John Hoffmann, a professor of sociology at BYU, spoke at devotional Tuesday and outlined the ways Jesus Christ is a prophet, priest and king.
Hoffmann began his remarks by recounting two different dreams he had.
In the first dream before he joined the church, he was waiting for his wife in the entrance of a white building and saw her with a bearded man. He said he received the impression this man was her best friend. He felt a sadness knowing this was his wife’s friend, and could not be his.
The second dream occurred after he joined the church when one of his close friends, who was not a member, passed away. Hoffmann wanted to see his friend again and make sure he was doing well.
Hoffmann dreamt he was in a dark corridor when he saw a shadow at the end of the hall. It was his recently deceased friend and Hoffmann feared his friend was in the dark, all alone. Hoffmann started towards his friend and realized it was he who was in the dark, while his friend was surrounded by bright light. Weeping, he embraced his friend, knowing the source of that light was Christ.
“These episodes from my life, as well as many others, have lead me to want to know more about the Savior,” Hoffmann said. “This is both an intellectual and spiritual pursuit that requires study and faith.”
After recounting the Savior’s many titles and names, Hoffmann explained, “Considering the most common uses of these words, it seems that prophets, priests and kinds are supposed to be subordinate to the Savior. I therefore wish to dig a little deeper and consider how the Lord takes on these roles.”
Study of how the Savior exemplified these three roles helps us do two things. First, we better honor the Lord once we understand His full purpose. And second, we can learn from how He perfected each role.
Hoffmann said the Lord’s role as a prophet is interesting because prophets are sent to testify of Christ. Christ’s life mirrored many prophets’ lives because he also faced rejection and persecution. In this role, He taught about His own mission, as well as what His followers should do to follow Him.
Hoffmann explained how the office of high priest started in the Old Testament with Melchizedek, and the role of priests was to offer sacrifices symbolizing the atonement of Christ.
“The Savior understands our weakness and infirmities,” Hoffman said. “He knows the temptations we face, He has suffered for us. He is thus the perfect high priest and the perfect mediator for representing mankind to the Father. Yet He is much, much more than this. Unlike other high priests, He was both priest and sacrifice.”
The Savior’s third role as king is not as difficult to understand. Hoffmann outlined Christ’s mortal lineage from King David as well as His heavenly lineage as the son of God.
Hoffmann concluded by discussing one more role of the Savior, that of our friend. He referenced his first dream and said he was mistaken to think the Savior could not be his friend.
“But just like with all close and precious friendships it takes effort on my part to get to know the Savior better and to appreciate all that he does for me, for my family and for the world,” Hoffmann said.
In an earlier version of the story, the speaker was identified as Mark. This was incorrect, and has been changed to correctly identify the speaker.