Devotional: A life of sacrifice
We have seen from 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 9 that the Lord called us to be a kingdom of priests for Him. Today, let’s look a bit more into the priestly ministry, by reading 1 Peter 2:5:
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
As priests, we must have sacrifices to offer to God. And Peter says, "They are spiritual sacrifices..." They are not like the sacrifices of the Mosaic law, they are not animals. But we offer spiritual sacrifices. Particularly we follow the example of Jesus who in heaven offers to God the spiritual sacrifice of His intercession and prayer on our behalf. For it says, "He ever liveth that He may make intercession for those who come to God through Him."
Jesus' earthly ministry only lasted three and a half years. But His ministry as a King and a Priest has already lasted nearly two thousand years and is going to go on throughout eternity. And we're invited not only to share with Jesus His earthly ministry but through our identification with Him to enter the eternal heavenly ministry as kings and priests. Spiritually, our identification with Jesus makes us already citizens of the heavenly Zion. This is not something that is going to happen ‑ it's something that has already taken place through our identification with Jesus.
This is so beautifully stated in Hebrews chapter 12, verses 22‑24. I want you to notice the tense.
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. (…) You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant (…).”
We're already there in that glorious assembly with the angels and all the firstborn in the heavenly Zion. And out of the heavenly Zion through our identification with Jesus, we rule on God's behalf through our prayers. We are a kingdom of priests. We rule through prayer. This is vividly stated in Psalm 110, verses 1 and 2:
“The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; rule in the midst of your enemies.”
Jesus is already ruling, although the enemies are still there. The sceptre of His authority is extended out of Zion. That's a spiritual sceptre. As we take our place in Zion through identification with Jesus on the throne, then through our prayers in the power of the Holy Spirit, we extend that sceptre of His kingdom over the earth. We become identified with Jesus in His authority over the nations. Through our prayers, we exercise that authority. The rod of authority is placed in the hands of God's people as they take their place in Zion. And out of Zion, the rod of authority goes forth over the nations of the earth. We are thus identified with Jesus, even now, in His two great final ministries as King and Priest.
Thank You, Father, for the privilege to be a king and priest, that I’m part of Zion, Your Church, ruling amidst our, enemies. Show me, Lord, the true authority You’ve given me, through the Blood of Jesus, and help me to extend the rod of the authority of Your Word, in prayer and proclamation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!