Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.
Lord’s Day 12
Question 31: Why is he called “Christ,”
Answer: Because he has been ordained by God the Father
and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit 1
to be our chief prophet and teacher 2
who fully reveals to us
the secret counsel and will of God concerning our deliverance; 3
our only high priest 4
who has delivered us by the one sacrifice of his body, 5
and who continually pleads our cause with the Father; 6
and our eternal king 7
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who guards us and keeps us
in the freedom he has won for us.8
1. Luke 3:21-22; 4:14-19 (Isa. 61:1); Heb. 1:9 (Ps. 45:7)
2. Acts 3:22 (Deut. 18:15)
3. John 1:18; 15:15
4. Heb. 7:17 (Ps. 110:4)
5. Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14
6. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24
7. Matt. 21:5 (Zech. 9:9)
8. Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10-11
Question 32: But why are you called a Christian?
Answer: Because by faith I am a member of Christ 1
and so I share in his anointing.2
I am anointed
to confess his name, 3
to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks, 4
to strive with a free conscience against sin and the devil
in this life, 5
and afterward to reign with Christ
over all creation
1. 1 Cor. 12:12-27
2. Acts 2:17 (Joel 2:28); 1 John 2:27
3. Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 13:15
4. Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9
5. Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 6:11; 1 Tim. 1:18-19
6. Matt. 25:34; 2 Tim. 2:12
The Heidelberg writers continue to look at the Son. Jesus was ordained and anointed by the Father and Holy Spirit to fulfill the roles of Prophet, Priest, and King.
Prophets revealed the will and word of God to His people and would qualify their pronouncements with the phrase “Thus saith the Lord”, showing that the words spoken were not their own, but from God. Jesus is the Word of God revealed to mankind (John 1:14) and He reveals the will of God with statements like “Truly, truly, I say to you” (John 3:3), showing that He is able to declare the will of God since He is Lord.
Priest would be a mediator between God and His people, offering prayers and sacrifices to God on their behalf. Jesus is the “one mediator between God and men” (1 Timothy 2:5) and He offered Himself as the one, perfect sacrifice for His people (Hebrews 10:14).
Kings are the rulers and protectors of nations. Jesus is the “King of kings” (Revelation 19:16) and His people are safe in His hands (John 10:28-29).
Followers of Christ are being conformed into His image, and as “Christians” in this life, by faith we proclaim the Word of God when we confess Jesus as Lord, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, and we strive with a free conscience against sin and the devil. And after that, eternal glory with our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. Thy kingdom come, Lord!
“Take Jesus for your king, and by baptism swear allegiance to him; take him for your prophet, and hear him; take him for your priest, to make atonement for you.” Matthew Henry