Friday, May 02, 2008

Prophet and Priest and King

I've been struck yet again by how much the letter to the Hebrews says about Jesus; it seems to me that this book might be the grand-daddy of New Testament theology. Chapter 1 begins with this astonishing statement:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV)
From this we see that Jesus is
  • Prophet: God spoke to us by Jesus. This is what prophets do -- they speak on God's behalf to wo/men;
  • Priest: he provided purification for sins. Priests do this too (per chapter 5): they represent wo/men to God;
  • King: He's the heir of all things, and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
This sets the tone for the whole book; as I've noted before, this author loves to talk about how great Jesus is.

As followers of Jesus, as his brothers (per chapter 2), I think we play these roles to various degrees. We are to be prophets when opportunities arise to tell the truth and we act as priests whenever we pray for anyone. And though we are not kings, we were created by God to rule over creation.

So, although I don't think we should take ourselves too seriously, we need to remember that in this world we have roles and functions related to God: representing him to our fellow-humans; representing them to God; and acting as regents over the earth. We are prophets and priests and kings.

Therefore our lives mean something; they don't mean nothing. And each day is a gift -- it's something important, not something meaningless. It matters. You and I matter. And that too is a gift.

written on the train this morning

No comments: