Jesus—Priest and King!

For generations the Jewish people had looked for the prophesied Messiah. Each generation prayed that the Messiah would come during their time and for years the people were disappointed. Each time the Jewish people were placed under the bondage of other countries (Assyria, Babylon, Rome) the Jews prayed for their salvation through the promised Messiah. To the Jewish people, the Messiah meant salvation, redemption, and power for the all of Israel. They wanted a kingdom that would be the world power for eternity.

When David was king over Israel, God made a covenant with David, that His seed would be established over His Kingdom forever (See 2 Samuel 7:12-16). After God made this covenant with David, he wrote about this Messiah in the context of a powerful anointed king (See Psalms 2). He wrote of a person who would be given all of the kingdoms of the earth as an inheritance, God would give Him everything. The picture painted in Psalms 2 is a Messiah who is all powerful and able to conquer any and all who challenge Him.

Later on, David wrote of the Messiah:

The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.

Psalms 110:4 NKJV

In this statement it would seem that the Messiah would be a priest, God had promised this and it would not change. In the Old Testament, you can read about God’s priests during the time of the law of Moses (see Leviticus 16). They were the only ones who were able to enter into the most holy place of the temple (where God dwelled). They were the ones who would offer sacrifices for the people’s sins.

Under the law of Moses the king and high priest could never be the same person.  Both being a king or high priest depended on genealogy. The kings were from the tribe of Judah and the line of David while the high priests were from the tribe of Levi and the line of Aaron. 

So which would the promised Messiah be? Would He be a King who is over all things or a Priest who is able to approach God and offer sacrifices for sin? At first this seems like a major contradiction, but God promised that the Messiah would be both perfectly.

Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

Zechariah 6:11-13 NKJV

The Messiah was prophesied that He would build the temple, bear the glory, and sit upon the throne as both King and Priest. This shows that God’s servant, the Branch, is going to sit on His throne in the temple not under the law of Moses, but He will be King and Priest under the New Covenant.  God’s servant, the Messiah, will be both King and Priest by the decree of Almighty God and not because of human genealogy.  The office of king and priest will merge in Him because of the decree made by the holy God.

If you look back at the passage from Psalms 110, David wrote that He would be a powerful King that sat on His throne, but also a “Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”.

Before the law was given to Moses, the Bible records that Melchizedek came to Abraham and blessed him.  Melchizedek was both a king and priest.  He was the king of Salem and at the same time a priest of the most high God (See Genesis 14:18). This means that the promised Messiah would also be able to sit on a throne of power and authority, but also approach God to give sacrifice for sin.

After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took infant Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord. At that time, two different people (Simeon and Anna) stopped and praised God because of Jesus. Simeon called Him the salvation of the Lord, and Anna told all those who were looking for redemption about Jesus (See Luke 2). They knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah!

In Acts 2, after Jesus had died, been buried, and raised from the dead, Peter proclaimed that Jesus had been raised up to sit on His throne (See Acts 2:30,33)!

If you look in Hebrews 5, you will see that the writer proclaimed Jesus as the Priest and King according to the order of Melchizedek!

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,”

Hebrews 5:9-10 NKJV

Then in Hebrews 10, we see that Jesus did exactly what needed to be done to be both King and Priest!

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:12-14 NKJV

He approached God and made a blood offering (His own blood) which would compensate for ALL sins, forever. Then He sat down on His throne as the great and all powerful King.

Jesus was the answer to the Jews’ prophecies and prayers for salvation and redemption. He is also the answer for our salvation and redemption today! Because of what He did in His sacrifice, He is the perfect Priest and the perfect King— He is the promised Messiah.

Based on a sermon given by Lynn Stiles on March 3rd, 2019 at Concord Church of Christ.

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