8 See J. Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2005), 942, 945 8, 950 1.

He clearly thought of himself and his mission also in prophetic terms (Mark 6: 4 parr.). That he understood his vocation also in priestly terms appears a reasonable conclusion from the narratives of the Last Supper (see next thesis). He seems also to have in some sense thought of himself in kingly terms. We might base this conclusion on such passages as his interchange with James and John when they ask to sit on Jesus’ right hand and left in his coming royal glory (Mark 10: 35–45 parr.). Jesus’ ominous reply about what his kingship will involve, the ‘cup’ that he will drink and the ‘baptism’ with which he will be baptized, more than hint at the suffering to come. It will culminate with his being crucified on the charge of being a dangerous royal pretender (Mark 15: 26). That charge suggests that Jesus had given an impression of claiming, at least implicitly, some kind of royal authority. Where the charge affixed to the cross indicated that Pontius Pilate thought of that kingship as a threat to public order, Jesus himself understood his kingship in terms of service and suffering.9

9 See O’Collins, Christology, 67 80. 10 N. Schreurs, ‘A Non Sacrificial Interpretation of Christian Redemption’, in T. Merrigan and J. Haers (eds.), The Myriad Christ: Plurality and the Quest for Unity in Contemporary Christology (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2000), 551.

Unquestionably, we cannot draw from the historical witness of the Gospels a picture of Jesus clearly enunciating his threefold office as priest, prophet, and king. But there are good reasons for concluding that (1) he understood his mission in terms of prophetic, kingly, and priestly functions, and (2) knew the deadly risks inherent in these functions. In particular, as we shall argue in the next thesis, he knew the exercise of his priesthood to involve him in suffering and a violent death. At the Last Supper he dramatized what Hebrews expressed about the utter vulnerability of his priestly vocation.