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Jesus, Our Priest and King - 18

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 28, 2024 6:00 pm

Jesus, Our Priest and King - 18

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 28, 2024 6:00 pm

Christians have a great High Priest who is also King of Kings- Pastor Greg Barkman continues his exposition in the book of Hebrews.

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I'm sure we have all heard the phrase prophet, priest, and king. Jesus Christ is our prophet, priest, and king.

But I don't know how much thought we have given to that phrase and what it communicates. A prophet is one who speaks God's word to men. A prophet is one who has been given divine revelation by God for the purpose of delivering that truth to other people. And Jesus Christ was the ultimate prophet. He delivered the word of God to men and women in his day and continues to do so through his apostles who have given us his word in the scriptures. A priest, as we have been learning in our study in the book of Hebrews, is one who represents men before God.

One who is able to come into the presence of God and to present a sacrifice sufficient to deal with the sins that men and women have committed against a holy God so that they might be brought into a right relationship with him and might indeed be brought into his presence as well. A king, of course, is one who rules over men and women with a measure of authority. Kings in our world are often called sovereign. They are said to rule sovereign nations. We even have in the United States a number of states who call themselves sovereign states and sovereign commonwealths and so forth. But all of that in the human realm is rather, what should I say, euphemistic to call it sovereign.

It's only partly so. But in the case of God Almighty, he indeed is sovereign, completely and fully sovereign. King of kings and Lord of lords and he rules everything according to his wisdom and his power. And Jesus Christ is prophet for he speaks the word of God, priest for he represents sinners in the presence of God and king for he is the one who rules all things according to his divine will. Now these three offices, prophet, priest and king, were separated in the old covenant time.

Priest and king strictly separated. Prophet sometimes could be found among those who also were, say, a priest or a king. David, for example, was a king and also a prophet. But in the area of priest and king, there was such a strong division and wall of demarcation between them that kings on a couple of occasions who tried to step over into the function of a priest were severely chastened by God. But we find in the new covenant, Jesus ushered in a new covenant distinct from the old covenant.

There are similarities, of course, but nevertheless distinct from the old covenant. And in the new covenant, we find that these three offices are, in fact, combined in one person, one sublime person, one supreme person, namely the Lord Jesus Christ, who is prophet, priest and king. And today our passage deals with how Jesus can qualify to be all three, particularly those two, priest and king, that were so strictly demarcated in the Old Testament. Because Jesus is the Christian's great high priest, then we have questions about his priesthood, which are answered in our passage today. And the three questions that we'll deal with are concerning Christ's priesthood, number one, who appointed him? Number two, what was his priestly order? And number three, what enables him to represent humanity as high priest?

Question number one, who appointed him? That, of course, was touched upon in our sermon for last Sunday in the first four verses of this chapter, but it carries over into the first part of our passage for today in verse five. But the words of verse five, which begin with, so also Christ, depend upon what was said in verse four. And there we read, and no man takes this honor, that is the honor of priesthood or particularly the honor of high priest. No man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron, the mosaic high priest, and those who followed him from his line, just as Aaron was, now verse five, so also Christ. Like Aaron, so also Christ did not glorify himself to become high priest, but it was he who said to him, you are my son, today I have begotten you. So the question again is who appointed Jesus to be high priest? And first of all, I ask a question about the question, why are we asking this question as to who appointed Jesus to be high priest?

And it's because, as we've already learned, that nobody can legitimately appoint himself to this office. There were times in the Old Testament when usurpers tried to take that office or at least to take some of the functions of that office to themselves without appointment, and they were also severely dealt with like kings who stepped into that office without authorization. So no one in the old covenant system was able to legitimately appoint himself to that office during the intertestamental period of which we don't have anything in the Bible, because it's intertestamental.

It's between the conclusion of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew. It is sometimes called the 400 silent years, but there was a lot of history in that period that was very, very impactful to the nation of Israel. And during that time, there were high priests who were not appointed by the normal way, who nevertheless served in that office, and yet there was this constant unrest by those Jews who were trying to be true to the word of God and who recognized that usurpers were in that office and shouldn't be there. Because no man is qualified to appoint himself to that office.

You can't do that legitimately. If anyone steps into that office without divine appointment, that is an illegitimate exercise of the office. Even in the first century in the days of Christ, it was very questionable whether the high priest who served really had a right to be there because they were appointed by the Roman government. Now, in most cases, they did come from the line of Aaron, so the Roman government tried to pacify the Jewish nation by giving them those that would be acceptable, but nevertheless, instead of it being the succession that God had ordained in the Old Testament, there was this political element to it that they were going to be appointed by Rome, and Rome saw to it that they appointed men who would do their bidding.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. It was supposed to be a separation between priest and king. The priests were supposed to carry out the word of God and the function God gave to them, and even if the king himself said otherwise, tried to influence them in a different direction, they were to say, no, we must obey God rather than men. We must obey God rather than the king.

So no man can legitimately appoint himself to this office. Priests to serve legitimately must be appointed by God, and Aaron's appointment is an example of this, as we are reminded in verse four. No man can take this offer to himself, but he who is called by God just as Aaron was. So then the question arises, well, if you're going to talk about Jesus being our great high priest, who appointed him? And the answer is given in verse five. So also Christ did not glorify himself to become high priest, but it was he who said to him, you are my son.

Today I have begotten you. Who appointed Jesus? He did not appoint himself. Who appointed Jesus? God the Father appointed Jesus. And the writer of Hebrews quotes at this point, Psalm two and verse seven, and this is answering the question, who appointed Jesus? We read in Psalm two, the whole Psalm is worthy of our examination, but time will not allow that. But it is a Psalm. It's a Messianic Psalm. A Messianic Psalm is a portion of scripture that tells us something about the promised Messiah.

We have Messianic Psalms, we have Messianic prophecies and other books of the Old Testament, and all of these reveal something about the coming Messiah. And Psalm two is one such portion. It is Messianic. And we read, for example, in Psalm two, verse six, God the Father speaking and he says, Yet I have set my king on the holy hill of Zion. God appoints the son king. And verse seven is, I will declare the decree. The Lord said to me, and now, by the way, the speaker shifts from God the Father in verse six to God the Son in verse seven. And God the Son now says, I will declare the decree. The Lord, Yahweh, my Father, the Lord has said to me, You are my son. Today I have begotten you.

Now you say, OK, I see that. But what is there in that prophecy about the priesthood of Christ? And the answer is nothing explicitly, because this is not to answer the portion of the question that has to do with the priesthood. This is answering the portion of the question that has to do with what authority appointed him as priest. And the answer is the authority was Almighty God. Look at the verse again, verse five. So also Christ did not glorify himself to become priest, but it was he who said to him.

These words that are quoted in Psalm two. Well, looking at Psalm two, who said these words to the son? God the Father did. And that answers the question, who appointed him? Now we get to that.

Other part of the question in the next next verse. But right now, it's just simply saying, who was it who has the authority to do this? It was the one who has the authority to declare him to be his eternal son and also had the authority to appoint him to be the king of the universe.

That's the one. Is that enough authority? Is that sufficient authority to make this appointment? That's the one who appointed him to be priest. And that moves them to the second quotation in verse six.

As he also says in another place now, not Psalm two, but Psalm 110, you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. So first, verse five answers the question, who appointed him? And the answer is God Almighty, God the Father, the one who has the right to appoint the ruler of the universe.

That's the authority. The highest authority possible appointed him. And what did he appoint him to be? Well, verse six gives us the answer to that. He appointed him to be a priest, but not according to the order of Aaron, but according to the order of Melchizedek.

So, who appointed him? God the Father. Even the Son of God, though appointed to rule the universe, you can't get any higher authority than that, did not take authority unto himself to appoint himself to be high priest, but rather submitted himself to God the Father, who appointed him to be high priest. Now, every time we get into these sort of things, we're stumbling into the mystery of the Trinity. We stumble into it almost every Sunday, almost every passage has something that causes us to deal with that. And every time we do, I usually say we cannot fully understand the Trinity.

We can't understand all the details here, but this is what it's saying. God the Father appointed God the Son. He had the authority to do it. And here's the appointment that he made. And that brings us then to the second question. The first question was, who appointed him?

The answer is God, God the Father. And the second question is, what was his priestly order? And that's what we see in verse six. Answering the question, what qualifies Jesus to be a priest? Because Old Testament priests had to descend from Aaron of the tribe of Levi. I say Old Testament priests, but that's not exactly accurate.

I back up. Old Covenant priests had to descend from Aaron of the tribe of Levi. Jesus, we learn, and we'll see even more of in a moment, came from the order of Melchizedek. Well, Melchizedek was Old Testament, but he preceded Aaron by several hundred years. But when God instituted the priesthood for the nation of Israel, the sacrifices, the temple, all of that system, that started with Moses. And there the appointment was Aaron would be the first high priest. And all priests would be descendants of Aaron. And that was the Old Covenant system. But this text tells us that Jesus was appointed of a different order than the order of Levi. Because Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah, not Levi, and priests under the Old Covenant had to come from the tribe of Levi, how could Jesus qualify to be a priest? And the answer is given us in Psalm 110 and verse four. Jesus came from a different priestly order. And that was specified even in the Old Testament Scriptures. We really shouldn't be surprised at this. But like all people, many of the Jews, even students of Scripture, overlooked certain things.

They didn't really grab onto them and didn't expect them. As we do, we have to recognize that we're that way ourselves. Some of you, I am thrilled to know, have made it your commitment to read through the Bible at least once every year. Some of you have been doing that for 30, 40 or more years.

And yet, when I talk to you, who talk to me about your Bible reading year by year, I almost always hear you say, you know what? Every time I read it, I see something I didn't see before. What? You read it 39 times and didn't see that?

Yep. But the 40th time, I saw it. Well, that's the way we are. And even in Christ's day, there were people who probably missed this prophecy that the Messiah would be a priest, but not an Aaronic priest, but would rather be a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Here's what Psalm 110 says. Verse 1 says, The Lord said to my Lord. By the way, Psalm 110 is the most quoted passage in the New Testament. It's such a powerful passage, such an informative passage, such a revealing passage that it comes up again and again and again. And verse 1 says, The Lord said to my Lord. That's one that Jesus brought up more than once to the religious leaders of his day. In fact, remember they were asking him questions and trying to trip him up.

And after they tried two or three and couldn't get anywhere, then he said, Well, let me ask you one. The son of David, the Messiah, whose son is he? And they said, Son of David. He's a king in the line of Judah, a descendant of David. The Old Testament scriptures say that. Hmm, he's the son of David.

Well, then why? And now quoting Psalm 110, verse 1, the one we're looking at at the moment. Why then do the scriptures say, The Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah, said to my Lord, Elohim, another name for God, sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool. If the Messiah is the son of David, then why did he call Jehovah his Lord? And why did Jehovah call him Lord? That rises above the earthly line of David, doesn't it?

Indeed, it does. But then you drop down to verse 4 of Psalm 110. The Lord has sworn, here again, Yahweh, Jehovah. The Lord has sworn and will not relent these words.

You, Elohim, the Lord who was appointed to sit at the God's right hand, you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. Wow, didn't see that one coming. Someone might have said, noticing that for the first time. Where'd that come from? That came out of left field, or so it seems to us. But that's the answer.

That's the answer to the question, what was the question that we're trying to answer here? What was Jesus' priestly order? And the answer is, his order was the order of Melchizedek, as foretold in Psalm 110, verse 4.

A messianic psalm, a messianic psalm that declares the Messiah's reign as King of Kings, like Psalm 2 did, that we noticed a moment ago, but now Psalm 110 tells us something else. It tells us of the son's appointment as a priest, in addition to his appointment as the king. And his priesthood comes from the order of Melchizedek. Now Melchizedek is a very shadowy, very, what should I say, very intriguing figure from the Old Testament, because he's there, but there's not a whole lot said about him. He comes from the time that Abraham defeated the kings that had overrun Sodom and had taken his nephew and so forth, and Abraham went and defeated them and returned with all of the captives and all of the spoil, and we are told that he was met on his return by Melchizedek, who is described as being king of Salem and priest of God Most High, or the Most High God, El Elyon. And we're told that to him, that this priest, Melchizedek, brought bread and wine to Abraham, and that to him, Abraham gave a tenth part of all the spoils.

Abraham acknowledged him as a representative of God. He wasn't tithing strictly to Melchizedek. He was tithing to God, but Melchizedek was the priest who received the tithes, just like under Aaron, the priest received the tithes from the people of Israel. And so Abraham gave ten percent of all the spoil to Melchizedek, acknowledging his position as a legitimate priest of the Most High God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I'm tempted to stop and talk a little bit about tithing at this point, but I go on.

But I do think we can learn some things about tithing from that passage. But nevertheless, he was king of Salem, but that's a shortened form of Jerusalem, king of Salem. He was king in Jerusalem hundreds of years before David became king in Jerusalem. And the interesting thing is, he was king and priest, right? Nobody in the Mosaic system was king and priest.

That was strictly forbidden. But if you go back several hundred years, you find this mysterious priest, who was also a king, combining both in the same office, and acknowledged to be a true representative of God by the godly Abraham. And Psalm 110 tells us that Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, not after the order of Aaron. And this appointment is by God's decree. He declares Messiah's eternal priesthood from Melchizedek.

So what's the result of this appointment? As I've already said, the Old Testament established Israel's kings from Judah. The Old Covenant required Israel's priests to come from Levi. And therefore, a Jewish king could never be a legitimate priest. But the Old Testament foretold of a coming Messiah who would be both king and priest. Now it's interesting, there were, in the days of Jesus, at least one or more groups among the Jews who had concluded by their study of scriptures that there was not simply one promised Messiah, but two promised Messiahs. One would be a king in the line of David, and one would be a priest in the line of Aaron.

They were wrong, but at least they were getting closer to the truth than some of the others in their day who just sort of ignored this whole issue altogether. But no, that's not what the scripture is teaching. It's not telling us that God has foretold the coming of two Messiahs, one a priest and one a king. What it's telling us is that God has foretold the coming of the Messiah, who is both king and priest combined together in one person. Jesus is the ultimate king from David's line and will reign forever upon David's throne. But Jesus is also the ultimate priest from Melchizedek's order.

He combines the offices of priest and king, and I couldn't help but think there's this application as well. He is therefore high priest for all nations, not just for Israel. Aaron was appointed for Israel. The Aaronic priesthood was appointed for Israel. But Melchizedek wasn't even a Jew. He wasn't of the line of Abraham. He was living during the days of Abraham. And Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, not Levi, not even a Jew. He is the high priest of all nations.

He is the high priest of all who will come to him by faith. Which brings us now to our third question. Here are our questions again. Question number one, who appointed him?

Answer, God Almighty. Question number two, what was his priestly order? Answer, the order of Melchizedek. Question number three, what enables him to represent humanity as a high priest? Verses seven and eight.

And this is reiterating and adding some thoughts to what has already been said earlier, but let's take a look at it. Verse seven, who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to him, who was able to save him from death and was heard because of his godly fear, though he was a son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And there are three things in these two verses that tell us how Jesus qualified to represent humanity as a high priest.

And what are those qualifying factors? Number one, his incarnation. Number two, his sufferings.

And number three, his obedience. Here it is, his incarnation. Verse seven, who in the days of his flesh, he, that Psalm 2 tells us, has been appointed to rule the nations with a rod of iron. He, that Psalm 110 tells us, has been invited by the Father to sit at his side on the throne of heaven to reign over the universe as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as Almighty God. But this one, who is all of that, nevertheless had a period of time described here as in the days of his flesh.

That's sort of an interruption to his eternal existence as eternal God. In the days of his flesh. Therefore, in this period of time, he had the same nature as those he represents. We are flesh.

That describes our nature as humanity. He had a period of being in the flesh. And particularly in view here is his life from conception to the tomb. Now as we know, he still is in the flesh, but now glorified. We're not there yet.

We will be someday. But he spent 30 some years in the same humanity that we have, not glorified flesh, but human flesh, Adamic flesh, we could say, except without sin, without Adamic fallenness. Adamic flesh as Adam was created in the garden before he fell. And so his incarnation makes him one of us, like unto his brethren, as we read in another place in Hebrews. That qualifies him to be high priest.

But what else? Well, his sufferings, we're told, also qualify him to be high priest. Who in the days of his flesh, and he had to take on flesh in order to be able to suffer like this, in the days of his flesh when he offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death and was heard because of his godly fear. Jesus suffered all throughout the days of his flesh. And there were some times when he suffered tremendously, and I'm confident that not all of those are recorded in the scripture. But we do know some of those times when Satan took him out into the, when the spirit let him out into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, he was sorely tempted and cried out to God for deliverance. However, I would take it that the description of verse 7 of his suffering and of his crying to God probably focuses upon that period in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The most intense time of his suffering, the most intense time of his agony, the most intense time of his crying out to God for help. And here he prayed to the one who was able to save him, we're told, from death. And we are also told his prayers were heard. And in Bible language, for a prayer to be heard means that it is answered favorably. Obviously, God hears in one sense every prayer. He hears everything.

He knows everything. Even an unbelieving atheist who cries out from a foxhole, Lord, please save me from death, even though he doesn't believe in God, or he says he doesn't. God hears that prayer. Does God answer that prayer?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But when the Bible says he hears prayer, it's with the idea of hears what was requested and chooses to answer that request favorably. The reason I'm emphasizing these things is so we can deal with the problem that's in this text. So he prayed to God to save him from death, and his prayers were heard, we're told, because of his godly fear, or that could be rendered because of his humble obedience. And he prayed then, in the very intense time of his suffering, because he needed divine aid in order to be able to drink the cup, as we find it described during his time in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prayed to the Father, if it be possible, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. But again, we're getting back to that question, what exactly was the cup that was in view there?

We really have the same thing here, though the term cup is not mentioned. And this brings us therefore to wrestle with the question, what exactly was he praying for? And in what way did God answer that prayer? And I'm going to give you three answers that are given, that I found, given by some various commentators. One commentator said that his prayer to be delivered from death really wasn't answered, so that he could experience the frustration that his people experience when they pray and don't feel like God is answering their prayers.

We've all been there. And that qualified him to be a good high priest. We all wrestle with that problem of unanswered prayer, but I don't think that's a satisfactory answer. Because the Bible says clearly that God heard him. And as I say, the sense of that term, as it's used in regard to prayer, is he heard him to answer favorably. So we can't say accurately that God did not answer his prayer. He let him die. He prayed in order to be spared from death, and God didn't answer his prayer. He died anyway, and then Jesus can relate to his people who struggle with the question of unanswered prayers. No, that's not a satisfactory answer as far as I'm concerned.

The most common answer to this question is that he prayed to be delivered from death, and God the Father answered that prayer by raising him from the dead. So though it appeared at first that the prayer wasn't answered, on the third day it was obvious that the prayer was answered. And that gets, I think, something that I can accept as a possibility. That's not still the one that I choose.

I'll save that until last. But I think that's a possibility, because we often have answers to prayers that when the answer comes, we say, oh, that perfectly satisfied what I was praying for, but it's not what I prayed for. You know what I mean? It answers my need, but in a different way than what I expected.

Is this an example of that? Jesus prayed to be delivered from death. At first it seemed like God didn't answer that prayer, but when he raised him from the dead, his prayer was answered, and that's the way many of our prayers are. We don't think they're answered until God answers them in an unexpected way. And then we say, oh, the wisdom of Almighty God. He knows a wiser way to answer our requests than we could ever think of. Is that the way to understand this?

Or, number three, and I think this is probably right, but I'm not going to be dogmatic about it, and some of you may disagree, and if so, I'd like to hear what you have to say about it. But it is to understand that prayer, to let this cup pass from me, not to refer to his death upon the cross, but rather to spare him from death in the garden before he got to the cross. He was in such agony, we read, that he was sweating great drops of blood.

That's getting pretty close to physical death, and he couldn't die there. He had to be sustained long enough to go to the trial and to go to the cross and to die on the cross. And so perhaps he was praying, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. So he goes on to say, nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done, which sounds like his request was not answered the way he prayed it, but it's possible, I think, to consider that his prayer was to spare him from death in the garden, and God answered that prayer exactly by sustaining him. Well, whatever it may be, the point is that in his sufferings, he learned obedience. Verse 8, though he was a son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. His obedience, he is God's son, eternal deity, without beginning, without end, King of kings, Lord of lords. But he became the son of man. He took upon him flesh. And as a man, not as the eternal God, but as a man in his humanity, he learned obedience.

That's surprising. And yet it's really not any more mysterious in my mind than the text in Luke chapter 2 about Jesus as a boy. And it says, Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men. How does Almighty God increase in wisdom? How does Almighty God increase in favor with God Almighty, with his Heavenly Father?

Well, obviously, as God Almighty, he can't and he didn't. But as Jesus, in the days of his flesh, Jesus as the boy, he learned, he grew in wisdom. He grew in favor with God by his life of continued obedience and learning the scriptures.

And that's what's in view here. In Luke 2, he learned wisdom and increased in favor with God. In Hebrews 5, he grew in, maybe we could call it in his levels of obedience. Just as he grew in a human understanding from one level to another of human understanding, so he grew in levels of obedience.

Similar, I think, to growth in levels of temptation and yet perfect sinlessness. He was tempted and then he passed that temptation. And then he was tempted again until he had virtually exhausted all possible temptation.

He'd exhausted all the strength that temptation could bring to him. But he didn't do that all at once. He did that in levels, working up to the ultimate temptation. And he resisted every one and therefore was sinless, for he conquered every temptation. In a similar way to his perfect sinlessness, which was developed, I guess you'd say, in levels, is perfect obedience. In the face of increasingly difficult sufferings, he continued to be perfectly obedient, perfectly submitted to God. It became harder and harder and harder, increasingly harder for him to be perfectly obedient as the sufferings increased. But the more he suffered, the more he submitted to the Father. And the more he submitted, the more he grew in obedience. And therefore, these experiences qualify him as the perfect high priest. His incarnation, number one, his, what did I say was number two?

I've lost it here. Number two, his sufferings. And number three, his perfect obedience qualified him to be the perfect high priest. Not as other priests who must first bring a sin offering for himself before representing others before God. And not one who could sympathize with our weaknesses because he himself was weak, as were the priests in the line of Aaron.

But one who can sympathize because of common human experiences. In his case, he was tempted to the limit and yet without sin. In his case, he suffered to the limit that human suffering is possible to experience and yet perfectly obedient, perfectly submissive to the Heavenly Father in accepting all of this appointed suffering. He submitted obediently to the Father. And therefore, he can represent us in the presence of God not because of understanding our sin because he's a sinner, not because he understands our sufferings because he has suffered and failed to be perfectly obedient in suffering, but he can represent us in the presence of God because of his perfections. He is really the only high priest who truly can come into the presence of God on his own merits. All the others came in the way that God appointed and God accepted them, the high priest, by offering a bull for himself and his sins first and then coming into the presence of God. God accepted him and who he represented out of mercy and as a way of pointing to the coming Savior.

But there were still elements of that ceremony that pointed to the fact that this really isn't complete. The high priest comes one time a year and then nobody can come into God's presence for another year. Why?

Because nobody qualifies. Now one qualifies in every way to represent us as the perfect high priest who also has unlimited access into the presence of God because he has no sin. He is holy. He is holy God. He has every right to be there. But he comes there as the man, Christ Jesus, our great high priest who represents us in the presence of God. Well, how many applications do we have time for this morning?

Not all the ones I have suggested, but let me just quickly deal with two or three. This passage certainly reminds us of the need for humility. If the eternal son of God, sovereign ruler of the universe, king of kings and Lord of lords with all authority, nevertheless was willing to submit himself to God the Father in this way, would not even appoint himself to be priest, wouldn't take that authority unto himself, was perfectly submitted and obedient to God in every way. This speaks to us of his perfect humility, that quality that is so highlighted in Philippians chapter 2. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

What is that mind? Humility. That's a characteristic of godliness.

It's found in Jesus in perfection, but it's rare in this world because of sinfulness. As fallen sons and daughters of Adam, we are not very humble. We are not naturally humble.

We are naturally and sinfully proud. And we have to develop humility. We have to be given a divine capacity to even to begin to develop humility. But this tells us this is something we need to work at. We need to ask God to help us to have the kind of humility we see in our representative, the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God help us to do that. We also see in this passage something about the surprising ways of God. They're always surprising, aren't they? God has infinite variety and creativity in the way he does things. God demonstrates surprising fulfillments of prophecy that we didn't expect. This thing about Melchizedek that just suddenly comes out of nowhere and yet we see it fits perfect.

Why? We didn't expect that, did we? Though we should have if we'd read Psalm 110.

But before Psalm 110 came, nobody would have thought to expect it. So it's surprising to us, but we realize that was God's design all along. This isn't God saying, hey, here's a neat idea.

I think I'll throw this one into the plan. No, he had a plan that way all along. And that's the way God does. There are so many elements that to us are unknown and are unknowable until they are revealed to us by God. Prophecy fits into that category. There are surprising fulfillments in prophecy, but they turn out to be genuine fulfillments.

It's just not the way we thought it was going to be fulfilled. We read this and our mind says, oh, I know what's going to happen. Oh, I know how that's going to be fulfilled. I'm a prophecy expert.

I've got it all figured out. And then it doesn't happen that way. But when it happens. It fulfills prophecy perfectly, but not the way we expected. There's a lesson there.

I wish I had more time to develop it. There's a third lesson in our need for divine help. If Jesus needed divine help. The sinless man. If Jesus needed divine help, whose other nature was also Almighty God. But if Jesus needed divine help in his humanity to do what God had assigned him to do, how much more do I?

How much more do you? We should be singing that song every day. I need thee every hour, every minute of every hour of every day.

I can't do it without your aid. Another application is to see God's purposes in suffering. Some Christians teach that Christians don't have to suffer if they do.

It's a lack of faith. If we just have more faith, we wouldn't have to suffer. We had more faith. We wouldn't have to get sick. We had more faith.

We never have to struggle with a shortage of supplies. And the Bible teaches just the opposite. What Bible are you reading? The Bible tells us not only that we will suffer, but that we must suffer.

And one of the things that God does in the course of suffering is teach us greater and greater levels of obedience. Will you trust me in this time of sickness? Will you trust me in this time of need?

Will you trust me in this difficulty? When we don't, we're going to have to repeat the lesson again and again and again. Back to first grade. Back to first grade. Back to first grade until you learn this lesson and can move on to second grade.

That's God's purpose in suffering. Better just go ahead and submit and say thank you, Lord. I accept this. I trust you. I love you.

I believe you. Now will you take it away? Well, when we've submitted it to Him, it's up to Him, isn't it?

We're willing to accept it either way. But the final point is that Jesus is the perfect sin-bearer and the perfect representative before God, and we all need such a representative. And the question is, does He represent you? If He does, praise the Lord.

If He doesn't, go to Him. He's a merciful high priest. Shall we pray? Father, thank you for your word. Teach us obedience. Teach us to be humble like our Savior. Teach us to trust you in the most difficult areas of life. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 15:59:45 / 2024-02-20 16:15:57 / 16

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