To “kick things off”, so to speak, it is helpful to review the material we have gone through in the past year.
But, oh what material! To plumb the depths of what we’ve studied so far in the Gospel According to Luke would take not only hours, but weeks or even years!
Therefore, a particular “triad” that many theologians have used through history, when speaking of Jesus Christ, will be useful for our purposes: his offices of prophet, priest and king.
A. CHRIST AS PROPHET
Defined as the Very Word of God (Jn 1:1, 14), whose authority leaves people amazed when He speaks (Lk 4:31-32). His authoritative words teach people in the following ways: pronouncing judgment upon those who reject God; and issuing warnings, commands and promises to His people.
1. His pronouncements of judgment include the following:
“His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Lk 3:17)
"This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here” (Lk 11: 29-31)
"This generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.” (Lk 11: 50-51)
(see also Lk 3:14-38; 6:24-26; 6:49; 11:24-26)
2. His warnings to his people include:
”For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." (Lk 8:17-18)
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (Lk 9:57-58)
"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” (Lk 11:34-35)
3. His commands to his people consist of:
repentance - Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."(Lk 5:31-32)
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Lk 9:23)(see also Lk 6:41-42)
faith – “But say the word, and my servant will be healed….When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."(Lk 7:7,9)
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Lk 7:50)
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."(Lk 8:25)
prayer - “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Lk 6:28)
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Lk 11:9-10)
showing love, mercy and forgiveness – “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk 6:35-36)”
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Lk 6:37)
"But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.” (Lk 11:41)
accepting the truth about Christ - Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God." (Lk 9:18-20)
attentiveness and obedience to Christ’s words - "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. (Lk 6:46-48)
4. His promises to his people include:
The fulfillment, in His own person, of Old Testament prophecies - The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Lk 4:17-21)
Power to wage war against Satan, and eternal life - He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Lk 10:18-20)
The power and presence of the Holy Spirit - If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Lk 11:13)
Question for discussion: Reflect for a moment on Ps 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” How do Jesus’ words in particular function as a light for you?
B. CHRIST AS PRIEST
Defined as the position Christ has taken of a) coming to earth as a human, to identify with those whom he would redeem; b) fulfilling God’s will perfectly in their place, by living a life of love; c) paying the penalty for the sin of all who would trust in Him; and d) making intercession for them.
1. Evidence of his thorough, complete humanity includes:
His growth and development from boyhood to manhood: - “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Lk 2:52)
His need for sleep - One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. (Lk 8:22)
His need for food, and his vulnerability to temptation - And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. (Lk 4:1-2)
His willingness to be baptized (though He didn’t need to be), and His devotion to prayer - When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. (Lk 3:21)(for more on His praying, also see Lk 5:16; 6:12; 9:28)
2. Evidence of His compassion and mercy upon sinners includes:
His particular interest in the poor, weak and disenfranchised – shown in his willingness to heal the paralyzed and the leprous (Lk 5:12-26); to minister to women (who were not considered citizens at the time – Lk 7:36-50; 8:43-48; 10:38-39) and to those who were not of His own people, i.e. Gentiles (Lk 8:26-38; 10:25-37). His propensity to heal sickness and disease, or even to raise some from death – more about this in the “Christ as King” section.
His willingness to forgive sin - When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." (Lk 5:20-24)
Question for discussion: Why is the humanity of Jesus an essential part of Christianity? What would be the implications for us if He had not been fully human?
C. CHRIST AS KING
As King, Jesus is the mighty Creator who rules the universe through creation, providence, and miracles. Through all of these acts, He ensures the ultimate redemption of His people, and ultimately, the heavens and the earth.
1. His provision of power and resources to His people:
He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." (About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each." The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Lk 5:13-17)
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Lk 11:9)
2. His power over nature and death, as shown through His miracles:
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.(Lk 5:12-13)
Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Lk 7:14-15)
The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." (Lk 8:24-25)
3. His initiative in sending out His followers to proclaim the coming rule of God - When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Lk 9:1-2)
Question for discussion: In what ways does the lordship of Christ both encourage you and humble you?
NEXT WEEK: WE PICK UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF IN JUNE!
In preparation for next Sunday, please read: Luke 12:13-21
(Also read 1 Tim 6:3-10, 17-19; Jas 4:1-4; Col 3:5-6; Deut 8:10-18; Ps 73; Pr 14:12; 18:11; Matt 13:22; Rev 3:17)