There were great leaders that paved the way towards the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther lead the way, at the same time there was John Calvin and Zwingli … across the sea in what is known as Britain John Hooper, Rowland Taylor, Hugh Latimer, John Bradford, and Nicholas Ridley. In Scotland there was John Knox and in Wales there was Daniel Rowlands. These men were taken by the Spirit, who led the way in the greatest revival since Pentecost! Their understanding of the Bible and the major doctrines flowing from Scripture, especially that which deals with who Jesus is and what He did was vastly different to the Church of Rome (the common name used is Roman Catholic Church). They all rebelled against the Established Church for many reasons. A few would be that the Church insisted on speaking Latin which the common people could not understand. The Bible and Prayer Book were in Latin, the preaching was in Latin. They included additional writings to their Bible. These things prevented the people from understanding that the sales of indulgence policies was evil; that the communion known as Transubstantiation (priest has supposed powers to change the bread and grape juice into the actual body and blood of Jesus) was wicked; that the confessional was not Biblical; that Peter was not the first pope (he was married); that priests and nuns needed to swear to celibacy … not found in the Bible; that Mary remained a virgin and is the intermediary between “Catholics” and God; that she too had an immaculate conception, was sinless and never died but ascended to heaven; that Mary intercedes for the people; that there are saints you pray to; that salvation is by works; that you are made a Christian at baptism … and the list is endless. The Reformers rebellion against Rome was passionate, intentional and radical. Many died in various ways at the hands of Rome … yet the outcome was a Church was born, different denominations and groupings … but all following the five solas of the reformation, each representing important distinctions between them and Catholic doctrine. They are (1) Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”); (2) Sola fide (“by faith alone”); (3) Sola gratia (“by grace alone”); (4) Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”) and (5) Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”). This was after roughly 1500 years of the Christian Church. Although there were many hardships and political battles (especially in England), God did a work of grace. In a spiritual way these men eradicated idols, paganism and evil from the Church. They in there way were like Josiah. 1) Once the “clean up” in the temple, Judah, Samaria and the Northern Kingdom was done, it was time to celebrate.
2Ki 23:21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem.
Picture this … a truly spiritual leader and king led the way to a decisive purification of the city, land, surrounding town and hills of all pagan idols and symbols. He followed God’s Word doing all God required. Now that it was complete, the greatest and most important festival needed to take place.
Just before we continue with the celebration … you might think that the work of Josiah was incomplete because of
2Ki 23:24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem.
This verse does not mean the work was incomplete. Rather it is affirming that as the work of cleaning up was being done, these things were done too.
The Passover was a remembrance of what God did to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. It was a great salvation. The festival not only reminded the people of deliverance from Egypt but that the God who delivered from Egypt was the same God who was now delivering the people from wicked paganism! The communion service is the same. We look backwards to the salvation wrought at Calvary … the substitutional sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, enduring wrath for us and shedding His precious Blood to cleanse us of all sin and guilt, past, present and future, guaranteeing us an eternal home in His heaven. The God of Calvary is the same God of the Old and New Testament and is the same God today! Israel knew God’s love … and today we know God’s love. When we celebrate the Lord’s Table we do so “in remembrance” … we remember salvation … grace, mercy, kindness … but most of all sacrificial love. For Josiah, the Passover Celebration was a fitting climax to his reformation program. Our celebration of the Lord’s Table ought to be a motivation towards further reformation in our lives. 2) Everything Josiah had done was done according to God’s Word. 2Ki 23:24b This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. When seeking personal reformation and congregational reformation with the focus on God coming in revival, the Word of God must direct our actions, beliefs and intentions. 3) Josiah is rewarded by God for his faithfulness through
2Ki 23:25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
What a mention! But why was he like he was? Again, according to Scripture he followed God with his everything. Do you and I? 4) Although God permitted a revival through the king, in His wisdom He did not turn His anger (wrath) away from the nation (Judah).
2Ki 23:26 Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger. 27 So the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘There shall my Name be.’’”
We must not think that what Josiah did was in vain. Not at all. Many were caught up in the revival through faith in God. In any revival not all are quickened by the Spirit. Many are and many are not. This must not prevent us from personal and church reform in preparation for a possible revival.
Dear God, help us to never to stop seeking You to pour out Your Spirit in revival. Amen.