Paul wanted the Colossians to appreciate that Jesus possesses all the fullness of God (Col. 1:19). Therefore the range of provisions found in Jesus is very wide and we can only focus on a few of them. One way of doing so is to arrange these provisions under his three offices of prophet, priest and king.
Jesus, as our prophet, teaches us the will of God for our salvation and does so by enlightening our minds concerning the teachings of the Bible. He comes to us by the Holy Spirit who takes the things of Christ and reveals them to us. Understanding the Bible in this way is not dependent on our intellect, nor is it a merely academic appreciation of possible views. As Jesus teaches us who he is and what he has done, we not only understand it, but we respond in worship and love. Further we will want to know more and will delight to have his instruction throughout our lives. We will come to the Bible prayerfully and expectantly in order to discover more about God’s gracious purposes.
Jesus as our priest helps us. A priest in Israel had to offer sacrifices for sin and show sympathy with the worshippers, encouraging them by assuring them of God’s provision and abilities. An example of this is Eli’s words to Hannah when he encouraged her about her longing for a son from God (1 Sam. 1:17-18). Jesus has offered the needed sacrifice and he always urges us to consider what he has done when we are concerned about our sins. The best, indeed the only means of finding consolation and pardon with regard to our sinfulness is to consider the sufferings of Jesus on the cross. Yet we need other aspects of his comforting sympathy and Jesus is always full of rich comfort and consolation. He can provide peace, assurance, guidance, fruit etc.
Jesus as our king protects us from our enemies and rules over us by his commandments. We have powerful enemies, determined to get us to disobey God’s commandments and sin. Some are external to us (the devil and the world), others are internal (sin and its desires), but more often than not they combine against us. Only Jesus can defend us, and we are to be strong in the Lord when tempted by Satan; we need the weapons of the Spirit that Jesus provides in order to be kept from falling. In one way, the Christian life can be summarised as follows: our spiritual enemies attempt to get us to sin, Jesus as our King enables us not to do so and instead he helps us to keep his Word.
Within these three areas of prophet, priest and king, Jesus reveals the limitless fullness that he possesses as God. Paul knew that grasping this was essential for the Colossians if they were to live in a holy manner. The same is true for us.