The Light of the World As Our Prophet, Priest, and King

By Rev Dr Edward Goh

The answer to Westminister Shorter Catechism Question 23 says, “Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king . . . ”. We noted in last Sunday’s Shorter Catechism class that Calvin sees these offices as keys to understanding Christ’s work. In the class, we also noted how Christ fulfils these offices foreshadowed in Old Testament texts like Deut. 18; 2 Sam. 7; and Ps. 110 — a sampling of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

This does not mean Christ functioned as either a prophet, a priest, or a king at any one time during His ministry on earth. Rather, the three roles are interlinked and inseparable in Christ. They help us look at Christ’s work from different angles at any given moment so that we can appreciate more fully the holistic nature of the work He has come to accomplish.

For example, John 1:4-9 declares Jesus as the light of the world. He gives light to men. This light is the life of man. John 5:24 says His word leads to eternal life. Thus, He gives us light and life as a prophet by His word of truth.

We are also told in John 1:5 that Christ’s light overcomes the darkness. The Lord, in His kingly role, came to ultimately defeat the darkness of sin and death at the cross. Meanwhile, His light also brings condemnation on those who love the darkness, as John 3:18-19 explains. His light points to His final judgment on all darkness when He shall return as King.

Then in John 9, the Lord, as the light of the world, healed a man born blind. Likewise, today, as our priest He continues to shine His light into our lives to heal us of the blindness brought by sin. John 9 also shows the Lord as a prophet, declaring God’s purpose behind the man’s blindness, and as the King, pronouncing judgment on the Pharisees. 

What do all these mean for us? 1 John 1:5-10 tells us that to walk with the Lord Jesus is to walk in His light. This means that we speak and practise the truth (v.6), that we let His word reside in us (vv.8,10) and, when we fail, that we confess our sins and trust His blood to cleanse us (vv.8-9). In so doing, we continue in fellowship with Christ and the church, living in His light, experiencing Him as our Prophet, Priest, and King.