The New Normal of Jesus as Priest, the Advent of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity
Introduction. The risen Lord threw a lot of new thinking at the Apostles in that locked room on that resurrection Sunday. In John 20:17, and 20-23 Jesus changed missions, introduced the Holy Spirit and the Trinity to the brand new Christians. And, with that change of roles, He delegated His earthly ministry to them. All of a sudden Jesus wasn’t Rabbi Jesus, He wasn’t their traveling companion, He wasn’t a leader of insurrectionists, but now, with His departure to heaven, He is now their High Priest. In the new normal, the Holy Spirit was to be their guide, Jesus is their High Priest and overcoming advantage of the Trinity.
Jesus As Our High Priest is Now the New Normal. Theologians today recognize the threefold ministry of Jesus: prophet, priest and king. The brand new Christians didn’t know what that was. It is important for us to understand that the Lord was in His prophetic ministry until the resurrection (Deuteronomy 18:15, John 8:28, 12:49, Acts 3:22-23). He is our High Priest according to Hebrews 4:14-16; 8:10-12 and 1 Timothy 2:5 now having His blood cleansing the heavenly temple and we from our sins. Then, when Jesus and His army come back to earth during the from the millennial reign He will begin His kingly ministry (Heb 2:8, Rev 19:11,14). Those who have been in church for a while probably have heard of this, but this was brand new thinking in the first century.
The Holy Spirit is Now the New Normal. With our 21st century Christian minds, we read from the Gospels right through to Revelation about work of the Holy Spirit. But in the first century, the Jews and the Gentiles had no concept of a personal relationship with a “god” or the manifestation of Him in the earth. In John 20:23 is a red letter day for the world: the second part of the Trinity breathes into existence on the earth, the third part of the God head. This means, yes, Jesus kept His promise in John 13 and 14, but a personal and powerful relationship with the Father is now possible for all people. The Holy Spirit used to make only temporary visits to the earth to come upon certain people for certain works. But now, the Holy Spirit lives works and empowers us while living in us! And He’s not going anywhere.
Think of the firepower that the first century Christian was just given in a span of a few hours after the resurrection. First, Jesus the High Priest is seated at the right hand of the Father continually making intercession for you in heaven. Then, the Risen Lord breathes into the earthly realm the Holy Spirit who is now your counselor and guide, gift-giver and inseparable companion on earth to do the will of the Father. You can’t loose. That kind of power has never been given to a human before. You ask, you can receive, you need wisdom ask, you are in material want, you ask, Father God gives you a ministry on earth, He will guide you. When you sin, you have a counselor, the Holy Spirit, who takes your case to the lawyer (the High Priest Jesus) who pleads your case to His Father, the judge. It is always good to know a good layer, but it is better to know the judge. You can’t loose.
The Trinity is the New Normal. Gentiles understood a plurality of gods. The Greeks and the Romans had a pantheon of multiple gods performing all kinds of mischievous acts. But not the “Christian” God. They saw parts of the deity, but rest assured the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Christ and God the Father were one, not just unified in purpose, but one in substance. The Jews, now Christians, who were students of the Torah could now understood the meaning of Genesis 1:1. Elohim, first name of God mentioned in the Torah is a plural noun always used with a singular verb. The sages were always trying to figure that out because their neighbor nations were always polytheistic, but the distinctiveness of the Hebrews was their dedication to one God or monotheism. Another amazing fact that the Trinity gives us a part to play in the salvation of the world. God the Father provides for our needs (speaks into existence), God the Son procures those needs for us (by His blood), God the Holy Spirit applies that to our lives (brings it from heaven) and we God in me administrates that to the world.
Conclusion. The new normal immediately after the resurrection was mind blowing to the Jews who were now Christians. To sum up, they had to see Jesus differently, as savior, Lord and High Priest (Lesson 1). It is now normal for an average Christian (not a priest or rabbi) to help a believer with forgiveness of their sin (Lesson 2). And now, the new Christians were faced with the new normal that Jesus is now their High Priest, seated at the right hand of the Father, they faced the advent of the Holy Spirit and the emergence of the Trinity. That’s a lot to take in on resurrection Sunday.