Christian Joy 107: the Positions of Christ (1 of 3)

My goal in this series is our greater joy in Jesus, even in complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, etc.  So, each time I will offer a buffet on 8 ‘P’s of good news.  Chew and savor whatever helps your joy in Jesus.  “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1) 

Remember the analogies we’ve been using to help us understand basics of the gospel as a paradigm like basketball, a musical score, or highway? Any paradigm first requires understanding of its truths. What does each line on the court mean? What is the best way to position my fingers on the guitar? Where are the most important places for me to look when driving? Who owns the team, band, or car? What is the owner’s character, and what do they expect? Does the owner work through others, and if so, how can I know the level of their authority and trustworthiness? And how will it go for me? In the gospel, God reveals the basics and more through Jesus Christ, His Son and perfect Prophet.

Again, the entire creation week introduces 8 basics of God’s love story in Jesus, and the stage is set by all the “P”s we’ve seen so far: Christ’s presence, plain-speaking, protection, provision, purpose, and places. The next three articles will consider His “positions” (offices/roles) revealed on the 6th day of creation as the height of God’s love: Man, made in Christ’s image as prophet, priest, and king of God’s love in which we’re to rest, rejoice, and reproduce. And after we look at each position, we’ll complete our study of joy with love’s finale in Christian Joy 108: God’s peace, pictured on the 7th day.

For joy is by Life from God, through God, and for God as revealed in the Bible. (Romans 11:33-36) And Christ’s Positions (offices) interconnect as one 3-D image of how He fulfills His Purpose of love. Just seeing these basics, however, won’t bring us joy. We need to rest in God’s Word as True and rejoice in Him as Good. But as sinful people our human nature loves our comfort zones rather than God as He is revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ. So, we need the gracious, invasive, transforming, securing love of Christ that He works by His offices: a “3-D” love. As Prophet He brings God’s Word “top down” to people; as Priest He enables worship from His people, “bottom up” to God; as King He advances His kingdom “all around”; and He saves sinners to love in similar ways. These three offices reveal a “3-D” picture of love in action, but the first and foundational office is that of Prophet for Truth.

Notice that Genesis 1:2 implies that the Holy Spirit was “hovering” until God spoke, for we first need God’s Word of truth and then His Spirit to bring us to life. (Genesis 2:7, Ezekiel 37:9, John 3:1-8 and 16:12-15, Acts 10:44ff, 1 Corinthians 2:4-13, Ephesians 1:13, 1 Thessalonians 1:5, etc.) God’s prophets tell us His character (and ours), His plan, commands, promises, etc. to inform the work of the priest and king. Thus, Romans 10:14ff emphasizes hearing and believing God’s Word (the focus of prophets as the foundational truth about love in Romans 1-16) before we can love God by worship (the focus of priests and glorious goal of love for God in Romans 1-11) and love others by serving (the focus of kings and application of love toward others in Romans 12-16). God set the precedent of truth in Eden (trusting Him over independent knowledge of good and evil), reinforced it on Sinai, and clarified love’s truth in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the rest of the New Testament. (Ephesians 2:19-22) Thus, all of these three offices are essential, but only Christ can fulfill them as has done so perfectly. Without His truth, we would follow our desires into a self-centered hell on earth and hell’s fire eternally. Thus, our first need is Jesus’ truth as God’s prophet.  Consider the video below.

 

Yet, our human nature daily tries to define our own sense of “positions” (roles) for our own purposes. Since God made each of us in His image, it shouldn’t surprise us that we instinctively live in different roles: husbands & wives, teachers & students, supervisors & subordinates, sellers & buyers, etc. But our sins and others’ sins distort and damage real love. So, before any of us will seek Jesus as our solution, we need to understand our need for His good news in practical areas such as our day-to-day roles. For some examples of this need, you can listen to my Mom and me in this next video.

 

The first and last videos of each article in this sub-series are specific to one of Christ’s three offices, so they will change with each article, but this second and third are general to all three. They remain to remind us of our need and His solution in all three. As God the Son, Jesus loves in these ways because God the Father called Him to fulfill three specific aspects of love through God the Holy Spirit. (John 14-17) For a brief illustration of a person in different roles, watch this next video.

 

Therefore, Christ’s first “position” (office/role) is Prophet for every truth that God wants us to know. But what about truths we want to know? It seems that all human activity seeks truth for at least one question: “Who am I?” If you’re not convinced, think about how we typically introduce ourselves. We describe our role or “office” of relationship: someone’s spouse or parent, worker for an organization, etc. The more important question should be, “Who is God?”, for He made us in His image. And He’s answered the question of our identify, purpose, and more by His prophets (Exodus 3-4, Deuteronomy 13, Acts 14:3, etc.) but most fully in His Son. (Luke 24:44, Ephesians 2:19-21, Hebrews 1:1-4, etc.)

Let’s use our analogies of basketball, a musical score, and highway to think about how Jesus as prophet relates to the other “P”s of the gospel we’ve covered so far. E.g., professional coaches come to people with talent and potential. Jesus and His prophets tell us His presence is by His grace to the undeserving. (1 Corinthians 1:26ff) Plain-speaking will be the mark of any good director, telling their musicians the bad news about missed notes or timing in practices and concerts for the duration of their contract. Jesus and His prophets speak plainly about our very souls being bent toward self in all of life and the stakes of eternal joy or suffering. (2 Timothy 4:1-5) All good managers of pit crews tell the truth about protection and provision for the car and driver to fulfill their purpose of cash prizes, notoriety, and other pleasures that may fail and will certainly fade over time. Jesus and His prophets tell us the truth about perfect protections and provisions for His eternal purpose of love that never fails or fades. (see all of 1 Peter). Coaches, directors, and pit-crews typically tell their people about places with lower risk and higher pay-off for themselves. Jesus and His prophets tell the truth about sending us into the world of higher-risk for highest payoff, even for our enemies. (see Matthew 5 and 10) This is why He and His prophets rebuked all who neglected or distorted God’s Word. (see Deuteronomy 12:32, Joshua 1:1-9, Proverbs 30:6, Matthew 23:1-12, all of 1 John, Revelation 22:18, etc.)

So, the first of Christ’s “positions” as Prophet has many practical implications and joys, too. Lauren and I discuss some of these below.  As you listen, remember, the 8 “P”s of the gospel form a paradigm like a sport, musical score, or highway. Each office of Christ supports His “main event”, and prophets tell us the basic truths we need to know. No wonder John wrote to tell us Jesus is the Christ (John 20:31) and referred to “truth” 23 times and “believe” 84 times.

 

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If you’d like to know more about who publishes the articles, videos, and other materials on tools4trenches, you can click on the picture of me and my wife.

 

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