Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Christ's Prophetic Office

Chapter 15 deals with the three positions given to Christ by the Father.  These three positions or roles are prophet, king, and priest.  Calvin and Augustine point out the fact that many heretics acknowledge in name only that Christ holds these three positions, but they do not respect the positions that Christ holds.  They use these traditional names given to Christ, but their meaning is empty.  We must seek to recognize the completeness of these roles and realize Christ's authority.

Calvin also highlights that God, "by providing his people with an unbroken line of prophets, never left them without useful doctrine sufficient for salvation, yet the minds of the pious had always been imbued with the conviction that they were to hope for the full light of understanding only at the coming of the Messiah."  The story of the Samaritan woman is an example of someone hoping for a better understanding.  "The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming' (who is called Christ). 'When He comes, He will tell us all things,'" (John 4:25 NKJV).  The writer of Hebrews wrote, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;" (Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV). Other Scripture passages were used by Calvin to show that Christ fulfilled his role as prophet.

The "title 'Christ' pertains to these three offices; for we know that under the law prophets as well as priests and kings were anointed with holy oil."  The title "Messiah" is more closely associated with his kingly office, but it too is related to the other two offices.  Christ "was anointed by the Spirit to be herald and witness of the Father's grace."  Matthew 17:5 reads, "While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'"  God commands us to listen to Christ's message.  But here is the interesting thing that Calvin brings out.  We are the body of Christ.  Therefore, "he received the anointing, not only for himself that he might carry out the office of teaching, but for his whole body that the power of the Spirit might be present in the continuing preaching of the gospel."  Everything worth knowing is within Christ.  Paul wrote, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified," (1 Corinthians 2:2 NKJV).  Calvin concludes speaking of the office of the prophet by saying, "And the prophetic dignity in Christ leads us to know that in the sum of doctrine as he has given it to us all parts of perfect wisdom are contained."

Tomorrow's reading: 2.15.3-2.15.5

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