Advent Devotion for December 7
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “We have a king and a priest in the same person.”
SCRIPTURE: Zechariah 6:9-13
9 Then I received another message from the Lord: 10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 8:1-6
8 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. 2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.
3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
MUSIC: Let All Mortal Flesh - Plymouth Congregation in Lincoln, NE (YouTube)
SOME THOUGHTS: At first glance, the idea of a person being both king and priest would appear to have little significance in your life today as you read this! What difference does it make if someone holds both offices? Actually, it has a direct bearing on your day today and makes an enormous difference. Here’s how. Remember context is everything when you read the Scriptures. You’ll recall that King Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, was the first king of Israel. He got into serious trouble when he grew impatient in waiting for the priest, Samuel, to come to offer sacrifices in worship and so assumed the role of priest and offered them himself. The result was that God stripped him of his kingship and he lost the throne to David, from the tribe of Judah. Priests were to come only from the tribe of Levi. In verse 11, in the passage from Zechariah, we see the word “Jeshua,” a variant of “Joshua,” which in Greek, translates “Jesus.” The reference in verse 12 to “the Branch” is a direct reference to the Messiah. Zechariah prophesies that the “Branch” will be both king and priest. (Prophets were the third category of spiritual leadership.) The only previous case of a person serving as both king and priest had to do with Melchizedek, (but we’ll save that study for the Lenten booklet!) The point of Zechariah is perfect harmony between the two roles. When we look at the Hebrews passage, we see that the place of the ministry of the High Priest has moved from earth to the right hand of the Father in heaven where Jesus intercedes on your behalf as you read this. The location of this temple was built by God, not by human hands. Though Jesus was not from the priestly tribe, God appointed him as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek who also was not from the Levitical tribe. Our Savior is Prophet, Priest, and King from everlasting to everlasting. Once again, the person, life, and ministry of Jesus fills the pages of the Old Testament and fills the pages of your life today.
PRAYER: Almighty God and loving Father, in the seeming nonstop movement of our daily lives, bring us up short that we may see and act on what is truly eternal. It is so easy to be consumed by the immediacy of the life all around us. There are parties, gifts, work… It is common to miss you all together. Yet you manage perfectly as Prophet, one who is perfectly attuned to the Father in your speech. You manage perfectly as King, one who rules the universe and all things seen and unseen. You manage perfectly as Priest, one who represents and who presents all before the Father through your own shed blood. Lord Jesus, may our mortal flesh be quiet that we may participate with you in the building of your Kingdom through the Holy Spirit. This we pray in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. — Dan Sharp