Sunday, August 15, 2010

Guest blogger, Stan Nussbaum, takes us on a journey through the messianic year calendar.

Welcome to the journey of our Messiah through the year with Dr. Nussbaum.

Aug. 15 – The complete Messiah

“Through the suffering of Jesus, God made him a perfect leader, one fit to bring them into their salvation.” Heb. 2:10 (NLT)

The entire Messianic Year is designed to help us appreciate Jesus as the complete Messiah. He is for all nations and all times. He brings a complete salvation package—life, belonging (identity), freedom, power, forgiveness, shelter and glory.

The complete Messiah cannot be put into a box defined by a single role like other leaders can. He is so much more than a religious teacher. Neither is he just a king. Our Messiah is also our High Priest, and the Season of Forgiveness is our golden opportunity to appreciate him from that angle.

The idea of the Messiah as our High Priest making the sacrifice that brings us forgiveness and salvation is so routine to us that we may fail to realize how odd it seemed in Jesus’ day. The Jews expected (and still expect) an “incomplete” Messiah, that is, a king who is not a priest. All kings had to come from the tribe of Judah. All priests had to come from the tribe of Levi. No overlap. Forgiveness was a matter for priests, and as king the Messiah would have nothing to do with it.

How could he? How could the Messiah execute his kingly role of enforcing God’s justice if he went around forgiving people? It would never work. Powerful wicked people would laugh in his face and keep right on with their sin unless he brought the flaming judgment of God on them. Even John the Baptist held this view. (Mt. 3:12)

As the complete Messiah, Jesus exceeded everyone’s expectations. In fact he exceeded them so drastically that many of his fellow Jews did not recognize him as Messiah at all. They were like people who had been promised a ride and were expecting to be picked up in an oxcart. When a Ferrari stopped for them, they did not recognize it as their “ride” and they would not get in.

Jesus the Messiah did not enforce the Law of Moses in the way they expected but neither did he set it aside, suspend it, or rewrite it. He trumped it. He rendered its statements about priesthood, sacrifice, and forgiveness indecisive by playing a higher, decisive card, and that trump card was called “The Order of Melchizedek.” The entire book of Hebrews explains the amazing details of how this trump card worked but here we can go only to the bottom line: “Through the suffering of Jesus, God made him a perfect leader, one fit to bring them into their salvation.” (Heb. 2:10)

Of course, this does not mean Jesus was imperfect or unfit before he suffered, but he was incomplete in at least two ways. He had no personal experience of the devastating effects of sin, and he had no sacrifice to carry into the heavenly Temple as our High Priest. After the cross he had both. He was complete. No wonder his last words as he died were, “It is finished!” Completed. Done.

The Messiah’s work is still incomplete but the Messiah is not. He sits on his kingly throne as the perfect (complete) High Priest. He is able to forgive and still exercise effective power to bring salvation and rid the world of evil. Because of his suffering, he has what earthly kings never have—the ability to empathize at the deepest level with the struggles of ordinary people, the perfect sacrifice for their sins, and the power to win their absolute allegiance because they love, admire and appreciate him so much. Sign me up! Let’s sign the whole world up. There is no one like Jesus, the complete Messiah.

Welcome: Hail to you Jesus, Messiah, Priest and King! You are all we have. You are all we want, and you are completely welcome here.

Affirmation: I will not live this day as if my sins are still hanging over me. They are completely forgiven through the completed sacrifice of the complete High Priest and King. Done!



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