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He Cleans Us Up

12 October 2011 by Brad Williams

Q. 43. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the church, in all ages, by his Spirit and Word, in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning their edification and salvation.

Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering himself a sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the sins of his people; and in making continual intercession for them.

Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.

We know from Hebrews that "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). The simplest definition of a prophet is found in that very verse: a prophet is someone through whom God speaks. Jesus, then, is not only a prophet but the greatest prophet who ever lived. When Jesus speaks and acts, he is telling us about God.

It is very easy to come to the table with the understanding that a prophet is someone who predicts the future. After all, the prophets did this very thing, and so did Jesus himself. However, they did not do this to be mere fortune tellers, but they did this to tell us something about God. If God told them of impending judgment, it was to teach the people about God's holiness and power. If He told them of good tidings to come, it was to teach the people about His mercy and grace. Prophecy reveals who God is.

If this is true, then who did Jesus say that God is? I have dedicated my life to attempt to teach people all that Jesus teaches us about God, so it is regrettably impossible for me to do that here. I will, instead, pick from one little incident in the life of Jesus that has blown my mind from the first day I read it. In Luke 17:11-19, we learn about ten lepers who were made clean by Jesus. We also learn that only one of them came back to thank Jesus.

What does this teach us about God? It teaches us about His kindness. He healed ten men, knowing that nine of them would never thank Him for it. These nine simply asked to be well, and Jesus said, "Sure, go show yourself to the priest and be well." God does this sort of thing all the time for people who show no gratitude. He feeds the ingrates; He gives them families; He gives them breath. They never say thanks to Him; they only complain. In His mercy, God simply continues to care for them.

Hopefully, that doesn't describe you and me. Instead, we ought to identify with the Samaritan ex-leper who got a clean bill of health from God through the prophet Jesus. It's Jesus' last prophetic words to the thankful man are, "Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well." I hope we both understand that the Samaritan's faith in Christ healed him of more than leprosy. We will spend an eternity giving gratitude for that, as well we should. But look at that first command, "Rise and go your way."

Wouldn't you have expected Jesus to say, "Come and follow me." Or, "Now that you believe, come join my crew." He does not say that. He says, "Go your way." This guy who Jesus saved from leprosy and sin; he didn't have to become an apostle. He didn't have to sell his house if he had one. He didn't have to join Jesus' roving band of friends. He got to "go his way." To be sure, the Samaritan took his testimony with him, and God only knows the good things this healed man did because of his faith in the Christ. But he got to go his own way, back to his little village, and back to the quiet life of normalcy. I love that so much.

My beloved, cleaned-up, child of God and fellow companion, isn't it marvelous that Jesus has made us well simply for us to be thankful? And that a life of gratitude, lived in the way God has made us to go, is sufficient to please His prophetic majesty? What does that teach you about God, I wonder?

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