On the Believer as a Little Christ

On the Believer as a Little Christ

On the Believer as a Little Christ.

“Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”  (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

What does it mean to become a “little Christ,” a human version of the divine Messiah? How do we go about becoming little Christs? We certainly can’t assume the role of Messiah,but we can become little messiahs-in-training. We do know that as the anointed Messiah, Jesus was empowered to be a prophet, a priest and a king. He completed these anointed offices of the Old Covenant and summed them up in the one office of Messiah. So it follows that each follower of Jesus is anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to, to some degree, fufill human versions of those three divine offices. Each believer has embedded within him/her the power and inclination to participant in His mission by being a little prophet, a little priest and a little king. These roles are summed up in that of little Christ, without developing a Messiah complex. It is not the believer’s job to be the one holy and anointed Messiah. Believers are asked to be juniors-in-training, little versions of the Senior-in-charge. Believers are called to be servant-prophets, servant-priests, and servant-kings. Nothing more. Nothing less. Believers don’t have the authority or ability to be anything but little versions of Jesus Christ, doing much the same thing that He did on the earth.

Little Prophet

God’s little prophets don’t need to foretell the future, carry out miracles, or perform healings, though that may occasionally happen. But the servant-prophet can:

  1. Stand Up for Justice. Einstein once remarked that the prophetic voice in society is crucial because “the prophet has an almost fanatical love of justice.” Prophetic work in justice could include advocating for those who are being unfairly treated or taken advantage of. It could be standing up for the life of the unborn or the elderly regarding abortion or euthanasia. Or it could be rescuing those innocent ones who are accused unjustly. Justice is central to God’s character and God’s desires for humanity, and so the prophet works to make things right according to the character and will of the Lord. A little prophet may end up contradicting societal norms, a prophet may be countercultural, but that’s consistent with all prophets in Scripture. Jesus was the Big Prophet, and we follow His lead by doing His prophetic work when we see injustice. As Yahweh told the prophet Isaiah, “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17).
  2. Take Special Assignments. The prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures were often called by God to be living visual aids to God’s word for the people. They simply did what God asked them to do to demonstrate or spread His word. Prophets weren’t afraid to be unconventional in their obedience. One pastor recently heard from the Lord that he should preach a sermon/day for 100 consecutive days. So he did just that, and the Spirit moved powerfully. Another pastor heard from the Lord that he should simply read the Bible through out loud on his podcast, for a full year. He did just that, and it became the #1 podcast in the country. Prophets aren’t shy about doing something different or out of the ordinary if the Lord directs things in that way. Prophets historically are not afraid to do something unconventional if that’s what’s called for. Little prophets follow in the footsteps of the Big Prophet.
  3. Speak the Word. God’s Word sooner or later comes down to justice and mercy. An act of compassion is worth a hundred words. So is a gesture of comfort and hope. Mere God-talk is not necessarily speaking the Word. Reciting Scripture in an inappropriate context or for selfish reasons is not speaking the Word. Sometimes, though, when led by the Holy Spirit, speaking the Scripture is a powerful tool of God to accomplish His will. Sometimes a well-timed and apt Bible verse or story has the power of the Almighty God behind it. When the spiritual authority of the Lord is filling the Word, it as if God Himself is in the room speaking. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. Much like the biblical prophets, the little prophets now speak the Word in Spirit and power, not to gain advantage or gain a holy reputation. “My word that goes out from my mouth will not return to me empty. It will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11).

Little Priest

Like living stones, you are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5). Each believer is called to be a priestly assistant as we devote ourselves to the High Priest. How can we flesh out our priesthood?

  1. Bring God to the people. Demonstrate to others God’s character throught the Fruit of the Spirit, so it’s clear what God is like (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control); Enlighten others to the wisdom and relevance of Scripture;
  2. Bring the people to God. Intercede through disciplined prayer; Remind others of God’s presence in the world through word and deed; Interpret the times through the lens of Scripture;
  3. Offer yourselves daily as a living sacrifice. Read God’s mind by studying the Bible; Minister to “one another” in God’s name; Offer up sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; Live a life of self-denial as you pick up your cross daily;
  4. Put on Christ as your priestly clothing. Take off the Old You in sin, rejecting the attitudes and behavior of the old nature; Put on the New You in Christ, growing in faith and goodness; Remember love is the centerpiece of your priestly wardrobe.

Little King:

Little kings don’t need to be in charge on some throne. They don’t need to rule over other people. They don’t need to establish little kingdoms of their own in which to reign supreme. Little kings are servants of Christ the King:

  1. Have dominion over the created world. Believers, and people in general, actually are intended to see nature as their domain. We are to rule over creation, establish our reign over it, subdue it and master it. What does a good master, a little king, do exactly? Be a good steward of nature, doing our best to help creation flourish. We are to take responsibility over creation and exercise the kind of power that enables nature to grow and be healthy. We are to honor God by caring effectively for His handiwork, preserving the created world for His delight. We are to enjoy a God-ordained relationship over the created world, as God spelled out in Genesis 1:26-28:Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of heaven, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and  over every creeping thing that moves on the earth.” 
  2. Live as a Member of the Royal Family. Believers have been adopted into God’s family, and welcomed into spiritual royalty. So we need to live into that status, honorably, humbly, responsibly, as servants of the King. We don’t stoop to attitudes or behavior that are not worthy of Kingdom royalty. We don’t try to usurp the King in some sort of power struggle. We treat every believer as brothers and sisters, as members of this family, with love and respect, acknowledging together our gratitude to the King for our life-saving adoption through the mercy of the King.
  3. Extend the Kingdom. We cooperate with the King in His desire to expand His kingdom. He wants ultimately for all to be adopted, and He wants us to work to that end. The King has anointed believers to tell the Good News of His reign to those who haven’t heard. When it comes to His kingdom, the King says that there’s always room for more. In fact, the King will keep filing adoption papers for all eternity if that’s what it takes.

In keeping with biblical principle, believers who are little prophets, little priests and little kings must be anointed. Jesus’ baptism paved the way for this process. Just as He was anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit at His baptism, believers are likewise anointed at their baptism. Two sanctified materials are needed at a baptism to complete the anointing, water and oil. The Holy Spirit comes to the baptized, alights on them and remains as it was with Jesus Christ. Only, just because the baptized become little Christs, doesn’t mean the baptized receive a little anointing. The Holy Spirit doesn’t come in bits and pieces. The Holy Spirit isn’t dribbled, drop by drop, but instead is poured till overflowing on the newly baptized. Whenever we see the Holy Spirit being applied, He is poured:

  • “...till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high.” (Isaiah 32:15);
  • Exalted to the right hand of God He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.‘ (Acts 2:33);
  • “They were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.” (Acts 10:45);
  • God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:5);
  • “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:5-6)

An extravagent anointing of the Holy Spirit to produce little prophets, little priests and little kings. In all this, let us remember that there is only one Messiah. Believers are only little Messiahs, not the divine Messiah. We are little Christs, not The Christ.


One Reply to “On the Believer as a Little Christ”

  1. How profound!!! I have never thought of being a little Christ in that way before. It makes so much sense, I am so grateful for you writing this. I will read this again and again, ruminating on these truths. Thank you