The Pervasive New Testament Emphasis on the Agency of Jesus as God's Christ

June 7, 2011

The books of the NT in their canonical form are twenty-seven books that were inspired by God as whole documents, and not as separate discourses, chapters, or verses. Because God did not inspire any particular parts of any book independently of the rest of the book, a right assessment of the any NT book is impossible without appropriate consideration of what each book as a whole communicates. An examination of the books from that perspective reveals that teaching about God permeates the NT since every book explicitly speaks of Him.

Furthermore, every book clearly refers to God as the Father and Jesus as the Christ, except Third John, which has three occurrences of “God” (1:6, 11 [2x]; likely references to the Father) and one mention of the Name (1:7; likely a reference to Christ). Thus, twenty-six of the twenty-seven NT books explicitly present Christ as distinct from the Father. Because the term Christ in Scripture signifies an anointed one who was “chosen, accredited, and empowered” by God for one or more particular tasks, this nearly universal use of that term for Jesus shows that the NT pervasively communicates His agency.[1]

Moreover, each book does so at the beginning of the book:

God as the Father is mentioned in distinction from Jesus of Nazareth in the first chapter of each book by the use of one or more of the following titles for Jesus: “Son” (Heb.); “Jesus” (Luke, Acts); and, “Christ” (all the remaining books except Matthew and 3 John). Matthew speaks of Christ as distinct from the Father through references to the Father as Lord (1:20, 22, 24). Third John likely presents Christ as “the Name” in distinction from the Father as God.

Teaching that communicates the agency of Jesus as God’s Christ, therefore, is a pervasive emphasis of the NT.


[1] I formulated this explanation of what the term Christ signifies from combining the following sources: Thomas R. Schreiner teaches, “The term ‘Messiah’ . . . designates someone who is anointed by God for a particular task.” New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ, 197-98. Michael P. V. Barrett explains, “Three common features applied to all ‘messiahs.’ They were chosen, accredited, and empowered.” Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament, 35.

Rajesh

Posts

Copyright © 2011-2017 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.