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The Risen Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King

In my study on the resurrection, I have focused in on the question: how does the resurrection of Christ serve his mediatorial offices of prophet, priest, and king? I have become convinced that the resurrection marks a crucial turning point in the effective completion of all three of these offices. I won’t take the space to unpack these passages, but what follows are some of the main texts that get me to this conclusion.

The greatest act of Jesus’ priesthood was making atonement for sin on the cross. However, another aspect of Jesus’ priestly ministry is making intercession for believers in heaven (Romans 8:34, I John 2:1, Hebrews 6:19, 7:25, 9:24), and the book of Hebrews repeatedly designates Christ’s resurrected/exalted life as the basis of this priestly duty. Some samples:

Hebrews 5:9-10: “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 7:16: “(Christ) has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.”

Hebrews 7:24-25: “Jesus holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, 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.”

In Acts 2:30-31, Peter’s comments on Psalm 16 base Christ’s Davidic kingship upon his resurrection: “Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, (David) foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” The apostle Paul makes the same connection in Acts 13:32-37 by quoting Davidic promises such as the royal declaration of Psalm 2:7 as being fulfilled in the resurrection. And in Romans 1:4, Paul writes that Christ “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” As strange as it may initially seem, Jack Collins, Geerhardus Vos, and Richard Gaffin have convinced me that the term Son of God means here, as it does so often throughout the Old Testament and in Acts 13, Davidic King.

In John 14:25-26 and 16:12-15 Jesus teaches his disciples that his prophetic ministry to them will be completed by the Holy Spirit after he has gone. In John 16:7-11, it is Christ’s going away and returning to the Father that is the basis of the Spirit coming into the world to convict of sin. The pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost is, according to Acts 2:33, a work of the risen Christ: “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” Jesus himself had drawn this parallel between his ascension to the Father and the coming of the Spirit in John 16:7: “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Thus the following progression of thought is not arbitrary but biblical: resurrection/exaltation —-> pouring out of Spirit —-> prophetic ministry of Christ.

There is a ton more to unpack here, but those are the bare bones.

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I’m excited to be teaching an online cohort on arguments for Christianity. We will dive deep into 6 topics, with a view to real conversations and the pressing questions of our culture. Lots of time for interaction. This will be fun! You’re invited to join us!