The Shorter Catechism, 8
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Q23: What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A: Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation.
In the Old Testament, the offices of prophet, priest and king were occupied by three separate groups of people. There were people that were prophets. Other people were priests. And yet another one was the king. But Christ, the Head of all de prophets, the Head of all the priests, and the Head of all the kings, occupies all three offices at once. Christ is,
He carried out these offices when He was in the estate of humiliation, wherein He suffered. Also in the estate of exaltation, wherein He is now, he carries out these three offices.
That Jesus Christ was Prophet, is clearly confirmed in Scripture. "Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you" (Act.3:22). And that He is a Priest is also without doubt. "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebr.5:6) He also is a ruling King, as is written: "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." (Ps.2:6)
Q24: How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A: Christ executeth the office of a prophet in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
If Christ is then Prophet, what is His work? In general, His work is making known to us the will of God for our salvation. When He was on earth, He did so through His preaching everywhere. But after His ascension to heaven, He does so through His Word and His Spirit. He has given us the Word, both the Old and the New Testament. He protects that Word against all the wiles of Satan, who seeks to destroy it. But only having the Word is not enough. Therefore Jesus has sent His Spirit, Who declares the true meaning and sense of it to us. "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things." (Joh.14:26) The main content of Christís prophetic message is the will of God for our salvation. It is His goal, "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (Joh.20:31)
Q25: How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A: Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.
The priests of old did offer beasts. They didnít offer up themselves. But Christ, being the Priest, offered up Himself. He offered up Himself a sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God. "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many". (Hebr.9:28) Through His offering, by carrying away our sins, He reconciled us to God. Godís wrath burned against us because of our sins. But when Christ had satisfied that divine justice, Godís wrath was taken away. Of Christ is said, that He was made like unto us, in order "that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." (Hebr.2:17) When Jesus had sacrifices Himself, and reconciled us to God, He wasnít ready yet. After having done that once, He now is making continual intercession for us with God. As is written, that "He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebr.7:25)
Q26: How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A: Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.
Christ is the mighty King. His first act is to gather a people for Himself. The natural stubbornness of us will be broken down through His Word and Spirit, and He will subdue us to Himself. Formerly, we were unwilling to serve Christ, as still many are now. But after Godís power became too strong for us, we were subdued, and began to serve Him willingly. As is written, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Ps.110:3) When we are His subjects, He rules and defends us. Under His government, we are safe. Nothing can happen to us. Even death itself is defeated. Satan and hell are conquered, and we are set free. Though the struggle is not yet ready on this earth, we know that Christ rules us and defends us against all evils. "The LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. (Isa.33:22) The enemies, though they may temporary overcome us, will yet not have the final triumph. The real triumph, and the everlasting one, is Christís. He is our King.