All Roads Lead To Jesus - I Samuel

I Samuel – Jesus is Prophet, Priest and King
Reading: Matthew 17:5, Acts 2:30-33, Romans 8:34

I was watching a stand-up comedian on Netflix last night when he got into politics. After bashing the current President for a while, he took aim at the last President we had. I was sort of amused that this comedian took the time to point out the flaws in both Presidents – and by the way, it was very funny.

But he said something that made me think in the middle of all the laughter. The Presidency is not really a job you seek if you want to be liked. The comedian made the point that no matter how well a President does, we will always find something about them that we don’t like or agree with and they will fail us. It is true of Presidents and it is true of any leader that the world has ever seen in any function no matter how big or how small. Kings fail. Pastors fail. Bosses fail. Parents fail. Teachers fail. Humans fail. But Jesus never did and he never will.

Israel clamored for a king. The nations around them had a king so they wanted a king. Perhaps they thought that a king would be more accessible than God. Maybe they wanted to be cool like all of the other kids. Whatever the reason, they really wanted a king.

Israel had always been a Theocracy. What that means is that God ruled directly over His people through mediators. Moses was the first mediator that led Israel out of Egypt. Aaron was a priestly mediator that made sacrifices on Israel’s behalf. Joshua was the captain of the army and a great leader that spoke directly with God. Each of the judges such as Sampson, Deborah, and Gideon had encounters with God so that they knew how to lead God’s people. God had used prophets and priests to relay His word and will to Israel. They had not needed a king. But now they cried for one.

God gave Israel what they wanted. Saul was the first king to rule over Israel. But he was not a king who sought to do God’s will. He was prideful and at times impetuous. He was not the ruler that Israel needed. After Saul, David would rule but he was also an imperfect king. Every king that followed Saul and David was deficient. Even the good ones had their issues.

God also used prophets and priests to intercede for His people. Prophets spoke God’s words after Him. They warned kings and rulers of God’s judgment. Priests atoned for the sins of Israel. They followed an intricate sacrificial system that had been laid out in the books of Moses. Kings ruled and protected God’s people. Prophets spoke for God. Priests interceded for God’s people by offering sacrifices and leading worship.

But what we find out quickly throughout Samuel’s narratives and the following historical accounts and prophets in the Old Testament is that none of the prophets, priests or kings were perfect. Kings often failed to rule justly and allowed God’s people to worship false idols. Prophets didn’t always speak up when they were called to do so. Priests often abused the priesthood and did not live up to their duties. It was a mess. As it goes with men, they tended to make a mess of things.

Each prophet, priest, and king in the Old Testament is meant to point us to Christ. Jesus fulfilled the offices of prophet, priest, and king perfectly. He did what none of the other prophets, or priests, or kings could do. Let me try and show you how he did this.

As a prophet, he revealed God’s perfect word to us. John says in his Gospel account that Jesus was the Word. He taught us everything that God wanted us to know about our lives, this world, and his kingdom. Jesus instructed his disciples to teach new disciples everything he had taught them. As the perfect prophet, Jesus taught us the way into the Kingdom of God and how we ought to live our lives in a way that glorifies God.

As a priest, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice on the Cross. This is what Christians mean when they talk about Jesus “dying for their sins”. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is a better high priest than any other priest that had come before him. Each of the priests before Jesus offered sacrifices, but they did not atone for the sins of God’s people. Those sacrifices could only point forward to the sacrifice that would atone for the sins of God’s people, which of course is Jesus Christ. Jesus as our Great High Priest offered the final sacrifice for the sins of God’s people that absorbed all of God’s wrath and opened the way to a restored and reconciled relationship. As our priest, Jesus also makes intercession for God’s people. Paul says in his letter to Timothy that there is one mediator between God and man and that this mediator is Christ Jesus. Without Jesus making intercession for us there could be no salvation and there would be no prayers that are heard. God hears you because He is not only listening as Father, but He is interceding as the Son.  

As our king, Jesus rules over us, he defends us, and he makes his and our enemies a footstool. Have you ever had someone take up for you or protect you? When I was in high school, I watched as a fellow student was being bullied by some of his classmates. I was afraid to do anything until I could get some reinforcements. He couldn’t take up for himself because he wasn’t strong enough. But then, all of a sudden, a Senior stepped in and took up for the boy. The bullies scattered. Jesus protects us. He protects us from worse enemies than bullies (though sometimes he also puts bullies in their place through works of providence). Jesus is fighting our spiritual battles. When he is finished conquering his and our enemies, he is going to return and make all things new. When the King returns, the enemies will not only scatter, but they will be decimated for good.

This is all good news for those who are in Christ Jesus. Every leader is going to fail us just like Saul failed and every king after him failed. But Jesus will not fail us. We can rest in his kingship knowing he is a just King, we can rejoice in his priesthood knowing He is the final sacrifice, and we can know God by his Word because Jesus as the better prophet is the Word.

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