Sermon for 03.22.23 “Know Thyself”

Lenten Midweek 5
Text: 2 Chronicles 26:1–5, 15b–21
Theme: Know Thyself: Uzziah
Psalm 110; Hebrews 7:1–10, 26–28; John 10:11–18
Hymns: LSB 529, 564

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The reading from 2 Chronicles 26 serves as our sermon text for this
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Ø Holy God, hear my prayer.
There is pain and there is sorrow, there are broken relationships and
broken hearts.
Sometimes I am the cause of those things.
I have caused pain. I have broken the relationship.
Sometimes I am simply a part of them – I am the one who suffers, I am the
one who is broken.
So I ask for Your forgiveness, and I ask for Your healing.
Beyond that, I ask that You turn me from my former self to a person who
reflects Your mercy and grace and love.
Through Christ, who is my example, I pray. Amen.


A. Inscribed at the Delphic Oracle, a temple of pagan prophecy in ancient
Greece, were the words “Know Thyself.”
1. Traditional Greek wisdom considered that every man should know who he
2. If you’re a commoner, know that you are a commoner.
3. If you’re an aristocrat, know that you are an aristocrat.
4. Know your privileges and obligations.
5. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
6. Perhaps most important to the Greeks was the idea that you are mortal.
7. You are not a god, and you should not try to imitate the gods.
8. Therefore know yourself.
I. We all need to know our place in life—including what we’re not.
A. Perhaps it is better to say:
1. “Know your place.”
2. Although this goes against the grain of our culture, which takes pride
in being free of any restrictions and being who you want to be, there is
still great wisdom in this phrase.
3. Especially with respect to God, you do well to know that he is God and
you are not.
II. Uzziah’s pride led him to usurp the priest’s role.
A. King Uzziah held the highest office in the land of Judah.
1. He was a descendant of David and a good king.
2. “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that
his father Amaziah had done” (26:4).
3. Uzziah was the grandson of King Joash, about whom we spoke last week.
4. Uzziah ascended the throne at sixteen and reigned fifty-two years, one
of the longest-serving kings.
5. He won victories over the Philistines on the coast and the Arabians in
the desert.
6. His fame reached the border of Egypt.
7. As with the other kings, this was not because of his greatness.
8. “As long as [Uzziah] sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (26:5).
B. The reign of King Uzziah as described in 2 Chron­icles is defined by his
1. He broke down the wall of Gath, the city from which Goliath had come.
2. Ancient enemies like the Ammonites paid tribute to him.
3. He fortified Jerusalem with high-tech weapons that could shoot arrows
and stones from towers.
4. He expanded the kingdom and enriched Judah.
5. Again, Scripture says:
A. 2 Chronicles 26:15 (NASB95)
15In Jerusalem he made engines of war invented by skillful men to be on the
towers and on the corners for the purpose of shooting arrows and great
stones. Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he
was strong.
C. Yes, Uzziah was a strong king—but he was a terrible priest.
1. That ought to go without saying, for he was not a priest.
2. He was a king.
3. Unfortunately, King Uzziah did not heed the maxim for him to “know
4. He let pride—the Greeks would call it hubris—grow inside of him.
5. He grew proud to his destruction and decided in turn to play priest.
6. Uzziah entered the Holy Place in the temple to burn incense.
7. Only the priests were to go there; only the sons of Aaron were to offer
8. Perhaps you remember that even Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, had burned
unauthorized incense and paid with their lives.
D. But Uzziah was proud, apparently believing in his strength above all
else, and boldly entered the temple to burn incense.
1. Azariah the high priest and eighty other priests tried to stop him.
A. 2 Chronicles 26:18 (NASB95)
18They opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah,
to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are
consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been
unfaithful and will have no honor from the LORD God.”
B. King Uzziah reacted in anger.
C. No one would tell him what he couldn’t do!
D. Filled with pride, he believed he was the supreme ruler.
E. He was famous around the world, and he was strong.
F. That, however, didn’t make Uzziah a priest.
G. Offering incense in the Holy Place was not his place.
E. The punishment for this impudence was that the Lord struck him with
1. Right on his face, the result of his sin could be seen.
2. This wasn’t simply a matter of sickness.
3. As a leper, he was ritually unclean and therefore:
A. 2 Chronicles 26:21 (NASB95)
21King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a
separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the
LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king’s house judging the people of
the land.
B. Indeed, he was also effectively removed from office as king, because the
law for lepers was that they must be separated from the population.
C. Even as king, he lived in a separate house, and his son, Jotham,
governed the people of the land. Thus isolated, King Uzziah’s strength and
fame were of no account.
D. Even at death, when he was buried in the kings’ burial field, Uzziah was
separated from his fathers according to Levitical law concerning those
afflicted with leprosy:
1. Leviticus 13:46 (NASB95)
46“He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection;
he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
E. His whole identity was changed:
1. 2 Chronicles 26:23 (NASB95)
23So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in
the field of the grave which belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a
leper.” And Jotham his son became king in his place.
III. For salvation, we need a stronger king than Uzziah.
A. King Uzziah was a strong king.
1. But not only could his strength not save his people; it couldn’t even
save him.
2. Such is the strength of kings.
3. If we are to follow a king who brings salvation, he will have to be a
much stronger king than Uzziah.
IV. Jesus’ strong humility led him to take the priest’s role.
A. The Son of Uzziah is our Strong King and Priest.
B. So it is that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of Uzziah, is our strong king.
1. His strength was not in military superiority:
2. Like breaking down walls or collecting tribute.
3. Nor was it in developing new weapons.
4. Jesus’ strength was in freeing people from demonic possession and
healing the sick, including lepers.
5. His power forgave the sins of men and taught with authority and power,
the likes of which had never been seen before.
6. The Son of God was not filled with hubris.
7. Although the eternal Word was in the form of God, he emptied himself to
be born of a virgin in the likeness of men.
8. He was found humble and riding on a donkey as the crowds chanted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
9. This Son of David humbled himself in obedience to his Father, even to
death on a cross.
10. Far from pride, Jesus suffered shame and spitting and mocking from
11. Yet he lay down his life of his own accord.
C. In this death, the Son of Uzziah humbly took the role of priest.
1. This was not to gratify pride or show authority.
2. The King of the Judeans became a priest to offer the one sacrifice his
people needed.
3. He was not weak like the sons of Aaron who had to wash for their own
uncleanness and offer sacrifice for their sins before offering sacrifices
for the people.
4. Nor was his sacrifice feeble like their bulls and goats which, offered
daily and yearly, could never take away sins.
5. Only the perfect Lamb of God, offered by the Messiah, was the single
sacrifice for sins offered for all time.
6. And Jesus, the great High Priest, did not follow the order of Aaron,
whose sons died one after the other.
7. His priesthood is forever after the order of Melchizedek, for it is
testified that he lives.
D. As the Son of Uzziah hung on the cross, he endured the isolation of a
1. Jesus became sin and bore our sin in his body:
A. all the uncleanness of our flesh.
2. Separation from his Father, our God Almighty, resulted in the death of
the Son as the Spirit departed his body.
3. What weakness the chief priests and rulers of the Judeans saw!
4. Yet this was not the weakness of hubris, but the strength of Jesus’
humble purpose.
5. There never was strength like our Lord bearing the weight of the world’s
sin on his striped back.
6. There was all evil and the devil’s power defeated.
7. On the cross, Jesus was truly revealed: The Son of Uzziah Is the Strong
King and Priest we all need.
V. Our place is in the presence of God through King Jesus.
A. As the King of the Judeans hung on the cross, the curtain of the temple
1. The Holy Place lay open to all who would follow the Son and Lord of
2. Indeed when our High Priest offered his perfect sacrifice, God highly
exalted him above the heavens, where he sat down at the right hand of the
3. There the Son of David is David’s Lord and our Lord interceding for us,
offering perfect prayers sweeter than any incense on earth.
4. By his blood, we therefore have confidence to enter the holy places.


A. After all, what is your place?
1. Are you a king, or are you a priest?
2. Well, certainly not in the sense of the old covenant.
3. You may not be proud of your strength or be famous around the world.
4. But in Christ, you are a chosen race and a royal priesthood.
5. He has freed you by his blood and made you a kingdom, priests to his God
and Father.
6. The Ruler of kings on earth has made you a place with him in the kingdom
of heaven.
7. Your place is in the presence of God.
B. Let us therefore boldly draw near to the throne of grace and receive
mercy in every need. Amen.
C. Let us pray:
Ø O God, when I look at You and then look at myself, I realize how tiny I
But I am not so small that my actions are inconsequential.
Sometimes a word of thanks brings warmth to a cold heart.
Sometimes a choice to forgive opens up a new future for two people.
Sometimes a thoughtless gesture slashes the heart.
Sometimes my inaction leaves the world in its sorry state.
I ask for your help.
I ask that Your greatness infuse my smallness.
I ask that I will not be captive to the wrong I do but changed by the mercy
You grant. Amen.
D. The peace of God, which transcends all human understanding, guard your
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.