Sermon – December 23, 2018
We have focused this month on the great task God has laid before us: bringing the gospel to all nations, making disciples for the fame of the name of Jesus Christ. We have done this, in part, because December is the month of the Lottie Moon offering that goes directly to support international missions. We have reviewed the necessary importance of mission, and implored all to be involved fully in missions, whether through praying, sending, going, or giving. Yet, all this is lost if we don’t understand the mission of Jesus in coming in the first place. We are sent out by Jesus as Jesus has been sent out by the Father, so what was Jesus’ mission? He was:
1. A Prophet who reveals
Prophets are often thought of as just announcing the future. This is, of course, part of their task, but they are primarily sent not to speak of the future, but of God’s nature. Prophets reveal who God is. Moses explained the very nature and character of God to a people who did not know him. So, when tucked up in the cleft of the mountain, Moses heard that God was, at the same time, both forgiving and unwilling to let the guilty go free, we are right to wonder how these two things can be held together. We only get the final picture when Jesus is crucified. Here, unlike anywhere else, is God revealed in himself: Jesus both taking on the penalty of our sin and forgiving it at the same time! Jesus, therefore, is not just a prophet, but the prophet, showing us the nature of God as his image in the world.
2. A Priest who redeems
The priests in the OT found the pinnacle of their work on the day of atonement, when they atoned for the sins of the people. Those of the tribe of Levi, who were set aside for this task, would sprinkle blood year after year to make right the sins of God’s people. Yet, Jesus has come to be a better high priest. This might seem odd, as he was not from the tribe of Levi, but there is a good reason. Jesus is a better high priest, not from the physical appointed tribe, but made a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, who had no beginning or end. The blood of bulls and goats can only cover sins, not take them away, therefore they were offered year after year. Jesus blood can cleanse you fully!
3. A King who rules
Kings are given for two reasons. First, they provide order. God’s kingly rule is seen in the first chapters of the bible as he overcomes the chaos and formlessness of creation by forming it, giving order. Jesus, as the King of Kings, likewise gives order. He does this, at times, through orders to his people, not simply that we might obey him, but for our own good! Secondly, he fights for his people. David fought while Saul sat. So, Jesus stands up to the great enemy of God’s people: Satan. His victory on the cross is ours; we conquer through the blood of the lamb.
Let us take the mission of Jesus forward. He came to reveal God, make redemption, and rule wisely. We extend that by taking the good news of his death and resurrection to a world that does not know God and needs his redemption, swamped by chaos and disorder in the world. Let us preach this message far and wide – Joy to the world, the Lord is come!