Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Matthew 3:1—4:11 is concerned with the King’s anointing. This section of the Gospel of Matthew is in three parts: the King recommended (3:1-12), the King anointed (3:13-17), and the King tested (4:1-11). In this message and in the message following we shall deal with the recommendation of the King.
Matthew chapter three covers the recommendation and the anointing of the King. In this chapter firstly the recommender of the King, John the Baptist, is himself recommended. Matthew 3:1 says, “Now in those days John the Baptist came.”
John the Baptist was born a priest (Luke 1:5, 13). In the life-study of Genesis we saw that the birthright included three items: the double portion of the land, the priesthood, and the kingship. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, should have received all three items of the birthright. However, due to his defilement, he lost the birthright. As a result, the double portion of the land went to Joseph, the priesthood, to Levi, and the kingship, to Judah. The main function of the priesthood is to bring the people to God, and the main function of the kingship is to bring God to the people. According to the Bible, the priests brought others to God so that they might obtain God’s blessing. This is the priestly service. The kings were those who represented God and brought God to others. Thus, the kingship is the ministry that brings God to other so that they may gain Him. Through this traffic of coming and going, man and God, God and man, have real fellowship, true communication. Eventually, man and God become one. This is the ministry of the priesthood and the kingship.
The first ministry in the Old Testament was the priesthood. Following the priesthood there was the kingship. All the books prior to 1 Samuel were on the priesthood. But beginning with 1 Samuel the second section of the Old Testament is on the kingship. In the book of 1 Samuel, Samuel represents the priesthood and David represents the kingship. Samuel, the priest, introduced David, the king. The priesthood introduces the kingship. It is the same in the church life today. If we are genuine priests, then we shall also become kings, for the priesthood always introduces the kingship. First we are priests bringing others into the presence of God. Then we become kings bringing God to them.
Every true evangelist is a king. If you are not a king, you are not qualified to preach the gospel. In 28:18 and 19 the Lord Jesus, the King of the kingdom, said, “All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations.” Here the Lord told the disciples to go with His authority. Those who go with this authority are kings in the kingdom of heaven. Without doubt He shares this authority with us. Therefore, we must go and disciple the nations, that is, preach the gospel to subdue the rebellious ones. As we go to preach the gospel, we must be kings.
Many Christians do not know God’s secret in His economy. When you are burdened to preach the gospel, you must first carry out the function of the priesthood. In order to preach the gospel you must first go to God as a priest and bring others to Him. Through the priesthood you will be authorized and anointed, and then you will come out of God’s presence to be a king. The proper preaching of the gospel is the issuing of a kingly edict. It is the utterance of a kingly command. Consider Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost. Although he was a young Galilean fisherman, he nonetheless was a king. Every proper evangelist must be a king.
We have seen that the priest introduces the king. The first occurrence of this was Samuel’s introduction of King David. In Matthew chapter three we see another Samuel, John the Baptist, who was born a priest of the tribe of Levi. Matthew 3 testifies to the consistency of the Bible, for here we see one from the priestly tribe, the tribe of Levi, recommending One from the kingly tribe, the tribe of Judah. In Matthew 3 John appeared as Samuel and Jesus appeared as David. There in the wilderness John was bringing people to God. Hence, he was a genuine priest. As he was bringing others to God, the King came, and John introduced Him. This King brought God to man. John brought others to God, and Jesus brought God to them.
As sinners we came to God through John’s ministry. By repentance we came into God’s presence. That was the ministry of the priesthood, the ministry of John the Baptist. We all have come into the presence of God through John. It was John who brought us back to God. Then the new King David, Jesus Christ, brought God to us. Through John’s ministry of repentance and Jesus’ ministry of imparting life, we have all been made priests and kings. Today we are the continuation both of the priest, John the Baptist, and of the King, Jesus Christ. If you are a proper Christian, then you are firstly today’s John and secondly today’s Jesus. Young people, as you go to the campuses, you must be real priests. You need to say, “Lord, have mercy on these people. O Lord, remember all these young people. I bring them to You.” This is the priesthood, the ministry of John the Baptist. After you bring others to God, immediately, in a sense, you will become Christ bringing God to them so that they may gain God. This is today’s priesthood and kingship.
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