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)
Again, let’s use our analogies of basketball, a musical score, or highway to help us understand the basics of the gospel as a paradigm. Last time we explored the fact that any paradigm is founded on an understanding of its truths. But just as important is a paradigm’s second requirement: consuming passion for the game, music, race, etc. Athletes who love the game play harder and with more joy than those who are only “in it to win it” for money or fame. Musicians who dream of music, walk in rhythm, and play even when it doesn’t pay seek to satisfy their audiences by passionate performance. Drivers who attend to every sound and vibration until they become one with the car have an intuition and confidence that inspire others to ride with them and learn from them. And in the gospel, God enables the greatest passion to love Him and others through Christ, His Son and perfect Priest.
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. This sub-series considers His positions (offices/roles) revealed on the 6th day of creation in 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. After we look at each position, we’ll complete our study of joy with love’s finale in Christian Joy 108: God’s peace in 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. As I said last time, simply understanding the basics won’t bring us joy. Our minds must rest in God as true revealed by Jesus’ work as God’s perfect prophet. And our hearts must rejoice in God as good, which requires Jesus’ work as God’s perfect priest. But our human nature tends to worship our comfort zones rather than God. So, we need the gracious, invasive, transforming, securing love of Christ in all three of 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 offices are a “3-D” picture of love in action. The first office is that of prophet for truth. The second is that of priest for worship.
Clearly God’s first act in creation was speaking. Each day He introduced gospel basics, including Christ’s office of prophet by His speaking. (Genesis 1:3-26, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16, etc.) He also introduced Christ’s office of priest by the significance of His words. Remember, God is not random, and the Bible is not unscientific. God’s Word is about worship. Day one’s light before the physical lights reveal His covenant presence foretelling a relationship of worship by His undeserving people; day two’s silence in not declaring it “good” foretells His displeasure at the later separation of heaven and earth and implies His desire for our joyful intimacy with Him; day three’s drawing back of the seas and creation of seed-bearing plants prepare us for seasons of worship, signaled by the celestial calendar on day four; and day five’s unusual listing of some creatures above and below before day six and the rest of His creatures picture where we are to live our worship. And such all-pervasive love from us requires the work of God’s perfect priest. Consider the following video.
Yet, our human nature daily tries to define our own sense of “positions” (roles) for our own purposes. Again, the two videos in this section are repeated. The first is to remind us of our need for Christ in the “offices” (roles) in which we all live, since our sins and others’ sins distort and damage real love. For examples of our need for good news, you can listen to my Mom and me below.
The second video here offers a simple illustration to show how one person often serves in many roles or “offices”. Jesus loves by three specific ways because His Father called Him to fulfill three specific aspects of love through the Holy Spirit. (John 14-17) Consider the next video.
Thus, Christ’s second “position” is Priest for the worship God calls His people to enjoy and express. Biblical worship is the deepest love for God as revealed in Christ for broad love toward others that points them to Christ, too. Worship is not music at church, good feelings during a sermon, or even our mere decision to serve in church services and programs. All those can occur without sacrificial love and joy in Christ. Worship is passionate, dedicated service to whomever or whatever is the center of our life and the motivation of our actions from day-to-day. That’s why some use the word to describe their love for sports, sex, money, and more. (1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Galatians 4:8ff, Colossians 3:3ff) Such sins and daily temptations are why we need God’s Priest, Jesus, to enable us to worship only Him. (see John 17, Romans 12:1-3, Ephesians 3:14-21, and all of Hebrews, etc.)
Again, let’s use our analogies to see how Jesus as priest relates to the gospel’s other “P”s we’ve seen so far. For example, athletes who don’t love Christ might offer their presence to fans based on their abilities, reputation, money, etc., and deserve His rightful judgment for trying to put themselves on His throne over their lives. But Jesus as priest, in keeping with His covenant presence, came to sinners and died in their place so they can enjoy real relationships of love with God. (Romans 5:6-11) Musicians who don’t love Him are often plain-speaking about the failings of other entertainers and leaders but rarely about their own. As priest for all who follow Jesus by faith in Him, He is plain-speaking to discipline us for our failings so we will turn away from foolishness for pure relationships again. (Ezekiel 18-23-24, Hebrew 12:6) Racecar drivers may be fearful or proud resulting in self-focused worship that seeks protection from physical danger and provision for physical success for their purpose of worldly rewards. Jesus as priest cleanses and transforms lovers of self to become lovers of God and others by His indwelling Spirit. (Romans 15:15-16, 1 Peter 2:1-5, etc.) Most sports teams, bands, and racing crews love safe and welcoming places where they can shine and receive from others. Jesus as priest goes (and sends His people) to risky and even hostile places so Christ’s forgiveness and transforming power can shine on the spiritually dead and hurting. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18, 2 Timothy 3:1-17, etc.) This is why Jesus and His Old Testament priests called us to rest in His supernatural grace, not our works. (Deuteronomy 10:12-16, Hosea 6:6, all of Galatians, etc.)
So, the second of Christ’s “positions” as Priest has many practical implications and joys, too. Lauren and I discuss some of these on the next video. As you listen, remember that the gospel’s 8 “P”s form a paradigm like a sport, musical score, or highway; each office of Christ supports His “main event”; and priests enable the love we need. That’s why the book of Hebrews points believers back to Jesus as our High Priest. They were focused on lesser hopes which are no hope at all.