Christ, The Altar

As I was preparing for this upcoming Sunday’s sermon and Lord’s Supper, I was taken aback from a statement that Thomas Watson wrote in The Lord’s Supper: “By reason of the hypostatical union, the human nature being united to the divine; the human nature did suffer, the divine did satisfy. Christ’s Godhead did give both majesty and efficacy to his suffering. Christ was Sacrifice, Priest and Altar. He was the sacrifice as he was man, Priest as he was God and man, Altar as he was God. It is the property of the altar to sanctify the thing offered on it. So the altar of Christ’s divine nature sanctified the sacrifice of his death, and made it meritorious (emphasis mine).”

I found it very providential that the sermon I am preparing for (on John 1:1-14) has much similarities with the purifying and sanctifying effect that Christ has upon the world as Altar. Considering how much prominence the patristics, and more recently Thomas Torrance, placed upon the Incarnation, I found it quite interesting that I have never heard this typology–Christ as Altar–until now.

After a quick scan within the Reformed Tradition, it is clear that there has rarely ever been anyone who has expounded upon that motif. Although there are some leads in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, I haven’t been able to find anything. I do not know if this is because of the Protestant tendency towards iconoclasm and the removal of altars from the liturgy or worship altogether, but at this point, I think it would be a worthwhile pursuit and development within the Reformed Tradition. Maybe this could be my Th.M thesis?

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