Home > Systematic Theology > Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Prophet- Book Fifth- Chapter 3- Section 1

Duty of Believing in Jesus Christ: Offices of Christ: Prophet- Book Fifth- Chapter 3- Section 1

Book Fifth

CHAPTER III.

OFFICES OF CHRIST.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN.[1]

A mediator is a middle person between two parties. The term is especially applied to one who interposes between parties at variance, with a view to effect a reconciliation. Men are under the displeasure of God, on account of their sins, and are in rebellion against him, and enemies in mind by wicked works. Christ appears as mediator, to effect a reconciliation.

The duty of a mediator differs, according to the relation of the parties. When the variance between them arises wholly from misunderstanding, an explanation is all that is necessary to effect a reconciliation. In this case a mediator is simply an interpreter. When an offence has been given, but such a one as may be pardoned on mere entreaty, the mediator becomes an intercessor. But when the circumstances are such as to require satisfaction for the offence , the mediator must render that satisfaction or become surety for the offender. On God’s part, as he has committed no wrong, nothing more is required than an Interpreter,[2] to show to man his uprightness. But, on the part of guilty man, it is necessary that the Mediator should be both Intercessor and Surety.

The union of two natures in Christ qualifies him for the work of mediation. As man, he sympathizes with us, is accessible, both when we desire to present petitions and to receive instruction; and he is capable of standing as our substitute or surety, and of making the requisite satisfaction of divine justice. As God, he understands fully the claims against us, has ready access to the offended Sovereign, has all the knowledge which it can be necessary to communicate to us, and can give dignity and value to the satisfaction offered in our behalf. These qualifications are found in no other person, and accordingly “There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”[3]

In the one office of Mediator three offices are included, which need separate consideration: those of Prophet, Priest, and King.

SECTION I.–PROPHET

JESUS CHRIST, AS PROPHET, MAKES REVELATION FROM GOD TO MEN.[4]

Among the revelations made by prophets, the foretelling of future events has held a conspicuous place: but this does not constitute the whole of the office. The word prophesy does not always refer to future events, as is apparent from an incident in the injurious treatment which our Redeemer received at his trial. When blindfolded he was struck by one of the attendants, who contemptuously demanded, “Prophesy who is he that smote thee.”[5] From this example we learn that the term was not exclusively used for the foretelling of future events, but was applied to the making of any declaration which required superhuman knowledge.

Jesus Christ, as a Prophet, was superior to all other prophets. Moses was so far distinguished above the rest, that it was said no prophet had arisen like him;[6] but Moses foretold the coming of Jesus Christ, in these words: “The Lord, thy God, will raise up unto thee, a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”[7] Elijah was a prophet, highly distinguished in his day, and was translated to heaven, without tasting death: but Moses and Elijah appeared on the mount of transfiguration, to lay down their prophetical office and honors at the feet of Jesus, when the voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.”[8] Moses and Elijah were to be heard in their day; but the voice from the excellent glory singled out Jesus as the superior prophet, whose instructions we are commanded to receive.

Not only was Christ superior to the prophets of the former dispensation, but it was he who qualified them for their office, and spoke through them.[9] This fact accords with his statement, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”[10] He is, in this view, the only Prophet, the only Revealer of the mind of God. Before his personal ministry commenced, he made revelation by prophets whom he inspired; during his ministry, he spoke as one from the bosom of the Father; and after he left the world, he continued to make revelation, through his apostles and others, to whom he gave his Spirit. The last book of the Bible is a revelation which he gave to is servant John;[11] and the whole Bible is now to us as the word of Christ. His truth he still uses, as the Prophet of the Church, instructing his people into the knowledge of God.

God has sometimes been pleased to make known his will by the ministry of angels; but the prophets, whom he ordinarily employed, were men of like passions with ourselves. There was peculiar fitness, as well as condescending kindness, that the great Prophet of the Church should be one in our own nature. Though it was true, “Never man spake like this man,”[12] it was still true, that he spoke with the voice of a man; and, instead of the terrific thunders heard from Sinai, addressed those who were willing to receive his instructions, in the accents of tenderness, as an affectionate friend. But such affection might have existed, without the knowledge necessary to make known the whole mind of God. This qualification his divine nature supplied. Paul asks, on one occasion, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord? and who hath been his counsellor ?[13] But, it had been predicted of Jesus, that he should be called Wonderful, Counsellor.[14] He was the wisdom of God, from the bosom of the Father, and was therefore fully qualified to reveal the mind and counsel of God to men.

At the feet of this Prophet let us sit, that we may learn the knowledge of God. With Mary, let us take our place there, leaving the cumbering cares of the world, and opening our ears and our hearts to receive his heavenly instructions. Peter, James, and John, who saw his glorious form in the holy mount, when the bright vision had passed away, were left in possession of the divine command: “Hear ye him.” Let us take this direction as the guide of our way, until we shall be admitted to the brighter vision of his glory, of which the former was but a shadow.

[1] 1 Tim. ii. 5; 2 Cor. v. 18; Col. i. 20; 1 John ii. 1; Gal. i. 4.; iii. 13; Tit. ii. 14.

[2] Job xxxiii. 23.

[3] Acts iv. 12.

[4] Isaiah lxi. 1; Luke iv. 18, 23; Heb. ii. 3; 1 Pet. i. 11; Deut. xviii. 18; John iii. 34; xvi. 1; Rev. i. 1.

[5] Matt. xxvi. 68.

[6] Duet. xxxiv. 10.

[7] Deut. xviii. 15.

[8] Matt. xvii. 5.

[9] 1 Pet. i. 11.

[10] John i. 18.

[11] Rev. i. 1.

[12] John vii. 46.

[13] Romans xi. 34.

[14] Isaiah ix. 6.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

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