Lord and King

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Question: How can you accept the Savior as your “Lord” and “King”?

Answer: The beginning of the last week of the Savior’s life included His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Those who recognized Him as their “King” showed their devotion by anointing Him, putting their clothes on the donkey, and spreading palm branches along His path into Jerusalem, and shouting praises. We can’t participate in these experiences, to show that we recognize the Savior as our “King,” but there are other ways we can let Him know that we accept Him as our “Lord” and our “King.”

Matthew 21:1-9

1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage (on the east side of the Mount of Olives), unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you (ahead of you), and straightway ye shall find an ass (donkey) tied, and a colt (a young male donkey) with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

3 And if any man say ought unto you (questions you about what you are doing), ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway (immediately) he will send them.

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal (offspring) of an ass.

6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes (JST Matt. 21:5 “brought the colt, and put on it their clothes, and Jesus took the colt and sat thereon; and they followed him”) and they set him thereon.

8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees (palm trees), and strawed them in the way.

Note: In Jewish symbolism, palm branches symbolized triumph and victory. The crowd was enthusiastically expressing their belief that Jesus would bring them military victory over their Roman enemies.

9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Note: “Hosanna” means “Lord, save us now.” Another translation is “O, please, Jehovah, save us now, please!”

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John P. Hoffman:

It’s a pleasure to be here this morning to share some time with you discussing a topic that is important to all of us: our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints almost fourteen years ago. But my journey to the Church, which culminated with my baptism, began many years earlier.

On a fall day almost twenty-five years ago I was sitting in a hospital waiting area in San Diego. My fiancée, Lynn, who soon thereafter became my wife, was scheduled to have surgery to remove a blockage in her trachea. The doctor was going to attempt a new procedure using a laser to burn away the excess tissue. Needless to say, I was worried, especially after the doctor who was scheduled to perform the surgery said he had never used a laser before.

In any event, I happened to be sitting next to my future mother-in-law, whom I had just met. The only thing I recall from our brief time together is that she asked me what I believed about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I don’t recall my reply, but I doubt it was very satisfactory. You see, I had never really thought seriously about Jesus Christ or His Father.

A few years after Lynn and I married, I still had not made much progress in my understanding of the Savior. Although I devoted part of my professional life to studying social and cultural aspects of Christian religions, I had not pursued doctrinal studies, nor had I personalized any of the teachings of the Church. Then I had a dream that shook my soul. I was in the entryway of a white building waiting for Lynn. I looked a few feet to my left and saw her talking to a bearded man. Somehow I knew she was very close to this man, I immediately thought he was her best friend, and it confused me for a moment. But then he looked at me in a rueful way and walked away. An intense feeling of sadness overcame me, for I realized that he was my wife’s friend but could not be mine.

I joined the Church a few years later and began a new journey, but I still had a lot to learn....

This episode from my life, as well as many others, have led me to want to know more about our Savior. This desire involves both an intellectual and a spiritual pursuit that requires study and faith. I wish to get to know Him better and to know about His mortal life, His role in bringing forth the Atonement, and His many teachings that we need to understand and follow so that we can achieve true happiness. Therefore, please let me share a small part of this pursuit...

Although we regularly use several titles in the Church, I would like to highlight three that are often used together. Perhaps we know these words best from the hymn written by eighteenth- century Baptist pastor Samuel Medley: “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” The third verse includes these lines: “He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing. He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.” For some reason not entirely apparent to me, I have always been intrigued by this triumvirate. Considering the most common uses of these terms, it seems that prophets, priests, and kings are supposed to be subordinate to the Savior. I therefore wish to dig a little deeper and consider how the Lord takes on these roles...I’ll now examine the three offices that Jesus Christ fulfills: prophet, priest, and king.

Jesus’ Role as Prophet

In simple terms, a prophet is one who represents God to mankind. We learn from numerous passages in the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon that prophets serve as messengers who reveal God’s word, call people to repent, teach them to obey God’s laws, and prepare them for the coming of the Savior...

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Samuel the Lamanite likewise preached repentance in the land of Zarahemla and was run off by disbelievers; Abinadi was executed for teaching God’s will for the people and for teaching about the coming of the Anointed One. Thus we see that the fate of many of God’s messengers included persecution, mockery, and even death. Just as many prophets before Him suffered such tribulations, the Savior experienced widespread rejection of His holy mantle.

Two prophets of the Old Testament whose lives most directly anticipated the Savior’s were Moses and Elijah. It is no coincidence that these two prophets of old appeared during Christ’s Transfiguration on the mount. Jesus was likened unto Moses by a number of parallel life experiences, including being tempted by Satan, being transfigured on the mount, being saved as an infant from certain death, and confronting powerful political and religious leaders.

Like Elijah, Jesus taught using parables, healed the sick, raised the dead, and suffered rejection and persecution at the hands of His own people...Yet the Savior transcended the sacred mantles of all previous prophets...By offering an atoning sacrifice and overcoming death, the Lord surpassed the prophetic roles of both Moses and Elijah...

Jesus’ Role as High Priest

Whereas prophets represent God to the people, priests represent the people to God; priests function as mediators between God and mankind. Understanding the Savior’s role as a priest can be difficult in a biblical sense because priests were of the Levitical line and the Savior was a descendent from the tribe of Judah.

Yet we learn in Psalm 110 that the Lord would be “a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” In other words, the Lord was a priest of an order that predated the Levites. We understand through modern revelation that this involves the distinction between the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood...

The Savior understands our weaknesses and infirmities. He knows the temptations we face. He has suffered for us. He is thus the perfect High Priest and the perfect Mediator for representing mankind to the Father. Yet He is much more than this: unlike other high priests, He was both priest and sacrifice. In fact, His one sacrifice is of greater eternal worth than all of those sacrifices that had come before.

Jesus’ Role as King

The third part of the threefold office of Christ is king. Of the three, this is probably the Savior’s best-known title...Christ’s kingly duties are also easier to understand than His prophet or priestly duties. We know that the Jesus who lived a mortal life is the Lord of the Old Testament, the one known as Jehovah. He created the earth and continues to lead His Church. Thus He is our Holy Leader, our Lord who reigneth, our “King of kings.”

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His mortal claims to kingship are due to both His earthly parents being descendants of King David, for it was prophesied by Samuel that one of David’s descendants would rule over God’s everlasting kingdom. Like David, this Messiah would be a shepherd king who would save Israel...

However, Jesus was unlike any king who had come before. The Old Testament kings were leaders of nations, often warrior-kings who led their people in battle and administrator-kings who oversaw the running of the state. Most kings eventually ran afoul of God in some way, usually because of their sinful acts...In fact, many of us have been conditioned to dislike and mistrust the idea of a king.

Yet as we search for exemplary kings who were in the image of the Savior, we need look no further than King Benjamin. Not only was he a just ruler who seemed to care little for his own aggrandizement, he was also a genuine servant-king who cared for his people, worked alongside them, and taught them to serve each other...

This notion of a servant-king was perfected in the Lord. Indeed, He often resisted the title of king during his mortal ministry. The Gospel of John reports that after miraculously feeding the multitude, “Jesus . . . perceived that [the people who had witnessed his miracles] would come and take him by force, to make him a king, [so] he departed.”

He also would not give Pilate or Herod the satisfaction of indicting Him for the seditious act of designating himself King of the Jews. He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.”

Then, when Pilate asked Him, “Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”

The Savior understood His role. He was tasked with teaching the people a new covenant and bringing mankind back from a fallen state into the presence of the Father through the Atonement, the ultimate sacrifice. He was already a king, so there was no need to be given the title. Even those who knew of His divine kingship must have been confused, because His mortal life represented the humble nature of His sovereignty.

Recall that the Old Testament was understood by many as prophesying a messiah who would be king, and this king was to deliver the people from conquest and the physical suffering they endured at the hands of their rulers. Instead, Jesus, who had authority over the entire world, turned the notion of a messianic king on its head. He was born in a stable. He traveled not with soldiers but with fishermen and tax collectors. He dined with Samaritans and sat with the poor and downtrodden. Not only did He refuse all earthly treasures that kings tended to receive, but He also showed the people a humble king, entering Jerusalem on a donkey. He did not come to Jerusalem for a rich, royal feast but to preside over a humble meal with His friends, even washing the feet of those in attendance.

The mistake made by many was assuming He would come as a warrior-king when the Savior actually came as a shepherd-king and as a servant-king. His sovereignty was not demonstrated by temporal wealth or political conquest but by His victory over death and the freedom for mankind that this entailed.

We await His triumphant return that will usher in the Millennium. His kingdom shall be fulfilled, and He will reign as king over the millennial earth. As we are taught in the Doctrine and Covenants, “The Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.”

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In closing, allow me to quote President Thomas S. Monson:

Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.” He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.” He pleads, “Keep my commandments.”

It is my desire that all of us may get to know the Savior better, including his roles as the perfect Prophet, Priest, and King...Now let me emphasize yet another name for Him: Friend. I was mistaken in the conclusion I drew from the dream I discussed earlier. He is my Friend, but as with all close and precious friendships, it requires effort to get to know the Savior better...I offer testimony that it is to Him that we owe our lives and the promise of full potential as noble children of a Heavenly Father. May we love and honor Him always.

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Source: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 79; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 1, Volume 2, by David J. Ridges, 63; Excerpts from “Prophet, Priest, and King,” by John P. Hoffman, May 8, 2012, BYU Devotional. John P. Hoffman was a professor in the BYU Department of Sociology when this devotional was given.