Friday, February 10, 2023

Three-fold Office of Christ (Matthew 28)

"And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).

During the last four blog posts we focused on the person of Christ; now we will examine the work of Christ. Proverbs 8 and John 1 reveal that Christ’s work began long before the incarnation. By the power of His Word, God created the heavens and the earth. While we could certainly include creation and the many works of Christ in His preincarnate state in our study of His work, we will, instead, focus on His role as the Redeemer, the only Mediator between God and fallen humanity.

As Mediator, Christ has three distinct roles—that of prophet, priest, and king. We see these offices foreshadowed in the nation of Israel. The Old Testament tells of prophets who spoke on God’s behalf to man, of priests who spoke on the people’s behalf to God, and the king who exercised dominion over the nation. While the early church fathers spoke of these different offices as they related to Christ, John Calvin was the first to expound on the importance of these offices as it related to Christ’s mediatorial work. This is a necessary distinction because we must understand Christ as fulfilling all three offices and the importance each office has to us. To exclude one or two of them is to undermine the work of redemption accomplished by Christ.

Many in our day, for example, acknowledge Christ’s work as priest. They admit He sacrificed Himself for sinners and intercedes on their behalf, but they deny that He is King. While they embrace His work as priest, they reject Him as king. In a sense, people who do this are guilty of putting their faith in part of Christ’s work but not in Him as a person. You cannot separate the king from the priest, or the prophet from the other two in the person of Christ. He is prophet, priest, and king.

As prophet, Christ is endowed with perfect knowledge and understanding. While He was on earth, He proclaimed the truth of God to the lost, and now He proclaims the truth through His Word and by the Spirit. As priest, He offered Himself as a sacrifice once and for all. He also intercedes at the right hand of God the Father for all who are His. As king, He exercises dominion, now and forever, over His kingdom and all things.

As prophet, priest, and king, Christ speaks, intercedes, and rules with all authority. Specifically, how should you live, even this weekend, in light of Christ’s authority? In what ways do you rebel against His authority in your own life? Confess these sins to God and, by His power, strive to submit to Him in everything.