A NOTE ABOUT THIS TRANSCRIPT
The following sermon transcript does not match the video version of the sermon—it matches only the audio version. Here's a brief explanation why.
John MacArthur routinely preaches a sermon more than once on the same date, during different worship services at Grace Community Church. Normally, for a given sermon title, our website features the audio and video that were recorded during the same worship service. Very occasionally, though, we will post the audio from one service and the video from another. Such was the case for the sermon titled "Losing Your Life to Save it," the transcript of which follows below. The transcript is of the audio version.
Now tonight we’re going to talk about the subject of the Messiah, the promised Messiah. For those of you here visiting with us, we’re doing a series on finding Christ in the Old Testament and we’ve been all kinds of places, and tonight we’re going to look at the concept of Messiah. You will remember if you were with us this morning, that in John 1:41—we’re studying the gospel of John in the morning—and in John 1:41, Andrew, the first disciple called by Jesus to Himself, the first follower of Jesus, found his brother Simon, who we know as Peter, and he said to him, “We have found the Messiah. We have found the Messiah.”
Just exactly who is it that is the Messiah? What does Andrew mean by that? Obviously he doesn’t make an explanation to Peter because Peter knows what it means to say we have found the Messiah. We use that term a lot. It shows up in our songs, in the great oratorio, The Messiah, by Handel. We’re familiar with the term but like so many terms, we may be familiar with, we don’t necessarily know the underlying meaning of that term, and it’s very, very rich in its Old Testament meaning.
In fact, when Andrew says, “We have found the Messiah,” it is loaded with his understanding of the Old Testament. And while not every text in the Old Testament is about Christ, the dominating theme of the Old Testament is about Christ and the fact that He is the coming Messiah. That is central to any understanding of the Old Testament that is at all accurate. The promised one of the Old Testament is referred to as the Messiah. The Greek equivalent to that—the Hebrew word is Messiah— the Greek equivalent is Christ, which is used about 500 times in the New Testament. So the New Testament understands how important the concept of Messiah is. That is identified originally, defined originally, both as to the office and the person of the Messiah in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So let’s ask the question: What does that term mean? Tonight we’re going to do a little bit of a Bible study, all right? And just settle in there, get your Bible out, you’re going to have to work at this a little bit tonight; we’re going to look at the pages of Scripture, going to have you tracking with me because I want you to get the full richness of this amazing truth that is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Your understanding of Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be limited if you don’t get what we’re saying tonight. We understand that He is the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus being His human name, given to Him at His birth because He will save His people from their sins. We understand that His identity is Lord. We also have to understand that His office is as Messiah, or Christ. So we want to ask and answer the question: What does it mean to say that Jesus is the Messiah?
Let’s start at the beginning. Messiah is an Old Testament word rooted in a verb, and the verb means to spread a liquid over, to spread a liquid over. It is used in ancient Hebrew literature many, many, many times. In fact, it is used in Jeremiah 22:14 for the process of painting a house, spreading a liquid over. That’s what that verb means.
It came eventually to mean smearing oil. Olive oil, which was the oil that was used in ancient times, smearing olive oil over objects and over people. Over people, it could actually have a soothing effect; it could actually have a remedial effect on wounds that they had. But that really wasn’t its purpose. It eventually came to be symbolic, it meant to anoint. As I said, it could be to anoint someone medicinally, but its dominant meaning in the Old Testament is symbolic. For example, in Exodus chapter 29, God instructs concerning an altar in which there will be an offering made to Him to anoint the altar with oil. In the fortieth chapter of the book of Exodus, when the tabernacle is completed and finished, it is to be consecrated to God in a ceremony in which there is an anointing again, olive oil spread over objects such as the altar in 29, and even the tabernacle in chapter 40. So it became a symbol of setting something apart to God.
But we want to talk about not the objects, but we want to talk about the people who were smeared with olive oil, not in a medicinal way, but because they were placed in positions of mediation, of mediation. I want you to hang on to that word. To mediate means to come in between, right? To negotiate between two. And there are three mediators in the Old Testament: kings, priests, and prophets; kings, priests, and prophets.
Kings ruled in the theocratic kingdom of Israel for God. They mediated the rule of God to men. Priests carried the burdens of men to God. They mediated between man and God. And prophets brought the message of God to men. They mediated the truth of God—kings, the rule of God; priests brought men to God; and prophets brought the Word of God to men.
So when you look at the Old Testament, you see that kings and priests and prophets were anointed. In 1 Kings chapter 1, verse 34 we have the anointing of Solomon. In Exodus 28:41 we have the anointing of Aaron—Solomon a king; Aaron a priest. And in 1 Kings 19:16 we have the anointing of Elisha who was a prophet, and it sort of sets the pattern for the setting apart of those who had editorial functions in the theocratic kingdom of God. God moved His rule down through kings, moved His Word down through prophets, and brought His forgiveness and His passionate desire to bring people under His grace when priests, as it were, bore the confessions and bore the iniquities of His people before God through sacrifices. So they were all mediators. The ritual of anointing was set aside for these who had a very distinct, unique service in mediation. And it starts out this way with the first king. First Samuel chapter 10, and verse 1, there is an anointing of Saul. You go a few chapters into chapter 16, there’s an anointing of David.
So the Messiah is the anointed one; that’s what that word means. The Messiah means the anointed one. And 39 times it is used in the Old Testament, 28 of those times it refers to kings. So the anointed one mostly referred to kings but also referred to priests and prophets. There were then, and you can just kind of file this in your mind, many messiahs in the Old Testament. Everyone who was anointed into a mediating of position in the theocratic kingdom of Israel could be called a messiah, with a small m. Any person officially anointed in this kind of symbolic ceremony would be a messiah. And, in fact, the verb form is in the passive, which is to say a messiah is one who has been anointed. A messiah is one who has been anointed. He has been chosen for a very high duty in the kingdom, a king to rule, a priest to intercede and provide sacrifice, and a prophet to preach the truth of God.
However, none of these lesser messiahs as high as their calling was, and as noble was their duty was, none of them was ever given the title Lord. None of them was ever given the title Savior. And none was ever called THE Messiah. They were anointed ones, messiahs, but not THE Messiah. When the Lord Jesus arrived, He was THE Messiah. We have found THE Messiah. The comprehensive anointed one who is the ultimate king, the ultimate priest, and the ultimate prophet who is the pure and true and most elevated ruler, who is the one great priest, who provides the one great sacrifice for sin and that sacrifice He makes Himself, and He is the true, living prophet being the very Word of God. He is the one and only Savior of the world.
It’s critical to understand this because this literally is what is set up in the Old Testament to be fulfilled in the New Testament. Now you know why in the New Testament the word Messiah in its Greek form, Christ, appears 500 times, because the message of the New Testament is that Jesus is the final, complete, comprehensive Messiah, looked forward to in the Old Testament. Every king in the Old Testament was a man, and a sinful man at that. Every priest was a man, and a sinful man at that. Every prophet was a man, and a sinful man at that. They all fell short. They served God in a mediating function, but not in the way that THE Messiah would.
Now as you look at the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, you have to look at, first of all, the office Messiah, or the title, then look at the person of Messiah, and then look at the work of Messiah, and that’s what we’re going to kind of work through. We won’t get through all of it tonight.
Let’s just talk about His office for a little while, okay? This is going to be a Bible study so you’ve got to get ready for it. There are several perspectives that you need to have to understand the richness of all of that. Number one, He was divinely selected. Any messiah, and we’re talking in general now, any messiah in the Old Testament was divinely selected, divinely selected. No king and no priest and no prophet was ever self-appointed. You didn’t volunteer to be king. You didn’t volunteer to be priest. You didn’t volunteer to be a prophet. And, in fact, you didn’t take that role on your own without severe consequence.
When kings crossed the line and conducted themselves like priests, they were severely judged by God. In the case of Uzziah, he was stricken with a deadly disease for crossing the line between being a king and being a priest. Such offices were the result of a divine call.
And I want to show you this because I think it’s so wonderfully rich in understanding the foundation here. Let’s start in Deuteronomy chapter 17. When you enter the land, and remember, in Deuteronomy they’re getting ready to go into the land to possess the land of promise after their years in Egypt in exile, “when you enter the land,” verse 14, Deuteronomy 17, “which the Lord your God gives you and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses...from among your countrymen, you shall set a king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countrymen.” So it has to be one of you and it has to be one chosen by God. And this is simply to emphasize that anybody who was a Messiah, anybody who was anointed into one of these mediatorial functions had to be chosen by God.
Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapter 16, goes to Bethlehem because he’s going to go and he’s going to find David. And in 1 Samuel 16, verse 7, the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For God sees not as a man sees, God looks at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart. Then Jesse called [this is the father of David, who has a lot of sons] he calls Abinadab, made him pass before Samuel.” Samuel’s checking out the children of Jesse to see which one is going to be king. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either. Jesse made Shammah pass by and he said, the Lord has not chosen this one either. Then Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are these all the children?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he’s tending the sheep.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him, for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance and the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him, for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward,” and that’s the beginning of the great story of David.”
So kings were chosen by God. Kings were chosen by God. It wasn’t something that you could get in the theocratic kingdom by some coup. No effort at that, including the son of David, Absalom, ever succeeded. And even in kings that were outside the land of Israel, like in Isaiah 41, “Thus says the Lord,” to Cyrus. Cyrus, of course, was a pagan king, but it says, “The Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand.”
All kings, in a sense, are under the power of God. You can tie that into Romans 13, the powers that be ordained of God. But in particular, in the theocratic kingdom, kings were chosen by God.
Now it is also true that priests were chosen by God. There was a priestly line, the priestly line, according to the eighteenth chapter of Deuteronomy, was the Levitical priesthood, the whole tribe of Levi, and it is described there in verse 5, “For the Lord your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes to stand and serve in the name of the Lord forever.”
So being a priest was something you inherited because you were a part of the chosen line that had been determined by God as a matter of His own sovereign choice. You didn’t become a priest by your own will.
In the third chapter of Numbers, in the third verse, “the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests whom He ordained to serve as priests.” Again, if you were a priest, it was by the choice of God, a sovereign choice.
What about a prophet? An illustration from Jeremiah 1. Jeremiah 1:4, “Now the Word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born I consecrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ And I said, ‘Alas, Lord, God, behold, I don’t know how to speak, I’m a youth.’ The Lord said, ‘Do not say “I’m a youth,” because everywhere I send you, you shall go and all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the Lord. The Lord then stretched out His hand, touched my mouth. The Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms.’” This is indication both with kings and priests and prophets that they were chosen by God.
Number two, they were endowed with authority. They were divinely chosen and endowed with divine authority. They were agents of God, servants of God in the theocratic kingdom. As I said, to rule and to intercede on behalf of the people as priests and to proclaim the Word of God as prophets. In 2 Samuel 12, the prophet says, “You are the man.” “You are the man.” That’s Nathan to David. “You are the man; you have the authority.” This is just part of what it meant to be a king. You were endowed with divine authority. In other words, you were elevated above everybody else and in a very real sense you spoke for God. That comes out when you study the Word of God and you study how God imbued His leaders with authority to act on His behalf.
In Ecclesiastes 8, and there’s so many illustrations of this, but this is a kind of unusual one. In the eighth chapter of Ecclesiastes and verse 1, “Who is like the wise man, and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam. I say, keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” In other words, you don’t want to rebel against the king. You don’t want to join a mutiny against the king or some kind of a revolution against the king ’cause he is ordained by God and will do whatever he pleases.
Verse 4, “The word of the king is authoritative and since it is authoritative, who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” And so, Solomon there recognizes the authority that came with being the king. The same thing is true with priests. And I want to take you to the seventeenth chapter of Deuteronomy again, ’cause these are so important as foundations to understand. Deuteronomy 17, we read in verse 8, “If any case is too difficult for you to decide”—talking to the people of Israel as they go into the land, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, between one kind of assault or another, in cases of dispute in your courts—“then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses so you shall come to the Levitical priest, or the judge who is in office in those days, you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case.”
In other words, the priests were the judges in Israel and they had the authority. They possessed the authority to act, verse 11, “according to the terms of the law which they teach you and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the Word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die, thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. And then all the people will hear and be afraid and not act presumptuously again.”
So when it came to kings, they were endowed with authority. When it came to priests, they were also endowed with authority. And you find this not only there, but you find it in other places. If you go all the way to the book of Malachi, all the way to the end of the Old Testament, chapter 2, “‘Now this commandment is for you, O priests, if you do not listen and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name, then I will send a curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed I have cursed them already because you’re not taking it to heart. I’m going to rebuke your offspring. I’ll spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts and you’ll be taken away with it. Then you will know that I have sent this command to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,’ says the Lord of host.”
In other words, you’re responsible to give the Law to the people. You have the authority to do that and to hold them accountable to the Law. And if you don’t hear the Law, then the whole nation is in profound trouble, verse 7. “The lips of a priest should preserve knowledge,” “should preserve knowledge.” Then he indicts them for turning aside from it.
Aaron is actually called, on one occasion, “the holy one of the Lord,” “the holy one of the Lord.”
Well, what about the prophets. Well, I already read you; I don’t know that I need to read it again, just make a quick reference to it from Jeremiah 1. And not only was he called, but you remember in verse 6, he says, “I don’t know what to say.” The Lord says, “I’m going to tell you what to say. I’m going to...I’m going to put words,” verse 9, “in your mouth,” “words in your mouth.” You find the same kind of testimony from God to the prophet Haggai, in the prophet Haggai. “Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people showed reverence for the Lord by listening to the prophet.” Well, you get the picture.
If you were in one of these mediatorial offices, as a king, or a priest, or a prophet, you had been called by God to be placed there and you had been endowed with authority. Self-appointed people had no role to play. They are severely warned and judged. Usurping authority which was not given you by God was a severe crime. You can read that in the fourteenth chapter of Jeremiah and in the second chapter of Ezekiel.
Thirdly, these anointed mediators were empowered for service. They were empowered for service. When in 1 Samuel 10 Saul is identified as the king, God empowers him for service in 1 Samuel chapter 10. In 1 Samuel chapter 16, the same thing happens to David. David is placed into service to the Lord and we are told the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David, as I read you earlier, from that day forward.
Well, what about priests? Second Chronicles 24:20, 2 Chronicles 24:20 indicates to us that when men were placed into the role of priesthood, which they inherited, they were empowered by the Lord. They were given power from God. Here’s an illustration. Second Chronicles 24:20, “The Spirit of God came on Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest,” which means he was also a priest. “He stood above the people and said to them, ‘Thus God has said, “Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He has also forsaken you.”’” He said that under the power of the Holy Spirit. And, of course, we know when God calls Ezekiel in chapter 1, you can read it yourself, at the end of the first chapter of Ezekiel when God identifies Ezekiel and stretching all the way into the second chapter, it is the endowing of the Holy Spirit that empowers him. “As he spoke to me,” Ezekiel says in 2:2, “the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet and I heard Him speaking to me.”
Now although you don’t have every time a prophet shows up or a priest is named, or a king is put on a throne, you don’t necessarily have statements regarding this. It is still true of those mediatorial offices that they were all appointments from God, they were all endowed with authority, and they were all empowered for service. Obviously the apostate kings, the bad kings, the wicked kings, the evil kings had forfeited their function and we have the terrible history of that in the Old Testament.
So that’s what the messiahs of the Old Testament looked like. That’s who they were. When the Lord Jesus comes along, He’s the perfect prophet, the perfect priest, and the perfect king. All the offices come together. He is divinely chosen by God. Christ is God’s own elect. He is God’s chosen One. He possesses divine authority, all authority, and He is endowed with divine power in a way that is exponential and supernatural beyond all the others. But they are the pattern for him.
So when Andrew says to his brother, Peter, “We have found the anointed one,” he understood what he was talking about. The One who was the true and complete Mediator. In Psalm 2 we have a wonderful prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. “Why are the nations in an uproar and the people devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand. The rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed, His Messiah.” This is the introduction of the Messiah, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us.” This is the world rebelling against God. “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. He will speak to them in His anger, terrify them in His fury saying, ‘But as for me, I have installed My King upon Zion.’” The anointed one is God’s King who will be installed on Zion, the holy mountain.
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord. He said to Me, ‘You’re My Son, today I have begotten You.’” So the Son of God is the anointed One who will one day be placed on the throne and rule the whole world. Verse 8, “I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the very ends of the earth as your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron. You will shatter them like earthenware. Now, therefore, O King, show discernment, take warning, O judges of the earth, worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling, do homage to the Son that He be not angry and you perish in the way. For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”
So Psalm 2 talks about the Anointed One. They would have known Psalm 2. You remember in the book of Acts, chapter 4, Peter preaches, and this is right at the very beginning of the early church and Peter is talking about the Messiah. And these are the words that He chooses to use. “This Messiah, this Christ who by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our father, David, Your servant, is spoken of.” When the Old Testament says, Psalm 2, “Why did the Gentiles rage, the people devised futile things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His anointed.”
So Peter goes back to Psalm 2 and then says this, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant, Jesus, whom You anointed.” They were gathered against Your Anointed One.
Peter knew that Jesus was the Anointed One to come, and that’s essentially what Andrew is saying in John 1:41. So the Lord Jesus is the promised Messiah, and it is clear to us now what messiahs were—they were mediators. They were go-betweens. We know from the words of the apostle Paul that there is only one true Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus—one true Mediator. It is in Him then that all the offices come together—prophet, priest and king. He, 1 Timothy 2:5, becomes the one Mediator between the one God and man.
So when you come in to the New Testament, you find Jesus as a king. Even at His birth that is recognized. You find Him as a priest who provides intercession, who provides sacrifice, who Himself is the sacrifice who reconciles sinners to God. You find Him as the prophet, the very Word of God who speaks the truth of God and nothing but the truth of God.
In the one Mediator, the one Christ, all three functions combine. He rules for God. He brings men to God. And He brings the truth of God to men. Those are all mediating functions.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks and answers the question, “What offices does Christ execute?” The answer, “Christ as our Redeemer executes the office of a prophet, a priest and a king. Both in His estate of humiliation and exaltation, He is the mediator; He takes His office.”
One writer puts it this way: “A prophet, a Priest, and a King are essential needs for man whose sin necessarily separates him from God and precludes him from approaching God on his own. With the Fall came a tragic and drastic change in man and his relationship with the Lord. Iniquity separated man from God and sin hid God’s face from man. When man fell, he lost the knowledge of God that must be renewed if a man is to be saved from sin. So man needs a prophet to reveal God. When man fell he lost the righteousness and holiness in which he was created. So man needs a priest to reconcile him to God. When man fell, he became prey to the enemy of his soul who had power to hold him subject to bondage. Man needs a king to reign, to subdue every enemy of his soul. What man needed, God in His wondrous and amazing grace provided in the person of His own Son, his and our Messiah.”
All that the sinner needs is the Anointed One; one person fulfills all offices. So in the Old Testament there were many messiahs; there were many anointed; they were chosen; they had authority; they had power; but none was the saving Mediator; none was the Redeemer—only the Lord Jesus Christ. And by the way, He was chosen by God as all previous messiahs had been. He was God’s choice, the chosen one of God. He recognized that, He affirmed that, He declared that in the sixth chapter of John and verse 38, and again in the seventeenth chapter of John. He says in His prayer to the Father, “You...You gave Me authority over all flesh and to all whom You have given Me, I have been able to give eternal life.” In other words, You chose Me to be the anointed one. You chose Me to be the Messiah.
In Hebrews chapter 5, just another text that you can look at, and there are many: “So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest,” in other words, He didn’t put Himself in that position. He didn’t glorify Himself so as become a priest. “He said to Him, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” “Today I have begotten You.” Christ didn’t appoint Himself a priest; God appointed Him a priest, that’s what it’s saying.
So He was chosen by God, we saw in John 17:2, He was given authority by God. In fact, in Matthew 28 He says, “God gave Him all authority.” And, in fact, in John chapter 5, He is the Judge of all the living and dead. He is the One who determines people’s eternal destiny. He is the One who raises the dead and raises them to a life of eternal blessing, or eternal damnation. He also was endowed with the power of God, as you well know. In the early accounts of Luke, Luke chapter 3 and verse 22, “The Holy Spirit descended on Him” at His baptism. Chapter 4, verse 1, He is full of the Holy Spirit when He returns from the Jordan and is led into the wilderness to be tempted. And when that is over, in verse 14 of Luke 4, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. And in Matthew’s gospel He says, “Everything I do, I do by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
So when you look at Jesus, He fits the criteria: chosen by God, the single choice of God to be the embodiment and the fulfillment of all these offices. He is given full authority as God. He had authority over nature, authority over disease, authority over demons, authority over men, authority over the Sabbath which He demonstrated in His life. He was anointed by God. When? At His baptism. The Spirit came down upon Him, the Father said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
So when Andrew says, “We found the Anointed One,” there is so much in that statement. We found the perfect King, the perfect Priest, and the perfect Prophet. And Jesus is all of that, all of that. He is the perfect King. I simply remind you as we kind of draw this to a conclusion of things like this, concerning Christ from Ephesians 1, Christ whom He raised from the dead, “seated at His right hand in heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all and all.” That is the supremacy of Christ, the Lordship of Christ, the sovereignty of Christ. He is the true, ultimate, all glorious, all powerful King.
Colossians 1, very similar. “By Him all things were created in the heavens and earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him and He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church.” He is the prototokos, “the first-born from the dead” that He might have in everything first place. It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him. He is the absolute King, the absolute Ruler in time and throughout eternity. He rules now and He will rule in His millennial kingdom, according to Revelation 20, and He will rule in eternity, in heaven yet to come. He is the perfect King.
Secondly, He’s the perfect Priest. And the emphasis there takes you into the New Testament in very familiar places. Hebrews 2, Hebrews 7, Hebrews 9 where it talks about we have a high priest, one who can sympathize with our suffering, one who has provided for us what all the animal sacrifices could never provide for us. The importance of the book of Hebrews is based on the fact that it explains the fulfillment of everything from the Old Testament. Listen to 2:17, “we have a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” The priests offered sacrifices that were symbolic of the satisfying sacrifice which would be Christ and Christ alone. He who is our High Priest was tempted in all the things that He suffered and so He’s able to come to the aid of those who are also tempted.
In the seventh chapter of Hebrews and verse 24, Jesus is presented there in His permanent priesthood and as a permanent priest and high priest, “He’s able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Glorious language.
In the ninth chapter of Hebrews, the fourteenth verse, the blood of bulls and goats, verse 13, cannot save. But “how much more will the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” And as such, He is the mediator of a better and a new covenant. Glorious language concerning Christ. Verse 26, “He has been manifested [as a priest, a high priest] to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,” “of Himself.” It’s just an astonishing thing that Christ is the perfect King and the perfect Priest.
Finally, we all understand He’s the perfect Prophet. He Himself says, “I only say what the Father tells Me to say. I only repeat what I hear the Father say. I only do the will of the Father.” Hebrews 1:1, “God spoke in the past to the fathers in the prophets in many portions, in many ways, but in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” His Son is the voice of God most clearly declared. He is the truth of God. He is the Word of God.
Of all who have ever ruled for God, He is the preeminent One. Of all who have ever offered sacrifices to God, He is the preeminent One. Of all who have ever spoken for God, He is the preeminent One. He is flawless, He is perfect, He has no equal, He has no parallel. This is the Messiah. And when Andrew said, “We have found Him,” he had made the greatest discovery that anybody can ever, ever make—ever make.
One day while we’re looking at Hebrews 9, one day, verse 28 says, “Christ...who was offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.” Sin was taken care of in His first coming. He will come a second time to bring salvation to its fullness and gather us into heaven’s glory those of us who eagerly await Him. How eager were those men that we talked about this morning for the Messiah to come? How eager was Anna and Simeon? How eager were John and James? How eager were many others who believed to see the Messiah? The Messiah. His messiahship is most clearly validated in His resurrection. It is most triumphantly validated in His resurrection. Listen to Luke 24:25, the words of Jesus: “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken, was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter His glory? To suffer and die and come out of the grave and enter His glory.” Later on He meets with the disciples and He says, “‘Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your heart? See My hands and My feet that it is I Myself, touch Me and see. A spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when He had said, He showed them His hands and His feet.”
While they still couldn’t believe because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat? And he gave Him a piece of broiled fish and He took it and ate it before them. Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ And He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day. And then repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem and you are witnesses of these things. So I’m sending forth the promise of My Father on you, the Holy Spirit, stay in the city until He comes and clothes you with power.’”
You know, we think like Gentiles because we are Gentiles. But maybe tonight, for just a few moments, you’ve been able to think like Andrew thought and to understand that when he said we have found the Messiah that was just packed with significant meaning. We know it so well from the New Testament side; how much better we will understand the New Testament side having understood a little of the Old Testament.
Father, thank You for our time tonight. It’s been a delight and a joy to consider these truths. Again we are amazed, amazed at the consistency of Holy Scripture. We are struck again by the fact that we hold in our hands a divine book, that this is not human, that these things are just way beyond human ingenuity, way beyond human crafting—these massive, sweeping concepts that are fulfilled in Jesus Christ in perfect detail, perfect harmony. Two books, two ancient books, one more ancient than the other, which prophesies the One who will come and hundreds of years later the second book, which gives the full record of His having arrived. This is the Bible. This is the one true book from You, O God. May we love it, cherish it, and find joy in every element of its revelation. And if there are any here who still have not embraced Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and Redeemer and Sacrifice for sin, may they do that now, may the testimony of Scripture even in looking at this one concept of Messiah be an overwhelming evidence that Jesus is who He claimed to be.
Yes, they said, we have found the Messiah, and He is the One of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote, and He is the Son of God, the promised Prophet, Priest, and King. We thank You for this truth and, more than that, we thank You that You have brought us to the knowledge of that truth by Your sovereign grace. You have enlightened our darkened minds, You have given sight to our blind eyes. You have given us life in the midst of death. You have given us faith in the midst of unbelief. You have caused us to come to repentance in the midst of self-righteousness and self-protecting pride, and You’ve brought us into Your kingdom and now we see...we see Christ, we see Him in all His glory. And we love and adore Him and worship Him with thankful hearts.
We pray for those who have not yet come to Christ in our circle of family and friends, that You would be gracious and show them the glory of Christ that they might fall before Him, embracing Him as Messiah and Lord and Redeemer. We thank You for a wonderful day together in His name. Amen.
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