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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Can This Be the Christ?

The Samaritan woman came to Jacob’s well in search of ordinary water. But after her brief conversation with Jesus, she ended up leaving her water jar behind as she went to tell others about the extraordinary man she had just met who told her everything she did and who spoke to her about living water. “Can this be the Christ?” she asked them. On this program, the hosts will discuss the implications of this passage as they wrap up their discussion of chapter four in their continuing series on the Gospel of John.


“In John 4:25, the woman says to Jesus, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ And Jesus looks to her and says, ‘I who speak to you am he.'”

Shane Rosenthal

“This I think strikes me as another one of the many times that Jesus speaks with this authority of his identity. I’m the one. And this word Christ, of course, we know from history there was confusion on what that might be, but they’re all expecting this particular figure to show up.”

Caleb Bassett


“Christ’s Threefold Office”

Christ’s person and work are often spoken of as fulfilling three distinct offices: prophet, priest, and king, in both his humiliation and exaltation. Prophets are teachers, and covenant lawyers, carrying out the heavenly policy of which they speak. In the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus is attended by Moses and Elijah, confirming his work as a prophet. The command to “listen to him” directly connects Jesus to God’s promise in Deut. 18:15 to raise up a prophet like Moses. And yet, Jesus is also greater than Moses, acting as a mediator who can offer the forgiveness of sins in his person. Christ continues to be a prophet over his church by his Word and Spirit, inaugurating the new kingdom through his very words and actions, as the message about him and from him goes to the four corners of the earth.

Christ is also the great high priest whose sacrifice embodied the entire old covenant sacrificial system, and yet procured the redemption only foreshadowed by these rituals. Christ was the Melchizedek over the house of God, greater than the Levitical priesthood, purchasing the salvation for the elect by an indestructible sacrifice, by which he continually make intercession for his people, forever purifying our consciences. Christ is also the king. He is not only the Son of God according to eternal generation, but the Son of David’s line who fulfilled all the first Adam failed, providing true righteousness and holiness and triumphing over sin, death, and hell by his very death. His death purchased the right for the Son of Man to be raised in power to the right hand of the majesty on high, where he governs and rules in the midst of his enemies and brings all his people to glory. The offices of prophet, priest, and king find their completion in him alone. Through the fulfillment of these offices as the God-man, Christ offered the atonement needed to propitiate the wrath of God, reconcile men to himself, and purchase the heavenly kingdom. This was done, not from need or necessity, but according to the great love with which he has loved his people.

(Adapted from Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, pp. 483-547)

More from this Series: The Gospel of John Year-Long Series

  1. A Sneak Peek at our New Series on the Gospel of John Listen Now ›
  2. Eyewitness Testimony in the Gospel of John Listen Now ›
  3. Richard Bauckham on the Reliability of John Listen Now ›
  4. In the Beginning Was the Word Listen Now ›
  5. The Jewishness of John’s Gospel Listen Now ›
  6. The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us Listen Now ›
  7. The Lamb of God Listen Now ›
  8. Climbing Jacob’s Ladder? Listen Now ›
  9. Water into Wine Listen Now ›
  10. An Interview with D.A. Carson Listen Now ›
  11. Money-Changers in the Temple Listen Now ›
  12. God in Our Midst Listen Now ›
  13. Born from Above Listen Now ›
  14. God So Loved the World Listen Now ›
  15. He Must Increase, I Must Decrease Listen Now ›
  16. The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel Listen Now ›
  17. Living Water Listen Now ›
  18. Worship in Spirit & Truth Listen Now ›
  19. Can This Be the Christ? Listen Now ›
  20. An Early Date for John’s Gospel? Listen Now ›
  21. Jesus on Trial Listen Now ›
  22. The Scriptures Bear Witness of Me Listen Now ›
  23. The Bread of Life Listen Now ›
  24. Drawn by God Listen Now ›
  25. If Anyone Thirsts Listen Now ›
  26. The Light of the World Listen Now ›
  27. The Truth Will Set You Free Listen Now ›
  28. I Am the Good Shepherd Listen Now ›
  29. My Sheep Hear My Voice Listen Now ›
  30. I Am the Resurrection & the Life Listen Now ›
  31. Jesus’ Death Foretold Listen Now ›
  32. The Triumphal Entry Listen Now ›
  33. Who Has Believed Our Report? Listen Now ›
  34. The Servant Leader Listen Now ›
  35. The Betrayal Listen Now ›
  36. I Am the Way Listen Now ›
  37. The Spirit of Truth Listen Now ›
  38. I Am the Vine Listen Now ›
  39. Father, Son, & Spirit Listen Now ›
  40. Christ’s High Priestly Prayer Listen Now ›
  41. The Arrest & Trial of Jesus Listen Now ›
  42. My Kingdom Is Not of This World Listen Now ›
  43. The Significance of Golgotha Listen Now ›
  44. Naked, Ashamed, Despised, & Rejected Listen Now ›
  45. Reconciling Accounts of the Resurrection Listen Now ›
  46. Peace Be With You Listen Now ›
  47. The Epilogue of John’s Gospel Listen Now ›
  48. Feed My Sheep Listen Now ›
  49. The Identity of the Beloved Disciple Listen Now ›
  50. The Incarnate Word Listen Now ›
  51. The ‘I Am’ Sayings of Jesus Listen Now ›
  52. The Messiah’s Mission Listen Now ›