Jesus as Christ and Messiah

Christian views of Jesus are based on the teachings and beliefs outlined in the Canonical gospels, New Testament letters, and the Christian creeds. These outline the key beliefs held by Christians about Jesus, including his divinity, humanity, and earthly life. The second sentence in the ICET version of the Nicene Creed states: "We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God...". In the New Testament Jesus indicates that he is the Son of God by calling God his heavenly father. [Mt. 6:9]] [2]

Christians consider Jesus the Christ and believe that through his death and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[3] These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of the Eternal Father, as an "agent and servant of God".[4][5] The choice Jesus made thus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.[6]

Most Christians believe that Jesus was both human and divine—the Son of God. While there has been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, and "true God and true man"—both fully divine and fully human. Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin. As fully God, he defeated death and rose to life again. According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead.[7] He ascended to heaven to sit at the "Right Hand of God,"[8] and he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the World to Come.[9]

Overview

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…
In the New Testament Jesus is not a "stained glass window" type of Christ; he is a real person, stained with sweat, tears, dust, and blood. He is one who agonized over what he was to do and say. The portrayal of Jesus in the New Testament has the ring of truth.[11]

Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize key elements of the shared beliefs among major denominations based on their catechetical or confessional texts.[12][13][14] Christian views of Jesus are derived from various biblical sources, particularly from the canonical Gospels and New Testament letters such as the Pauline Epistles. Christians predominantly hold that these works are historically true.[15]

Those groups or denominations committed to what are considered biblically orthodox Christianity nearly all agree on the following points:[16]

  • Christians believe that Jesus was a human being who was also fully God.
  • Christians believe that Jesus came into the world as the son of only one earthly parent, Mary.
  • Christians believe that Jesus never sinned or did anything wrong.
  • Christians believe that Jesus was eventually martyred as a religious heretic, was buried in a tomb, and then on the third day came back to life.
  • Christians believe that Jesus eventually ascended back to God the Father.
  • Christians believe that Jesus will come back to earth a second time.[17]

The five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus are his Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.[18][19][20] These are usually bracketed by two other episodes: his Nativity at the beginning and the sending of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) at the end.[18][20] The gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus are often presented in terms of specific categories involving his "works and words", e.g., his ministry, parables and miracles.[21][22]

Christians not only attach theological significance to the works of Jesus, but also to his name. Devotions to the name of Jesus go back to the earliest days of Christianity.[23][24] These exist today both in Eastern and Western Christianity—both Catholic and Protestant.[24]

Christians predominantly profess that through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, he restored humanity's communion with God with the blood of the New Covenant. His death on a cross is understood as a redemptive sacrifice: the source of humanity's salvation and the atonement for sin[25] which had entered human history through the sin of Adam.[26]

Christ, Logos and Son of God

But who do you say that I am? Only Simon Peter answered him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God
Jesus is mediator, but…the title means more that someone between God and man. He is not just a third party between God and humanity…. As true God he brings God to mankind. As true man he brings mankind to God.[11]

Most Christians generally consider Jesus to be the in verse 16 explains it again with the affirmation: "Jesus, who is called Christ".

In the

In the New Testament, the title "Son of God" is applied to Jesus on many occasions.[30] It is often used to refer to his divinity, from the beginning in the Annunciation up to the Crucifixion.[30] The declaration that Jesus is the Son of God is made by many individuals in the New Testament, and on two separate occasions by God the Father as a voice from Heaven, and is asserted by Jesus himself.[2][30][31][32]

In Christology, the concept that the Christ is the Logos (i.e., "The Word") has been important in establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Christ and his position as God the Son in the Trinity as set forth in the Chalcedonian Creed. This derives from the opening of the Gospel of John, commonly translated into English as: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In the original Greek, Logos (λόγος) is used for "Word," and in theological discourse, this is often left in its English transliterated form, "Logos".

The Non-Trinitarian views doubt the aspect of personal pre-existence or the aspect of divinity, or both.

Following the Apostolic Age, from the 2nd century forward, several controversies developed about how the human and divine are related within the person of Jesus.[34][35][36] Eventually in 451, the concept of a Hypostatic union was decreed, namely that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human.[34][35][37][38] However, differences among Christian denominations continued thereafter. See the article on Christology for details.

Incarnation, Nativity and Second Adam

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. — Colossians 1:15-16

The above verse from Colossians regards the birth of Jesus as the model for all creation.[39][40][41][42] Apostle Paul viewed the birth of Jesus as an event of cosmic significance which brought forth a "new man" who undid the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. Just as the Johannine view of Jesus as the incarnate Logos proclaims the universal relevance of his birth, the Pauline perspective emphasizes the birth of a new man and a new world in the birth of Jesus.[6] Paul's eschatological view of Jesus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam. Unlike Adam, the new man born in Jesus obeys God and ushers in a world of morality and salvation.[6]

In the Pauline view, Adam is positioned as the first man and Jesus as the second: Adam, having corrupted himself by his disobedience, also infected humanity and left it with a curse as its inheritance. The birth of Jesus counterbalanced the fall of Adam, bringing forth redemption and repairing the damage done by Adam.[43]

In the 2nd century Church Father Irenaeus writes:

"When He became incarnate and was made man, He commenced afresh the long line of human beings, and furnished us, in a brief, comprehensive manner, with salvation; so that what we had lost in Adam—namely to be according to the image and likeness of God- that we might recover in Christ Jesus."[44][45]

In patristic theology, Paul's contrasting of Jesus as the new man versus Adam provided a framework for discussing the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus and the ensuing events of his life. The Nativity of Jesus thus began to serve as the starting point for "cosmic Christology" in which the birth, life and Resurrection of Jesus have universal implications.[6][46][47] The concept of Jesus as the "new man" repeats in the cycle of birth and rebirth of Jesus from his Nativity to his Resurrection: following his birth, through his morality and obedience to the Father, Jesus began a "new harmony" in the relationship between God the Father and man. The Nativity and Resurrection of Jesus thus created the author and exemplar of a new humanity.[48] In this view, the birth, death and Resurrection of Jesus brought about salvation, undoing the damage of Adam.[49]

Ministry

Main article: Ministry of Jesus

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).—John 10:10 (Ampl)
Jesus seemed to have two basic concerns with reference to people and the material: (1) that they be freed from the tyranny of things and (2) that they be actively concerned for the needs of others.[11]

In the Canonical gospels, the

Jesus' Early Galilean ministry begins when after his Baptism, he goes back to Galilee from his time in the Judean desert.[55] In this early period he preaches around Galilee and recruits his first disciples who begin to travel with him and eventually form the core of the early Church.[50][56] The Major Galilean ministry which begins in Matthew 8 includes the Commissioning the twelve Apostles, and covers most of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee.[57][58] The Final Galilean ministry begins after the death of John the Baptist as Jesus prepares to go to Jerusalem.[59][60]

In the Later Judean ministry Jesus starts his final journey to Jerusalem through Judea.[61][62][63][64] As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem, in the Later Perean ministry, about one third the way down from the Sea of Galilee along the River Jordan, he returns to the area where he was baptized.[65][66][67]

The Final ministry in Jerusalem is sometimes called the Passion Week and begins with the Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.[68] The gospels provide more details about the final ministry than the other periods, devoting about one third of their text to the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem.[69]

Teachings, parables and miracles

The words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

In the New Testament the teachings of Jesus are presented in terms of his "words and works".[21][22] The words of Jesus include several sermons, in addition to parables that appear throughout the narrative of the Synoptic Gospels (the gospel of John includes no parables). The works include the miracles and other acts performed during his ministry.[22]

Although the Canonical Gospels are the major source of the teachings of Jesus, the Pauline Epistles, which were likely written decades before the gospels, provide some of the earliest written accounts of the teachings of Jesus.[71]

The New Testament does not present the teachings of Jesus as merely his own teachings, but equates the words of Jesus with divine revelation, with

Discourses

The gospels include several discourses by Jesus on specific occasions, such as the Farewell discourse delivered after the

The Gospel of Matthew has a structured set of sermons, often grouped as the Five Discourses of Matthew which present many of the key teachings of Jesus.[76][77] Each of the five discourses has some parallel passages in the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of Luke.[78] The five discourses in Matthew begin with the Sermon on the Mount, which encapsulates many of the moral teaching of Jesus and which is one of the best known and most quoted elements of the New Testament.[75][79] The Sermon on the Mount includes the Beatitudes which describe the character of the people of the Kingdom of God, expressed as "blessings".[80] The Beatitudes focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction and echo the key ideals of Jesus' teachings on spirituality and compassion.[81][82][83] The other discourses in Matthew include the Missionary Discourse in Matthew 10 and the Discourse on the Church in Matthew 18, providing instructions to the disciples and laying the foundation of the codes of conduct for the anticipated community of followers.[84][85][86]

Parables

The parables of Jesus represent a major component of his teachings in the gospels, the approximately thirty parables forming about one third of his recorded teachings.[87][88] The parables may appear within longer sermons, as well as other places within the narrative.[75] Jesus' parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and each conveys a teaching which usually relates the physical world to the spiritual world.[89][90]

In the 19th century, Lisco and Fairbairn stated that in the parables of Jesus, "the image borrowed from the visible world is accompanied by a truth from the invisible (spiritual) world" and that the parables of Jesus are not "mere similitudes which serve the purpose of illustration, but are internal analogies where nature becomes a witness for the spiritual world".[89] Similarly, in the 20th century, calling a parable "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning",[91] William Barclay states that the parables of Jesus use familiar examples to lead others' minds towards heavenly concepts. He suggests that Jesus did not form his parables merely as analogies but based on an "inward affinity between the natural and the spiritual order."[91]

Miracles of Jesus

Believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. —

In Christian teachings, the miracles of Jesus were as much a vehicle for his message as were his words. Many of the miracles emphasize the importance of faith, for instance in cleansing ten lepers, [Lk 17:19]] Jesus did not say: "My power has saved you" but says "Rise and go; your faith has saved you."[93][94] Similarly, in the Walking on Water miracle, Apostle Peter learns an important lesson about faith in that as his faith wavers, he begins to sink. [Mt 14:34-36]] [95]


One characteristic shared among all miracles of Jesus in the Gospel accounts is that he delivered benefits freely and never requested or accepted any form of payment for his healing miracles, unlike some high priests of his time who charged those who were healed.

Christians in general believe that Jesus' miracles were actual historical events and that his miraculous works were an important part of his life, attesting to his divinity and the Hypostatic union, i.e., the dual natures of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis.[97] Christians believe that while Jesus' experiences of hunger, weariness, and death were evidences of his humanity, the miracles were evidences of his deity.[98][99][100]

Christian authors also view the miracles of Jesus not merely as acts of power and omnipotence, but as works of love and mercy: they were performed to show compassion for sinful and suffering humanity.[97] Authors Ken and Jim Stocker state that "every single miracle Jesus performed was an act of love".[101] And each miracle involves specific teachings.[102][103]

Since according to the

Crucifixion and atonement

Template:Christology

(Jesus said:) …the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life! —Matthew 20:17-19 (NIV)
Life is attractive to us, but life through death is not attractive…. It is not surprising that we cry out for an alternative to the cross. The cross must become a living reality within one's heart, else it brings only judgment and not redemption.[11]

The accounts of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus provide a rich background for Christological analysis, from the Canonical Gospels to the Pauline Epistles.[104]

A central element in the Christology presented in the

Paul's Christology has a specific focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Paul, the crucifixion of Jesus is directly related to his resurrection and the term "the cross of Christ" used in

John Calvin supported the "agent of God" Christology and argued that in his trial in Pilate's Court Jesus could have successfully argued for his innocence, but instead submitted to crucifixion in obedience to the Father.[113][114] This Christological theme continued into the 20th century, both in the Eastern and Western Churches. In the Eastern Church Sergei Bulgakov argued that the crucifixion of Jesus was "pre-eternally" determined by the Father before the creation of the world, to redeem humanity from the disgrace caused by the fall of Adam.[115] In the Western Church, Karl Rahner elaborated on the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God (and the water from the side of Jesus) shed at the crucifixion had a cleansing nature, similar to baptismal water.[116]

Resurrection, Ascension and Second Coming

The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus is a foundation of the Christian faith. [1 Cor 15:12-20]] [1 Pet 1:3]] Christians, through faith in the working of God [Col 2:12]] are spiritually resurrected with Jesus, and are redeemed so that they may walk in a new way of life. [Rom 6:4]]


In the teachings of the 1 Corinthians 15:20-22:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

If the cross stands at the center of Paul's theology, so does the Resurrection: unless the one died the death of all, the all would have little to celebrate in the resurrection of the one.[118] Paul taught that, just as Christians share in Jesus' death in baptism, so they will share in his resurrection[119] for Jesus was designated the Son of God by his resurrection. [Rom. 1:4]] [119] Paul's views went against the thoughts of the Greek philosophers to whom a bodily resurrection meant a new imprisonment in a corporeal body, which was what they wanted to avoid, given that for them the corporeal and the material fettered the spirit.[120] At the same time, Paul believed that the newly resurrected body would be a heavenly body—immortal, glorified, powerful and pneumatic, in contrast to an earthly body which is mortal, dishonored, weak and psychic. [121]

Dale Martin contends that Paul's various disagreements with the Corinthians were the result of a fundamental conflict over the ideological construction of the human body (and hence the church as the body of Christ). According to Martin, most Corinthian Christians and Paul himself saw the body as an entity that could be permeated by different pollutions. Other members of the Corinthian church, however, viewed the body as hierarchical—as a microcosm of the universe—and were not particularly concerned about body boundaries. These differing views of the human body (and also of the church as the body of Christ) led to differing opinions on a variety of subjects—including the resurrection of the body.[122] According to theologian Peter Carnley, the resurrection of Jesus was different from the Resurrection of Lazarus as: "In the case of Lazarus, the stone was rolled away so that he could walk out.... the raised Christ didn't have to have the stone rolled away, because he is transformed and can appear anywhere, at any time."[123]

The Apostolic Fathers, discussed the death and resurrection of Jesus, including Ignatius (50−115),[124] Polycarp (69−155), and Justin Martyr (100−165). Following the conversion of Constantine and the liberating Edict of Milan in 313, the ecumenical councils of the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries, that focused on Christology helped shape the Christian understanding of the redemptive nature of Resurrection, and influenced both the development of its iconography, and its use within Liturgy.[125]

See also

References

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