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Doctrine (Part 2). Christology.

July 10, 2009

Nothing carries more theological weight than the study of the person and work of Jesus Christ. To error on this doctrine is to make an eternally significant misstep. If we do not know who Jesus is or understand his mission, we risk the inevitable conclusion that we will not know ourselves nor our mission. Self-actualization is but at the end of a list of consequences that stem from misunderstanding Christ. The superlative of that list is unknowing God. Though it would be impossible to sufficiently catalogue a fully orb Christology in a single post (as is the case with all doctrines), it is helpful to offer three offices of Christ that may guide our understanding of the Son of God.

The combination of Jesus’ humanity and divinity is found reliable in a tri-perspectival view of Christ. This means that the development of a healthy Christology calls for three different views or offices of the same person. Jesus Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King. Jesus is the promised prophet that speaks against injustice, calls people to account for sin, and commands them to live God-fearing lives of righteousness (Deu 18:15; cf. Acts 3:22). This was the authority that Jesus exhibited while on earth; not simply prophesying the future like a lyrical gangster but calling people to account for the present. He called for sins to cease and lives to change. In this view of Christ the gospel message exhibits God’s justice.

Jesus is Priest. Where once a human priest was needed to connect with God on people’s behalf in the temple, Jesus now steps in the gap as the High Priest interceding for all. Jesus is the divine intercessor that mediates between the Father and his people (1 Tim 2:5). Additionally, Christ is Priest in that he obediently followed the Father’s will to the point of death as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. As the humble, obedient, substitutionary sacrifice, Jesus is the Chief Priest. Here the substitutionary aspect of the gospel is displayed in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

Jesus is King. This may be the most used yet least understood office of Christ, thanks to Lebron James and Michael Jackson (post- “Dancing Machine”, pre-nose job). Jesus is the one true Messiah King whose kingdom is not of this world and whose reign necessitates the servitude of every man and woman (Dan 7:13-14; cf. John 18:36). Jesus does not simply exist and watch over his people–he reigns! Therefore our alligence is not simply a good idea, it is absolutely necessary. Our cubicle kingdoms of pride, money, and self-importance must be given wholly over to the one true King or we participate in treason. The victorious aspect of the gospel is witnessed in this emphatic declaration of Jesus as Lord.

As Prophet, Priest, and King he alone qualifies to be the atonement for humanity’s depravity and thus conquers Satan, sin, and death through his ultimate sacrifice on the cross (Gal 6:14). It is in this victory that we are given God, righteousness, and live in the great exchange of conversion. This is the Jesus we must know, serve, worship, and love.

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