Jesus is our King. He’s in charge of the world. He’s making it revolve and rotate. He’s not an absent deity who just watches the globe go round. He’s very much involved with what happens. He’s making history go, always working to get His Gospel through the ears of people into their hearts. He’s caring for us, protecting us, holding the devil at bay. He has judged us innocent of sin by judging Himself guilty of it, and then He declared it all forgiven.
He is our Priest. He made a Sacrifice on Calvary. He sacrificed Himself. He gave up His life. He gave Himself up 100% to our salvation. The priests offered sacrifices every day, morning and evening, to appease God. The High Priest once a year scattered blood over The Ark of The Covenant so God could no longer see their sins, so He would forget them. Christ shed His Blood and God forgot all the sins of the world forever.
He is also our Prophet. When we think of prophets, we think of people who tell the future. We might want somebody to tell us who’s going to be president next or how many children we’ll have, where we’ll live, or when the world will end or when we’ll die. Then we’d know how to go about the rest of our life or how we should act today, tomorrow, next week, next year. One New Testament prophet even talked about a famine that was about to come.
Is that what being a prophet is all about? The Old Testament prophets foretold the future of the people, but they did so with 1 goal in mind: their salvation. They told about the coming Christ, how He would be born of a Virgin and die on a Cross. But He would rise again the third day and send His Spirit to His faithful people. They foretold all this.
But that’s not all they did. They also preached. Samuel reproved Saul many times before he finally had to tell him God had rejected him as king. Nathan called David to repentance over the Bathsheba affair. Isaiah and other prophets also preached God’s Law to kings who were breaking it and not pleasing God. St. John the Baptist eventually lost his life because he preached against Herod Antipas’ sins. But Nathan also brought to David the Gospel –God would send the Savior through the line of his second son with Bathsheba: Solomon.
Prophets also prayed for the people. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much, says St. James. So Abraham prayed for Abimelech after that king returned Sarah to him. Then God healed him and his royal house of the illness he had imposed on them for taking Sarah into his harem. David’s prophecies were all in the form of the prayers called his Psalms.
Jesus is a Prophet. He’s The Prophet Moses promised Israel, The Prophet he said would arise from the people and be like him. How would He be like Moses? Moses led Israel to freedom from Egyptian slavery to their promised home. Jesus leads us from slavery to sin to freedom as God’s children on our way to our promised home: paradise. How is Jesus a prophet on His Cross? I don’t think we think much about that. But we can see it in His prayers, His word to the thief on His right, and in His dying statement.
We first see The Prophet at work in His prayers. His very first statement on The Cross was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” They had just nailed Him to that instrument of torturous capital punishment They were dividing up His clothes as their payment for doing this. They tried to give Him a nasty drink. They were already mocking Him. Yet He prayed God to forgive them. Did this prayer matter? It teaches us Jesus went to His Cross in order to forgive sins. Do you realize it bore fruit that very day? Those Romans had no clue Who they were killing. Those thieves really didn’t know at first Who they were crucified with. But 1 of those thieves, we’ll hear from him again, came to confess Him as his Lord and King. The centurion himself, the guy in charge of the proceedings, when he saw everything that happened when Jesus died, confessed Him to be The Son of God without a doubt. His prayer was most effective.
He still does this for you. He prayed later on, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me.” At the end, He prayed, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.” Some think He prayed the entire Psalter there, or at least Psalm 22:1-31:5. God had forsaken Him so we will never be forsaken by Him in hell because He forgave our sins by His Death. The Father heard this prayer, for He received Him when He died. Now He is risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. There He continues to intercede for you. There He continues to remind His Father what He did for you so God will always forgive your sins. There He works to ensure your salvation. There He hears your prayers and answers them according to His good pleasure, always as is best for you, not however you think best. He cared for His Mother as He was dying by entrusting her to St. John, and now He cares for you.
He also shows He is our Prophet in the words He said to the thief: “Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” That thief didn’t deserve to hear those words. He had obviously done more than just stolen a few times to get himself crucified. He had to be a pretty bad man. Yet against all odds Jesus tells him he’ll soon be with him in paradise. What great and comforting words he was able to replay in his mind as he waited to die. Jesus could say this for 2 reasons: He saw the man was sorry for his sins and wanted to trust Him for salvation. He also knew the future; He saw that man at His side, not on The Cross, but beside His throne.
This is the message He gives you. You will be with Him in Paradise. You are like the thief. You are a sinner. You don’t deserve His grace. You deserve God to forsake you in hell. You are not a thief, but you have wished you could have the car, the boat, the spouse, that guy down the street has. You have not killed, but you have wished that coworker, that classmate, that neighbor would just go away and never come back. So turn to Him in faith. Beg Him to remember you in His kingdom. If He remembers you He will keep you in His mind and want to help you. His help is to promise you paradise. This promise gives you comfort in this life as you bear your crosses, as you deal with sickness and rejection, pain and loss. The joys of that heavenly place He has for you far surpass the sorrows of this life.
We also see this Prophet at work when He says: “It is finished.” He had thirsted for our salvation and now He had completed that work. He had paid double full price for all our sins by shedding His Blood and suffering hell. All that was left was for Him to lay down His life . . . only to take it up again. He proclaims to you your salvation is accomplished, completed, 100% done. You owe God nothing for your sins. You can do nothing to get it yourself. You need do nothing. He has done it all. He’s won it for you. He gives it to you. His Spirit leads you to trust in Him and to believe these words (TLH 177:9-10):
Whoe’er, by sense of sin opprest, Upon these words his thoughts will rest, He joy and hope obtaineth And through God’s love and boundless grace A peaceful conscience gaineth.
O Jesus Christ, Thou Crucified, Who hast for our offenses died, Grant that we e’er may ponder Thy wounds, thy cross, Thy bitter death, Both here below and yonder.