The Old Testament shows that there were three main offices among the people of Israel–the prophet, the priest, and the king. The prophet spoke God’s words to the people, the priest offered sacrifices and prayers to God for the people, and the king ruled over the people as God’s representative. The New Testament shows that Jesus Christ fulfils the same offices with respect to the church. Last week my family and I considered his doing so in our family Bible reading time, guided by Wayne Grudem’s discussion of it in Chapter 29, “The Offices of Christ,” of his Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1994). I’ll share here just a little of what we read.
Christ as Prophet
As a prophet Jesus reveals God to us and speaks His words to us. Moreover he fulfilled Moses’ prediction that sometime another prophet like himself would come: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you…I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18). This Peter affirmed in Acts 3:22-23 by quoting the passage with regard to Jesus.
Christ as Priest
As a priest Jesus offers a sacrifice (himself) to God on our behalf. The book of Hebrews shows that he functions as a priest in these ways:
1. He offered a perfect sacrifice for us. “He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (9:26).
2. He opened the way for us to draw near to God. “We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain” (10:20).
3. He continually prays for us. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (7:25).
Christ as King
Although Jesus refused the attempts of people to make him an earthly king (John 6:15), he allowed his disciples to cry out on his triumphal entry, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). After his resurrection God “seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20), and some day he will return as “King of kings and lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).