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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Day 5: The King Who Is Also a Priest

Today's Scripture Reading: Psalm 110

The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
    after the order of Melchizedek.” - Psalm 110:4

The King Who Is Also a Priest


Separation of Powers is one of the hallmarks of the U.S. Constitution. Now, before your eyes glaze over and you start sweating over bad memories from your high school government class, stay with me: The Constitution has been successful for over 225 years because power is kept out of the hands of any single person or group of people. Three branches of government with their checks-and-balances ensure limited and just government, at least as much as any human constitution can.

What does this have to do with the Bible and Advent? Well, James Madison didn't invest the idea of Separation of Powers and checks-and-balances. God did. In the Old Testament law, God established three anointed offices: Prophet, Priest and King. Each had its own role and responsibilities. Most importantly, the priest and the prophet were both empowered by God to hold kings accountable to God's law. Israel was to be ruled by God's law, which sadly rarely happened. 

Key to God's system for Israel was this: No one man could hold all three offices. Most importantly, no one could be both king and priest. Some kings were also prophets (David), and some priests were also prophets (Jeremiah), but no king could act as priest. Uzziah tried and was struck by God with leprosy as a punishment. Why the restriction? Because no mere man could ever be entrusted with such power. 

Yet there is a man in the Old Testament who is both king and priest. His name is Melchizedek, and he makes a brief appearance in Genesis 14. Melchizedek was the King of Salem, that is Jerusalem. He was also priest of God Most High. His name means King of Righteousness and his title, King of Salem, means King of Peace. He was greater than Abraham for he blessed Abraham. Most importantly, hundreds of years after Genesis 14, God announced in Psalm 110 that He would send another King who would also be a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

How could any man be both priest and king? How could any man be a priest forever? (see Hebrews 7) Clearly, this is no ordinary man! God's promised Messiah would be so much more than a mere man. He would be God incarnate, perfect in righteousness and holiness and the only One who could ever be entrusted with absolute authority in the kingdom of God.

Today's Advent lesson is to ponder and wonder at the unique authority of Jesus, our Prophet, Priest and King. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One who saves and rules forever! Glory be to His name alone!

Heavenly Father, save us from ever placing our hope and trust in fallen and failing men, who disappoint us again and again. Lift our eyes to focus on Jesus, the Great Prophet, High Priest and King of kings! Amen.

  


2 comments:

  1. Thank you Pastor Jason for these insightful and deeply touching devotionals that help to draw ever nearer to Our Great God!

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