Jesus as Prophet, Priest, and King: A Biblical Introduction

Scriptures: Revelation 1:5 ; Hebrews 9:11-14 ; Matthew 22:42–45
by Jacob Abshire on October 27, 2023

Our sin is no match for Christ. Jesus secured our freedom from sin as the divinely ordained munus triplex, the threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. He is called “the faithful witness” (as Prophet), “the firstborn of the dead” (as Priest), and “the ruler of kings on earth” (as King) in Revelation 1:5. Each dimension illuminates different aspects of His divine mission, providing insights into His character and purpose.

Jesus as Prophet: The Ultimate Revealer

In the Old Testament, prophets acted as the voice of God to the people. They often began their messages with, “Thus says the Lord,” indicating God’s direct message to His people. These prophets indicted people for their sins, called them to repentance, and pronounced God’s forgiveness and pardon.

Jesus, the culminating Prophet, is unique. He did not just come to proclaim the Word of God; He embodied it as the Word of God (John 1:1). His purpose on Earth was tied to sin (Matt. 1:21). He preached about the necessity of repentance and faith in Him (Mark 1:15) and declared our pardon and forgiveness (Col. 1:14). Through His teachings, parables, and life, Jesus not only conveyed God’s message but became the message itself.

Jesus as Priest: The Perfect Mediator

Historically, in the Old Testament, the high priest acted as the bridge between the sacred and the profane, making atonement for the people’s sins. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Holy Place and sprinkle the blood of a sacrifice on the mercy seat, signifying the cleansing of the people’s sins (Lev. 16:16). This ritual occurred annually, signifying the repetitive nature of atonement.

However, Jesus, our eternal High Priest, transformed this role. He didn’t enter a man-made sanctuary with the blood of animals. Instead, He entered Heaven with His own blood, offering a once-and-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 9:11–14). His priestly role is pivotal in bridging the gap between humanity and God, ensuring that we can have a renewed relationship with the Father.

Jesus as King: The Sovereign Ruler

The biblical portrayal of kings centers on authority and governance for the peace and well-being of the nation. David, for instance, was a beloved king who provided justice and equity for Israel (2 Sam. 8:15). But Jesus surpasses even the esteemed David. Hailing from David’s lineage, Jesus is both David’s descendant and his Lord (Matt. 22:42–45).

In the New Testament, Jesus is exalted as the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), indicating His supreme authority over all rulers, including David. His reign promises perfect justice and equity. More than that, as our King, He battles on our behalf and ensures that sin will never dominate us (Rom. 6:7–14).

Exploring Jesus’s roles as Prophet, Priest, and King reveals the depths of His divine mission and power to free and rule His people in peace. He is the ultimate truth-bearer, the unparalleled mediator, and the sovereign ruler. Recognizing these facets of Jesus’s identity deepens our understanding of His influence on our lives and the world.

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