Heidelberg Catechism Q 31

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Devotional Word for Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I have a confession, and I bet that I am not alone.  When I was a child, I thought that the word Christ was merely Jesus’ last name.  You can understand my thinking.  I had a last name, so I figured that Jesus would also have a last name.  However, when the Bible calls Jesus the Christ, it means far more than just a last name.  It is a title.  As we continue through the Heidelberg Catechism, question 31 discusses its importance.  It says, “Why is He called Christ, that is, the anointed one?”  Even there we see that the word Christ means anointed one.  Christ comes from the Greek word for anointed one.  The Hebrew word is also familiar to us.  It is Messiah.  The question still stands, why is Jesus called the Messiah or the Christ?

The answer says, “Because He is ordained by God the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, fully revealing to us the secret purpose and will of God concerning our redemption; to be our only High Priest, having redeemed us by the one sacrifice of His body and ever interceding for us with the Father, and to be our eternal King, governing us by His Word and Spirit, and defending and sustaining us in the redemption He has won for us.”

I recognize that this answer is a mouthful.  We can understand its structure with three words: Prophet, Priest, and King.  In short, Jesus is called the Christ because He serves as our Prophet, Priest, and King.  As we look through the Scriptures, we see many individuals who had the role of prophet, priest, or king.  We even saw a few people who acted in the role of more than one.  However, the Scriptures present the Lord Jesus as THE PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING.  

Jesus is the Prophet because by His words and actions He revealed God’s purposes for God’s people.  The Lord Jesus shows us that we are redeemed by His blood.  The Lord Jesus draws to conclusion the purposes of the Scriptures from the very beginning.  In this way Jesus is the right focus of all of the Scriptures.  He even says so in Luke 24:27.

Jesus is the High Priest because He offered up Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.  Not only did He make the offer of the sacrifice.  He Himself was the sacrifice.  I know that someone might be thinking, “How can He be both a son of David (who was from the tribe of Judah) as well as a priest (who had to be from the tribe of Levi)?”  The answer is in Hebrews 5:5-6.  He is a called a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.  It turns out that Melchizedek is one of the most interesting people in the Old Testament, but it would take too long for today to look at him properly.

Jesus is also the King who governs us by His Word and Spirit.  As we think about this, consider Ephesians 1:20b-23.  The Lord Jesus has been set at the right hand of the throne of God, is above all power and authority, and is ruling with all things subjected under His feet.  In short, He is govern all of creation.

Why do we call the Lord Jesus the Christ?  We call Him the Christ because He was anointed by the Father to be THE Prophet, Priest, AND King in order that His people might be reconciled to the God.  Let us praise the Lord Jesus our Prophet, Priest, and King.  Let us pray.