How does Christ fill the office of a priest?



Question 25 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, How does Christ fill the office of a priest?

The answer given is, Christ fills the office of a priest in his once offering up of himself to God as a sacrifice, to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God; and in making constant intercession for us.

I notice first the word “once” which is used to modify the verb offering. Christ does not continually offer himself up as a sacrifice, nor does the sacrifice need to be repeated on a daily or weekly basis. It was completed once and is effective for all time.

The answer also provides the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice. It was done to satisfy divine justice and provide the means were we can be reconciled to God. In other words our relationship with God was broken and we needed Jesus to intervene to restore the relationship. We bring sin and failure to the table and Jesus takes it and gives us his righteousness in return.

But perhaps the most comfort of all can be obtained from the last part of this answer. Jesus functions as a priest by continually interceding on our behalf.

This really hits home with me right now. I have gone through a period of time when I wasn’t really sure who was fully in my corner supporting me. When life is difficult and nothing seems to be going right, it makes all the difference in the world to know that Jesus has not given up and has not abandoned me. The reminder that Jesus is making the effort to intercede on my behalf makes it possible to persevere and avoid despair.

If you are in need of encouragement right now, may I suggest that you take a few moments and read the prayer In John 17 and spend some time letting it marinate? By reading this prayer, we get a deep view into how Jesus intercedes for us.