Westminster Larger Catechism Study

WLC – Q. 42. Why was our mediator called Christ?

Q. 42. Why was our mediator called Christ?
A. Our mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his church, in the estate both of his humiliation and exaltation.

In my own words I would say Christ is more of Title and not a last or family name like we have. But when you read the answer you are rewarded with considerable understanding and richness in the term. We should also note that both the Scriptures and the very words of Jesus himself witness to this.

Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Luk 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Luk 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

Luk 24:47  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luk 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

Vos comments.

Is “Christ” a name or a title? “Christ” is not a name, but a title which accompanies the personal name “Jesus.” This is brought out by the use of the definite article with “Christ” which occurs in some places, such as Matthew 16:16 “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

What is the literal meaning of the word Christ? “Christ” is the English form of the Greek word Christos , which means “Anointed.” Thus whether we say that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, or the Anointed One is a matter of language and not of meaning. These words all mean the same thing. In passages of the Old Testament where the word anointed occurs with reference to the coming Redeemer, such as Psalm 2:2, “the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed… ,” the Hebrew word Messiah could equally correctly be translated by the word Christ, for the meaning is the same.

When does Christ execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king? Christ, our Savior, executes the offices of prophet, priest, and king both in his estate of humiliation (that is, during his life on earth) and in his estate of exaltation (that is, since his resurrection, and especially in his life of glory in heaven). This means that Christ was a prophet, a priest, and a king when he was on earth, and that he is a prophet, a priest, and a king in heaven today!

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