Tuesday, December 29, 2009

PROPHET, PRIEST AND KING -- Devotional for December 28, from "Good Seeds"

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the priest, and he said, “Listen, all Israel, thus says the Lord unto you: “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (II Chronicles 20:14-15)

These are three titles of our Lord Jesus. A prophet, by definition, speaks to people on behalf of God; a priest speaks to God on behalf of the people; and a King, well, he rules. As PROPHET, Jesus came from God to men with a message. But He was not an angel, a mere messenger – He was the message! The apostle John appropriately called Jesus the Word. His very life: His miraculous virgin birth, His amazing miracles, and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, spoke God’s Word to men – without a word! But He spoke words, too: words of instruction, correction, warning, and comfort. As PRIEST, Jesus “prayed without ceasing,” bringing the needs and hurts of others before the throne of grace. While His friends were sleeping, He was praying – for them; while His enemies were planning His destruction, He was praying – for their welfare! Our Lord was prophet and priest during His earthly ministry, and remains so on our behalf since returning to heaven, but someday the Father will “put all things under His feet” and Jesus will reign over the universe as KING. But even while a humble servant on earth, His kingship was suspicioned, if not outwardly recognized. Even during His brutal execution, an inscription was placed on His cross – a sort of epitaph before His death: “Here dies Jesus: King of the Jews.” Just as Christ delegated His work to His followers before returning to heaven (John 14:12), so He shares these three roles with those worthy of His trust. Though we recognize Jesus as our true King, He delegates His authority to lesser “kings,” such as governors, prime ministers, presidents – earthly rulers of one description or another – for the welfare of society. Though some view it as the enemy, human government really is designed by God to be our friend. But sometimes – at the more benevolent times of history – a king rises to power who also serves his people as a priest. Ronald Reagan was such a man of prayer, following in the path of Jehoshaphat of old. And just as a ruling king may pray like a priest, so a commissioned priest may preach like a pastor. Such a man was Jahaziel. After his king led the people in prayer, this priest heard God’s answer to that prayer and, speaking now as a prophet, proclaimed it to the people. O that pastors today would be so clear and bold in their proclamation: Thus says the Lord: “Why are you dismayed? Are you not My people? Are not these who are accosting you My enemies? This is not your battle, but Mine! So step aside, and get ready to rejoice!”

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