Prophet, Priest, and King

Do You know my Jesuspic

The Old Testament records how prophets, priests, and kings were anointed before their service. Jesus the Christ (the anointed one) is our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. This is a great description of who Jesus is and how we should see Jesus. In Latin it is the called the munus triplex. “As King, he is the mighty Creator, who rules heaven and earth and ensures the redemption of his people. As Prophet, he is God’s very Word, who teaches us God’s truth. As Priest, he offers his perfect life as a sacrifice for the sins of his people and ever lives in resurrection glory to make intercession for them.”[1] Jesus is our Prophet in that he has spoken to us from God. Jesus is our Priest because he speaks to God for us. Jesus is our King because he reigns over his church.



A prophet is one who speaks for God. As the prophet, Jesus has revealed the Father’s will to us. “As prophet, Jesus reveals God to men and he reveals men to themselves. He is the crown of Old Testament prophecy and the perfect prophet. Old Testament teachings in ritual and ceremonial laws, in moral precepts, and in spiritual meaning, all converge upon and unite in him.”[2] The only way we may know the Father is by the Son revealing the Father to us—“no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27).

In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses prophesied that God would raise up a prophet like himself who would lead and rule the people. Peter quoted that prophecy in Acts 3:22-23. Jesus was the prophet who was to lead the Exodus out of sin. He would deliver the final law from God. He would rule the people. Those who do not listen to Jesus will be “utterly destroyed from among the people.”

Jesus described himself as a prophet. He recognized that he would suffer just like the other prophets (“for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem,” Luke 13:33). Jesus said he was without honor at home because he was a prophet (Matthew 13:57).

The Old Testament prophets often preached about sin. The sinfulness of the people was denounced. The judgment of God and the mercy of God was also pronounced as common themes among the Old Testament prophets. Jesus, our Prophet, preached about the forgiveness wrought in the Gospel.  Jesus preached about the judgment which would fall on those who refused him.

Although Jesus is the Prophet, he is more than prophet because he himself is the message. A prophet is one who speaks the message of God (Deut. 18:15-22; Jer. 1:9-10). Jesus spoke the message, but he is the message—John 1:1. Jesus the Great Prophet spoke on his own authority (Matthew 7:28-29). He spoke the truth without the addition of man’s distortions (John 1:18). His word is the foundation of judgment and life (Matthew 7:21-27). Jesus was the Prophet who alone has the words of life (John 6:68).



The priest stood before God for mankind. They offered sacrifices to God to praise him and for atonement. The Old Testament priesthood foreshadowed the Priesthood of Christ. They led up to Christ’s perfection. “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation” (Hebrews 9:11). Jesus is our only High Priest because: (1.) No man, save the Lord Jesus Christ, has liberty of access unto God. All other men, being sinners, need someone to approach God on their behalf. (2.) No other sacrifice than his could take away sin. (3.) It is only through Him that God is propitious to sinful men; (4.) It is only through Him that the benefits which flow from the favor of God are conveyed to his people.”[3]

The sacrifice which Jesus made was the sacrifice of himself. “He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Jesus’ sacrifice of his body was “an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). “Having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time,” Jesus has “sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12).  This sacrifice is the sacrifice of his life lived and his life laid down. The sacrifice of his life lived (active obedience) is what makes Christians to be viewed as righteous before God. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). His life laid down, passive obedience, earns for us the blessings of atonement. Jesus bore our sins—expiation (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus bore the wrath of God for our sins—propitiation (1 John 2:2). Jesus is also that sacrifice by which we are brought back to God—reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Finally, Jesus “buys us back from the debt of sin”—redemption (Mark 10:45).

Jesus is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Genesis 14:18-20 gives us all the historical information we have about Melchizedek. Hebrews 7:1-3 gives us a theological reflection on the nature of Christ from Melchizedek’s life. Since Christ is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, he is both priest and king of Salem. He is without beginning or end. He is also greater than Abraham. Being greater than Abraham, he is greater than the Levitical priesthood. All that pertains to Jesus’ ministry is superior to the previous shadows of the good things to come.

Since Jesus is our High Priest, he is the “Mediator between God and man” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus continues to serve as the Mediator today.



“The concept of Christ as King may be surveyed around five words: promised, predicted, proffered, rejected, and realized.”[4] A king rules, protects and provides for his people. King Jesus does all these things perfectly. “In the New Testament, as king, Christ founds the kingdom of God; he claims the obedience of men; he speaks with authority; works miracles; he claims all authority as Messiah; he establishes the ordinances; founds the church; conquers death; commissions the disciples to preach the gospel; ascends to the right hand of God; intercedes for his people; and will reign until all his enemies are subdued.”[5]Just after he was born, the wise men searched “for the one who was born king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). The governor asked Jesus if he was King of the Jews, and Jesus confirmed it saying, “It is as you say” (Matthew 27:11). Jesus is described as the King who fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:5).

Jesus is the King who fulfilled God’s promise to David to have a descendent upon his throne forever (Jeremiah 32:4-5). This promise is recorded in 2 Samuel 7:12, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.” Jesus is that everlasting king. Jesus was both David’s son and his Lord (Matthew 22:42-45).

Since Jesus is King, his people are his kingdom. The phrase “Kingdom of God” occurs around 66 times in the New Testament. John and Jesus both preached, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14). There cannot be a king without a kingdom. Jesus is the King. The church is his kingdom. Jesus’ kingdom must submit to him. We must live for his service. We are also to enjoy the blessings of our King. We live in joy and riches because we are citizens of his heavenly kingdom.


[1] John M. Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006), 146.

[2] Edgar Young Mullins, The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression (Philadelphia; Boston; St. Louis; Los Angeles; Chicago; New York; Toronto: Roger Williams Press, 1917), 303.

[3] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 466.

[4] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 298.

[5] Edgar Young Mullins, The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression, 304.

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