Vol.XV No.III Pg.4
May 1978

The "Roles" Of Christ

Robert F. Turner

Have you given serious thought to the multiple "roles" of our Savior, and to that which each contributes to the over-all truth? Think with me.

Israel was called God's "servant," but as their unfaithfulness became apparent, Isaiah wrote of one who was "chosen' (elect) as God s servant, and who would "restore the preserved of Israel" and also be "a light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:1-7; 49:5-6). Matthew identifies that one as Jesus (12:14-21). As a "servant" Jesus did the will of the Father, even unto death. He taught us humility (Jn. 13: 3-17), and, that greatness in God's kingdom is measured by service (Matt. 20:20-28). Except we learn these lessons, following His example, we will not profit by this role (1 Pet. 2:18-).

Moses spoke of a Prophet which was to come (Deut. 18:18-f), and although many "spokesmen" for God followed, Jesus filled that role in a special way. Peter cites the above passage and applies it to Jesus. God "spake in times past" by the prophets, and "hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son" (Acts 3:22-f.; Heb. 1: 1-2). Surely Jesus Christ is Prophet of Prophets. As someone put it, He is The Christ of Content, not an emotional ideal or a label for bumper stickers. He bears a message. He teaches something that must be heard and heeded if we are to benefit by Jesus in the role of Prophet. "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak" (Jn. 12:48-50). Zechariah said the one identified as the "Branch" (See Isa. 4:2 Jer. 23: 5) would be "priest upon his throne" (6:12-13); and in keeping with this and other prophecies, the Hebrew writer says our Lord is "High Priest after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 7: 21-25; 9:11-f). Unlike the Aaronic Priests, Christ offered His own blood at the true mercy seat of God in heaven (9:24), and we are urged to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (4:15-16).

Because sin is our "disease," and the substitutionary offering of the life of Jesus is our "remedy," the priestly role of Christ deserves its place of emphasis. The sinned-against Father is appeased, we are redeemed from our legal debt, and pronounced "free of guilt" (justified) on the basis of this offering. The role is continued as He intercedes for us, day by day. But we err if we neglect the many companion roles that go with priesthood. Remove the message of the Prophet, and we are left ignorant of the remedy. Without His example as a Servant we are as sheep astray, with no demonstrating Shepherd to guide us home. And the current aversion to the "rule" "law" "authority" of Christ ignores His role as King. After the order of Melchisedec, He is "priest upon his throne," "King and Priest" at the same time (Gen. 14:18- Heb. 7:).

Many denominational exegetes place great stress upon Christ's priestly role, practically ignoring the necessity for blending all other roles into their final conclusion. Particularly, they postpone His kingship to (continued next page)