
That’s not the message that gets preached very often! Jesus is our sugar daddy. But do you know what that lying message is all about? It is all about greed! People preach that way in order to justify their wealth, in order to justify their greed, their self-indulgence. Look at me, look at how much God loves me, I am so rich!
I was listening to a lecture by John Piper, he said, “Do you know what is preached about most in the New Testament? More than sex, the Bible talks about money.” Congregation, what does the church, what does North American society want us to focus our attention on? Sex. Look, we have to make some decisions about human sexuality. No, we don’t the scriptures are very clear on them. And if people don’t abide by them, they’re not really following God’s will, they’re following their own.
No, all the talk about sex is a red herring. It is meant to turn us away from the real problem in North America, greed! But that’s another sermon.
Jesus governs us by his Word and Spirit. The Bible is an effective and necessary tool. It is instructs us in how to live. It teaches us the precepts of our king. Jesus also governs us by His Spirit, which he placed in us. The law of God is written on our hearts and on our minds, by the Spirit of God. Did you know that each new king of Israel was required to write out the first five books of the Bible? They were to meditate, to learn God’s law. Can you imagine copying out Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy by hand? In Hebrew?
Now, to conclude, Jesus keeps us in the freedom he has won for us.
We’ll look at this more closely next time. But for now, we realise that our union with Christ is freedom granting, not freedom removing. This too is quite different than most kingdoms. Most kings deny their people freedoms. Jesus grants them to us. Not for us to do with as we please, but freedom to do God’s will! For it’s only in God’s will that we are truly free. Amen.