Jesus Christ

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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Jesus Christ . There is no historical task which is more important than to set forth the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and none to which it is so difficult to do justice. The importance of the theme is sufficiently attested by the fact that it is felt to be His due to reckon a new era from the date of His birth. From the point of view of Christian faith there is nothing in time worthy to be set beside the deeds and the words of One who is adored as God manifest in the flesh, and the Saviour of the world. In the perspective of universal history. His influence ranks with Greek culture and Roman law as one of the three most valuable elements in the heritage from the ancient world, while it surpasses these other factors in the spiritual quality of its effects. On the other hand, the superlative task has its peculiar difficulties. It is quite certain that a modern European makes many mistakes when trying to reproduce the conditions of the distant province of Oriental antiquity in which Jesus lived. The literary documents, moreover, are of no great compass, and are reticent or obscure in regard to many matters which are of capital interest to the modern biographer. And when erudition has done its best with the primary and auxiliary sources, the historian has still to put the heart-searching question whether he possesses the qualifications that would enable him to understand the character, the experience, and the purpose of Jesus. ‘He who would worthily write the Life of Jesus Christ must have a pen dipped in the imaginative sympathy of a poet, in the prophet’s fire, in the artist’s charm and grace, and in the reverence and purity of the saint’ (Stewart, The Life of Christ , 1906, p. vi.).

1. The Literary Sources

(A) Canonical

(1) The Gospels and their purpose . It is now generally agreed that the Gospel according to Mk . is the oldest of the four. Beginning with the Baptism of Jesus, it gives a sketch of His Public Ministry, with specimens of His teaching, and carries the narrative to the morning of the Resurrection. The original conclusion has been lost, but there can be no doubt that it went on to relate at least certain Galilæan appearances of the risen Lord. This Gospel supplies most of our knowledge of the life of Jesus, but its main concern is to bring out the inner meaning and the religious value of the story. It is, in short, a history written with the purpose of demonstrating that Jesus was the expected Messiah. In proof of this it is sufficient to point out that it describes itself at the outset as setting forth the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (  Mark 1:1 ), that the faith of the disciples culminates in Peter’s confession that He is the Christ (  Mark 8:29 ), that the ground of His condemnation is that He claims to be ‘the Christ, the Son of the Blessed’ (  Mark 14:61-62 ), and that the accusation written over His cross is ‘The King of the Jews’ (  Mark 15:26 ).

The Gospel according to Mt . is now usually regarded as a second and enlarged edition of an Apostolic original. The earlier version, known as the Logia on the ground of a note of Papias (Euseb. HE iii. 39), was a collection of the Memorabilia of Jesus. As the Logia consisted mainly of the sayings of our Lord, the later editor combined it with the narrative of Mk. in order to supply a more complete picture of the Ministry, and at the same time added fresh material from independent sources. Its didactic purpose, like that of Mk., is to exhibit Jesus as the Messiah, and it supports the argument by citing numerous instances of the fulfilment in the life of Jesus of OT prediction. It is sometimes described as the Gospel of the Jewish Christians; and it appears to have addressed itself specially to the difficulties which they felt in view of the destruction of Jerusalem. Could Jesus, they may well have asked, be the Messiah, seeing that His mission had issued, not in the deliverance of Israel, but in its ruin? In answer to this the Gospel makes it plain that the overthrow of the Jewish State was a punishment which was foreseen by Jesus, and also that He had become the head of a vaster and more glorious kingdom than that of which, as Jewish patriots, they had ever dreamed (  Matthew 28:18-20 ).

The Gospel according to Luke is also dependent on Mk. for the general framework, and derives from the original Mt. a large body of the teaching. It follows a different authority from Mt. for the Nativity, and to some extent goes its own way in the history of the Passion; while ‘the great interpolation’ (  Luke 9:51 to   Luke 18:14 ), made in part from its special source, forms a priceless addition to the Synoptic material. Lk. approached his task in a more consciously scientific spirit than his predecessors, and recognized an obligation to supply dates, and to sketch in the political background of the biography (  Luke 2:2 ,   Luke 3:1;   Luke 3:23 ). But for him also the main business of the historian was to emphasize the religious significance of the events, and that by exhibiting Jesus as the Saviour of the world, the Friend of sinners. He is specially interested, as the companion and disciple of St. Paul, in incidents and sayings which illustrate the graciousness and the universality of the gospel. Prominence is given to the rejection of Jesus by Nazareth and Jerusalem (  Luke 4:16-30 ,   Luke 19:41-44 ), and to His discovery among the Gentiles of the faith for which He sought (  Luke 17:18-19 ). It is also characteristic that Lk. gives a full account of the beginnings of the missionary activity of the Church (  Luke 10:1-20 ).

The author of the Fourth Gospel makes considerable use of the narratives of the Synoptists, but also suggests that their account is in important respects defective, and in certain particulars erroneous. The serious defect, from the Johannine point of view, is that they represent Galilee as the exclusive scene of the Ministry until shortly before the end, and that they know nothing of a series of visits, extending over two years, which Jesus made to Jerusalem and Judæa in fulfilment of His mission. That there was a design to correct as well as to supplement appears from the displacement of the Cleansing of the Temple from the close to the beginning of the Ministry, and from the emphatic way in which attention is drawn to the accurate information as to the day and the hour of the Crucifixion. And still more designedly than in the earlier Gospels is the history used as the vehicle for the disclosure of the secret and the glory of the Person of Jesus. The predicate of the Messiah is reaffirmed, and as the Saviour He appears in the most sublime and tender characters, but the Prologue furnishes the key to the interpretation of His Person in a title which imports the highest conceivable dignity of origin, being, and prerogative: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth’ (  John 1:1;   John 1:14 ).

Trustworthiness of the Gospels . It is impossible to proceed on the view that we possess four biographies of Jesus which, being given by inspiration, are absolutely immune from error. The means by which they were brought into shape was very different from the method of Divine dictation. The Evangelists were severely limited to the historical data which reached them by ordinary channels. They copied, abridged, and amplified earlier documents, and one document which was freely handled in this fashion by Mt. and Lk. was canonical Mk. That mistakes have been made as to matters of fact is proved by the occurrence of conflicting accounts of the same events, and by the uncertainty as to the order of events which is often palpable in Mt. and Mk., and which to some extent baffled Lk. in his attempt ‘to trace the course of all things accurately.’ There is also considerable diversity in the report of many of our Lord’s sayings, which compels us to conclude that the report is more or less inaccurate. Whether giving effect to their own convictions, or reproducing changes which had been made by the mind of the Church on the oral tradition, writers coloured and altered to some extent the sayings of our Lord. At the same time the Synoptics, when tested by ordinary canons, must be pronounced to be excellent authorities. They may be dated within a period of forty to fifty years after the death of Christ Mk. about a.d. 69, Mt. and (probably) Lk. not later than a.d. 80. ‘The great mass of the Synoptic Gospels had assumed its permanent shape not later than the decade a.d. 60 70, and the changes which it underwent after the great catastrophe of the fall of Jerusalem were but small, and can without difficulty be recognized’ (Sanday, Outlines ). Further, that Gospels composed in the second generation can be trusted to have reproduced the original testimony with general accuracy may be held on two grounds. There is every reason to believe the ecclesiastical traditions that the contents of original Mt. were compiled by one of the Twelve, and that the reminiscences of Peter formed the staple of Mk. (Euseb. HE iii. 39). It is also certain that the Synoptic material was used throughout the intervening period in the Christian meetings for worship, and the memory of witnesses must thus have been in a position to ensure the continuity of the report, and to check any serious deviations from the oldest testimony. The general trustworthiness is further supported by the consideration of the originality of the Synoptic picture of Jesus and His teaching. The character of Jesus, and the acts in which it is revealed, form a whole which has the unmistakable stamp of historical reality, and forbids us to think that to any great extent it can have been the product of the collective Christian mind. Jesus, in short, is needed to explain the Church and cannot be Himself explained as the product of His own creation. It is also to be noticed that the Synoptic teaching has a clear-cut individuality of its own which shows that it has sturdily refused to blend with the Apostolic type of theology.

With the Fourth Gospel the case stands somewhat differently. If it be indeed the work of John the ‘beloved disciple, its authority stands higher than all the rest. In that case the duty of the historian is to employ it as his fundamental document, and to utilize the Synoptics as auxiliary sources. In the view of the present writer the question is one of great difficulty. It is true that there is a powerful body of Patristic testimony in support of the tradition that the Fourth Gospel was composed by the Apostle Johnin Ephesus in his old age about a.d. 95. It is also true that the Gospel solemnly stakes its credit on its right to be accepted as the narrative of an eye-witness ( John 19:35;   John 21:24 ). And its claim is strengthened by the fact that, in the judgment even of many unsympathetic witnesses, it embodies a larger or smaller amount of independent and valuable information. On the other hand, it is a serious matter that a Gospel, appearing at the close of the century, should practically recast the story of Jesus which had circulated in the Church for sixty years, and should put forward a view of the course of the Ministry which is not even suspected in the other Apostolic sources. Passing to the teaching, we find that the process which was in discoverable in the Synoptic report has here actually taken place, and that the discourses of Jesus are assimilated to a well-marked type of Apostolic doctrine. There is reason to believe that for both history and doctrine the author had at his disposal Memorabilia of Jesus, but in both cases also it would seem that he has handled his data with great freedom. The treatment of the historical matter, it may be permitted to think, is more largely topical, and the chronological framework which it provides is less reliable, than is commonly supposed. The discourses, again, have been expanded by the reporter, and cast in the moulds of his own thought, so that in them we really possess a combination of the words of Jesus of Nazareth with those of the glorified Christ speaking in the experience of a disciple. The hypothesis which seems to do justice to both sets of phenomena is that John was only the author in a similar sense to that in which Peter was the author of Mk., and Matthew of canonical Mt., and that the actual composer of the Fourth Gospel was a disciple of the second generation who was served heir to the knowledge and faith of the Apostle, and who claimed considerable powers as an executor. In view of these considerations, it is held that a sketch of the life of Jesus is properly based on the Synoptic record, and that in utilizing the Johannine additions it is desirable to take up a critical attitude in regard to the form and the chronology. There is also much to be said for expounding the teaching of Jesus on the basis of the Synoptics, and for treating the Johannine discourses as primarily a source for Apostolic doctrine. It is a different question whether the interpretation of Christ which the Fourth Gospel supplies is trustworthy, and on the value of this, its main message, two remarks may be made. It is, in the first place, substantially the same valuation of Christ which pervades the Pauline Epistles, and which has been endorsed by the saintly experience of the Christian centuries as answering to the knowledge of Christ that is given in intimate communion with the risen Lord. Moreover, the doctrine of Providence comes to the succour of a faith which may be distressed by the breakdown of the hypothesis of inerrancy. For it is a reasonable belief that God, in whose plan with the race the work of Christ was to be a decisive factor, took order that there should be given to the after world a record which should sufficiently instruct men in reply to the question, ‘What think ye of Christ?’

(2) The Epistles . From the Epistles it is possible to collect the outstanding facts as to the earthly condition, the death, and the resurrection of Christ. Incidentally St. Paul shows that he could cite His teaching on a point of ethics (  1 Corinthians 7:11 ), and give a detailed account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (  1 Corinthians 11:23 ff.). It is also significant that in allusions to the Temptation (  Hebrews 4:15 ), the Agony (  Hebrews 5:7 ), and the Transfiguration (  2 Peter 1:17 ), the writers can reckon on a ready understanding.

(B) Extra-Canonical Sources

(1) Christian

( a ) Patristic references . The Fathers make very trifling additions to our knowledge of the facts of the life of Jesus. There is nothing more important than the statement of Justin, that as a carpenter Jesus made ploughs and yokes ( Dial . 88). More valuable are the additions to the canonical sayings of Jesus (Westcott, Introd. to the Gospels 8 , 1895; Resch, Agrapha 2 , 1907). Of the 70 Logia which have been claimed, Ropes pronounces 43 worthless, 13 of possible value, and 14 valuable ( Die Sprüche Jesu , 1896). The following are deemed by Huck to be noteworthy ( Synopse der drei ersten Evangelien 3 , 1906):

(1) ‘Ask great things, and the small shall be added to you; and ask heavenly things, and the earthly shall be added to you’ (Origen, de Orat . § 2).

(2) ‘If ye exalt not your low things, and transfer to your right hand the things on your left, ye shall not enter into my kingdom’ ( Acta Philippi , ch. 34).

(3) ‘He who is near me is near the fire, he who is far from me is far from the kingdom’ (Origen, Hom. in  Jeremiah 20:3 ).

(4) ‘If ye kept not that which is small, who will give you that which is great?’ (Clem. Rom. ii. 8).

(5) ‘Be thou saved and thy soul’ (Exc. e. Theod. ap . Clem. Alex. [Note: lex. Alexandrian.] § 2).

(6) ‘Show yourselves tried bankers’ (Clem. Alex. [Note: lex. Alexandrian.] Strom . i. 28).

(7) ‘Thou hast seen thy brother, thou hast seen God’ ib. i. 19).

More recent additions to the material are to be found in Grenfell and Hunt, Sayings of our Lord (1897) and New Sayings of Jesus (1904).

( b ) Apocryphal Gospels . These fall into three groups according as they deal with the history of Joseph and Mary ( Protevangelium of James ), the Infancy ( Gospel of Thomas ), and Pilate ( Acts of Pilate ). They are worthless elaborations, with the addition of grotesque and sometimes beautiful fancies (‘Apocryphal Gospels, Acts and Revelations,’ vol. xvi. of the Ante-Nicene Library , 1870). Of more value are the fragments of the Gospels of the Hebrews , the Egyptians , and Peter (Hilgenfeld, NT extra canonem receptum 2 , 1876 84; Swete, The Akhmim Fragment of the Gospel of Peter , 1903).

(2) Jewish sources . Josephus mentions Jesus ( Ant . XX. ix. 1), but the most famous passage (XVIII. iii. 3) is mainly, if not entirely, a Christian interpolation. The Jews remembered Him as charged with deceiving the people, practising magic and speaking blasphemy, and as having been crucified; but the calumnies of the Talmud as to the circumstances of His birth appear to have been comparatively late inventions (Huldricus, Sepher Toledot Jeschua , 1705; Laible, Jesus Christus im Talmud , 1900).

(3) Classical sources . There is evidence in the classical writers for the historical existence, approximate date, and death of Jesus, but otherwise their attitude was ignorant and contemptuous (Tac. Ann . xv. 44; Suetonius, Lives of Claudius and Nero  ; the younger Pliny, Epp . x. 97, 98; Lucian, de Morte Peregrini  ; Celsus in Origen; cf. Keim, Jesus of Nazara [Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ], 1876, i. pp. 24 33).

2. Presuppositions . It is impossible to write about Christ without giving effect to a philosophical and religious creed. The claim to be free from presuppositions commonly means that a writer assumes that the facts can be accommodated to a purely naturalistic view of history. As a fact, there is less reason to construe Christ in naturalistic terms than to revise a naturalistic philosophy in the light of ‘the fact of Christ.’ A recent review of the whole literature of the subject (Schweitzer, Von Reimarus zu Wrede , 1906) shows how profoundly the treatment has always been influenced by a writer’s attitude towards ultimate questions, and how far the purely historical evidence is from being able to compel a consensus sapientium . There are, in fact, as many types of the Life of Christ as there are points of view in theology, and it may be convenient at this stage to indicate the basis from which the work has been done in the principal monographs.

Types of the Life of Christ

I. Elimination of the supernatural, from the standpoint of (1) Eighteenth Century Deism Paulus, Das Leben Jesu , 1828; (2) Modern Pantheism D. F. Strauss, Leben Jesu , 1835 36 (Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1846); (3) Philosophical Scepticism Renan, La Vie de Jésus , 1863 (Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1864).

II. Reduction of the supernatural, with eclectic reservation, from the standpoint of Theism Seeley, Ecce Homo , 1866; Hase, Die Gesch. Jesu , 1876; Keim, Die Gesch. Jesu von Nazara , 1867 72 (Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1873 77); O. Holtzmann, Das Leben Jesu , 1901 (Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1904).

Within the rationalistic school there have emerged somewhat radical differences in the conception formed of Jesus and His message. One group conceives of Him as a man who is essentially modern because the value of His ideas and of His message is perennial (Harnack, Das Wesen des Christenthums , Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1901); another regards Him as, above all, the spokesman of unfulfilled apocalyptic dreams (J. Weiss, Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes , 1892). Bousset mediates between the two views ( Jesus . 1906).

III. Reproduction of the Biblical account in general agreement with the faith of the Church Neander, Das Leben Jesu Christi , 1837 (Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1848); B. Weiss, Das Leben Jesu , 1882 (Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1883); Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah , 1884; Didon, Jesus Christ , 1891; Sanday, Outlines of the Life of Christ , 1906.

The books of this group have a second common feature in their acceptance of the Fourth Gospel as a valuable history. The works of Weiss and Sanday dispose of the arrogant assumption of Schweitzer ( op. cit. ) that competent scholarship now regards the cardinal questions as settled in a negative sense. (For a full bibliography see Schweitzer, op. cit. , art. ‘Jesus Christ’ in PRE [Note: RE Real-Encykl. für protest. Theol. und Kirche] 3 ).

3. The Conditions in Palestine (Schürer, GJV [Note: JV Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes.] 3 [ HJP [Note: JP History of the Jewish People.] ii. i. 1 ff.]). The condition of the Jews at the birth of Christ may be summarily described as marked by political impotence and religious decadence.

(1) The political situation . From the age of the Exile, the Jews in Palestine were subject to a foreign domination Persian, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, in rapid succession. Following upon a century of independence under the Maccabees, the country was incorporated in the Roman Empire as a division of the province of Syria. In certain circumstances, which have a parallel in British India, the Romans recognized a feudatory king, and it was with this status that Herod the Great reigned over Palestine. At his death in b.c. 4, his dominions were divided among his three sons; but on the deposition of Archelaus in 6 a.d., Judæa and Samaria were placed under a Roman procurator. Herod Antipas and Philip continued to rule as vassal princes, with the title of tetrarchs, over Galilee and Ituræa respectively. The pressure of the Roman rule was felt in the stern measures which were taken to suppress any dangerous expressions of national feeling, and also in the exactions of the publicans to whom the taxes were farmed. Internal administration was largely an affair of the Jewish Church. To a highly spirited people like the Jews, with memories of former freedom and power, the loss of national independence was galling; and their natural restlessness under the foreign yoke, combined as it was with the Messianic hopes that formed a most vital element of their religion, was a source of anxiety not only to the Roman authorities but to their own leaders.

(2) The religious situation . From the religious point of view it was a decadent age. No doubt there is a tendency to exaggerate the degradation of the world at our Lord’s coming, on the principle that the darkest hour must have preceded the dawn; and in fairness the indictment should be restricted to the statement that the age marked a serious declension from the highest level of OT religion. It had, in fact, many of the features which have re-appeared in the degenerate periods of the Christian Church. ( a ) One such feature was the disappearance of the prophetic man, and his replacement as a religious authority by representatives of sacred learning. As the normal condition of things in the Christian Church has been similar, it cannot in itself be judged to be symptomatic of anything worse than a silver age that the exponents of the Scriptures and of the tradition were now the chief religious guides of the people (see Scribes). Moreover, a very genuine religious originality and fervour had continued to find expression in the Apocalyptic literature of later Judaism (see Apocalyptic Literature). ( b ) A more decisive proof of degradation is the exaltation of the ceremonial and formal side of religion as a substitute for personal piety and righteousness of life. This tendency had its classic representatives in the Pharisees. The best of their number must have exhibited, as Josephus shows, a zeal for God and a self-denial like that of Roman Catholic saints otherwise the veneration of the people, which Josephus shared, would be inexplicable ( Ant . XVII. ii. 4); but as a class our Lord charges them with sins of covetousness and inhumanity, which gave the colour of hypocrisy to their ritualistic scruples (  Matthew 24:1-51; see Pharisees). ( c ) A further characteristic of decadence is that the religious organization tends to come in the place of God, as the object of devotion, and there appears the powerful ecclesiastic who, though he may be worldly and even sceptical, is indispensable as the symbol and protector of the sacred institution. This type was represented by the Sadducees in their general outlook men of the world, in their doctrine sceptics with an ostensible basis of conservatism, who filled the priestly offices, controlled the Sanhedrin, and endeavoured to maintain correct relations with their Roman masters. It can also well be believed that, as Josephus tells us, they professed an aristocratic dislike to public business, which they nevertheless dominated; and that they humoured the multitude by an occasional show of religious zeal (see Sadducees).

In this world presided over by pedants, formalists, and political ecclesiastics, the common people receive a fairly good character. Their religion was the best that then had a footing among men, and they were in earnest about it. They had been purified by the providential discipline of centuries from the last vestiges of idolatry. It is noteworthy that Jesus brings against them no such sweeping accusations of immorality and cruelty as are met with in Amos and Hosea. Their chief fault was that they were disposed to look on their religion as a means of procuring them worldly good, and that they were blind and unreceptive in regard to purely spiritual blessings. The influence which the Pharisees had over them shows that they were capable of reverencing, and eager to obey, those who seemed to them to speak for God; and their response to the preaching of John the Baptist was still more to their honour. There is evidence of a contemporary strain of self-renouncing idealism in the existence of communities which sought deliverance from the evil of the world in the austerities of an ascetic life (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XVIII. i. 5; see Essenes). The Gospels introduce us to not a few men and women who impress us as exemplifying a simple and noble type of piety nourished as they were on the religion of the OT, and waiting patiently for the salvation of God. Into a circle pervaded by this atmosphere Jesus was born.

4. Date of Christ’s Birth (cf. art. Chronology, p. 135 b , and in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ). If John began to baptize in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar (  Luke 3:1 ) being a.d. 29 and if Jesus Was thirty years of age when He was baptized (v. 23), the traditional date fixed by Dionysius Exiguus would be approximately correct. But it is probable that the reign of Tiberius was reckoned by Lk. from his admission to joint-authority with Augustus in a.d. 11 12, so that Jesus would be thirty in a.d. 25 6, and would be born about b.c. 5. This agrees with the representation of Mt. that He was born under Herod, since Herod died b.c. 4, and a number of events of the Infancy are mentioned as occurring before his death. A reference in   John 2:20 to the forty-six years during which the Temple had been in course of construction leads to a similar result viz. a.d. 26 for the second year of the Ministry, and b.c. 5 for the Birth of Jesus.

5. Birth and Infancy (cf. Sweet, The Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ , 1907). Mt. and Lk. have a narrative of the Infancy, and agree in the following points that Jesus was of David’s line, that He was miraculously conceived, that He was born in Bethlehem, and that the Holy Family permanently settled in Nazareth. The additional incidents related by Mt. are the appearance of the angel to Joseph (  Matthew 1:18-24 ), the adoration of the Magi (  Matthew 2:1-12 ), the flight into Egypt (  Matthew 2:13-15 ), the massacre at Bethlehem (  Matthew 2:16-18 ). Lk.’s supplementary matter includes the promise of the birth of John the Baptist (  Matthew 1:5-23 ), the Annunciation to Mary (  Luke 1:26-38 ), the visit of Mary to Elisabeth (  Luke 1:39-56 ), the birth of the Baptist (  Luke 1:57-80 ), the census (  Luke 2:1 ff.), the vision of angels (  Luke 2:8-14 ), the adoration of the shepherds (  Luke 2:15-20 ), the circumcision (  Luke 2:21 ), the presentation in the Temple   Luke 2:22-23 ).

The narratives embody two ideas which are singly impressive, and in conjunction make a profound appeal to the feelings and the imagination. The humiliation of the Saviour is emphasized by one set of events the lowly parentage, the birth in a stable, the rage of Herod, the flight of His parents to a distant land. The other series shows Him as honoured and accredited by heaven, while earth also agrees, in the representatives of its wealth and its poverty, its wisdom and its ignorance, to do Him honour at His coming. ‘A halo of miracles is formed around the central miracle, comparable to the rays of the rising sun’ (Lange, Life of Christ , Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] i. 257, 258).

At this point the influence of theological standpoint makes itself acutely felt. In the ‘Lives’ written from the naturalistic and Unitarian standpoints, the mass of the material is described as mythical or legendary, and the only points left over for discussion are the sources of invention, and the date at which the stories were incorporated with the genuine tradition. The residuum of historical fact, according to O. Holtzmann, is that ‘Jesus was born at Nazareth in Galilee, the son of Joseph and Mary, being the eldest of five brothers and several sisters, and there He grew up’ ( Life of Jesus , Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] p. 89). The chief grounds on which the negative case is rested may be briefly considered.

(1) The narratives of the Infancy are not a part of the original tradition, since they are known to only two of the Evangelists, and have no Biblical support outside these Gospels. To this it seems a sufficient reply that additions may have been made later from a good source, and that there were obvious reasons why some at least of the incidents should have been treated for a time with reserve.

(2) The two Gospels which deal with the Infancy discredit one another by the incompatibility of their statements. Mt., it is often said, supposes that Bethlehem was Joseph’s home from the beginning; Lk. says that he made a visit to Bethlehem on the occasion of a census. According to Mt., the birth in Bethlehem was followed by a flight into Egypt; according to Lk., they visited Jerusalem and then returned to Nazareth. But the difficulties have been exaggerated. Though it is quite possible that Mt. did not know of an original residence in Nazareth, he does not actually deny it. And although neither Evangelist may have known of the other’s history, it is quite possible, without excessive harmonistic zeal, to work the episodes of Mt. into Lk.’s scheme. ‘The accounts may be combined with considerable plausibility if we suppose that Joseph and Mary remained a full year in Bethlehem, during which the presentation in the Temple took place, and that the visit of the Magi was much later than the adoration of the shepherds’ (Gloag, Introd. to the Synoptic Gospels , pp. 136, 137).

(3) The events narrated are said to be inconsistent with the indirect evidence of other portions of the Gospels. If they really occurred, why was Mary not prepared for all that followed? and why aid Jesus’ brethren not believe in Him? ( Mark 3:21;   Mark 3:31 ff.,   Matthew 12:46-50 ). In particular, the body of the Gospels contains, it is said, evidence which is inconsistent with the Virgin-birth. The difficulty is a real one, but hardly greater than the difficulty presented in the fact that the mighty works of the Ministry did not overbear doubt and disbelief in those who witnessed them.

(4) The narratives in question are also said to have had their origin in man’s illusory ideas as to the proper manner of the coming of a Divine messenger. The history of the founders of other religions e.g. Confucius and Gautama shows a fond predisposition to invest the birth of a Saviour or a mighty prophet with a miraculous halo; and it is suggested that similar stories were invented about Christ, with the effect of obscuring the distinctive thought and purpose of God. They are ‘deforming investitures, misplaced, like courtdresses on the spirits of the just’ (Martinean, Loss and Gain ). There is undeniable force in this, but it will be noticed that it is an observation which would make an end, as indeed those who use it intend, of the whole miraculous element in the life. If, on the other hand, we believe that the life of Christ was supernatural, it is easily credible that the rising of the Sun was heralded, in Lange’s image, by rays of glory.

Of the events of the glorious cycle which have the joint support of Mt. and Lk. there are three which have been felt to have religious significance.

(1) The Davidic descent . It was an article of common belief in the primitive Church that Jesus was descended from David (  Romans 1:3 ). Mt. and Lk. supply genealogies which have the purpose of supporting the belief, but do not strengthen it prima facie , as one traces the descent through Solomon (  Matthew 1:6 ), the other through a son of David called Nathan (  Luke 3:31 ). The favourite way of harmonizing them is to suppose that Mt. gives the descent through Joseph, Lk. through Mary, while others think that Mt. gives the list of heirs to the Davidic throne, Lk. the actual family-tree of Jesus. It may well be believed that descendants of the royal house treasured the record of their origin; and on the other hand it seems unlikely that Jesus could have been accepted as Messiah without good evidence of Davidic origin, or that a late fabrication would have been regarded as such.

(2) The Virgin-birth (cf. Gore, Dissertations on the Incarnation , 1895; Lobstein, The Virgin-Birth of Christ , Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1903). The student is referred for a full statement on both sides to the works above cited, but a remark may be made on the two branches of the evidence. ( a ) The objections based on historical and literary grounds, as distinct from anti-dogmatic prejudice, are of considerable weight. No account of Mk.’s purpose satisfactorily explains his omission if he knew of it, and it seems incredible that, if known, it would not have been utilized in the Pauline theology. Upon this it can only be said that it may have been a fact, although it had not yet come to the knowledge of Mk. and Paul. Further, Mt. and Lk. themselves raise a grave difficulty, since the whole point of the genealogies seems to be that Jesus was descended from David through Joseph. The usual, though not quite convincing, answer is, that Jesus was legally the son of Joseph, and therefore David’s heir. It must probably be admitted that the original compilers of the genealogies shared the ignorance of the earliest Gospel, but ignorance or silence is not decisive as to a fact. ( b ) It has been common to exaggerate the doctrinal necessity of the tenet. It is usually held to have been necessary to preserve Jesus from the taint of original sin; but as Mary was truly His mother, an additional miracle must have been necessary to prevent the transmission of the taint through her, and this subsidiary miracle could have safeguarded the sinlessness of Jesus without the miraculous conception. Nor can it be said that it is a necessary corollary of the Eternal Sonship of Christ; since it is found in the Gospels which say nothing of His pre-existence, and is absent from the Gospel which places this in the forefront. And yet it would be rash to say that it has no value for Christian faith. The unique character of Christ, with its note of sinless perfection, cannot be explained by purely natural factors; and the doctrine of the Virgin-birth at least renders the service of affirming the operation of a supernatural causality in the constitution of that character. It must also be said that the negation is generally felt to be a phase of an anti-supernatural campaign to which the overthrow of this position means the capture of an outwork, and a point of departure for a more critical attack. It is also difficult for a Christian thinker to abandon the dogma without feeling puzzled and distressed by the alternative explanations which open up.

(3) The Birth at Bethlehem (cf. Ramsay, Was Christ born at Bethlehem? 1902). For the birth at Bethlehem we have the statement of the Gospels. Lk. seems to have investigated the point with special care, and explains the presence of Joseph and Mary at Bethlehem as due to a census which had been ordered by Augustus (  Luke 2:1 ). It has frequently been assumed that Lk. has blundered, as Quirinius was not governor of Syria until a.d. 6, when he made an enrolment; and the impossible date to which we are thus led seems to discredit the whole combination. In defence of Lk. it is pointed out that Quirinius held a military appointment in Syria about b.c. 6 which may have been loosely described as a governorship, and that there is evidence for a twelve years’ cycle in Imperial statistics which would give a first enrolment about the same date.

6. Years of Preparation (cf. Keim, vol.   2 Peter 2 ). The silence of the Gospels as to the boyhood and early manhood of Jesus is broken only by the mention of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (  Luke 2:41 ff.). Even if it be true that none of His townsfolk believed on Him, it might have been expected that the piety of His disciples would have recovered some facts from the public memory, and that in any case the tradition would have been enriched at a later date by members of the family circle. The only possible explanation of the silence is that during the years in Nazareth Jesus did and said nothing which challenged notice. It is also evident that the silence is an indirect testimony to the credibility of the great events of the later years, as there was every reason why the tradition, had it not been bound by facts, should have invested the earlier period with supernatural surprises and glories.

(1) Education of Jesus . Earliest in time, and probably chief in importance, was the education in the home. The Jewish Law earnestly impressed upon parents, especially upon fathers, the duty of instructing their children in the knowledge of God, His mighty acts and His laws, and also of disciplining them in religion and morality. ‘We take most pains of all,’ says Josephus, ‘with the instruction of children, and esteem the observation of the laws, and the piety corresponding with them, the most important affairs of our whole life’ (c. Apion , i. 12). ‘We know the laws,’ he adds, ‘as well as our own name.’ It was the home in Nazareth that opened to Jesus the avenues of knowledge, and first put Him in possession of the treasures of the OT. It also seems certain that in His home there was a type of family life which made fatherhood stand to Him henceforward as the highest manifestation of a love beneficent, disinterested, and all-forgiving. It is probable that Jesus had other teachers. We hear in the course of the same century of a resolution to provide teachers in every province and in every town; and before the attempt was made to secure a universal system, it was natural that tuition should be given in connexion with the synagogue to boys likely to ‘profit above their equals.’ Of the officers connected with the synagogue, the ruler and the elders may sometimes have done their work as a labour of love, and there is evidence that it could be laid on the chazzan as an official duty. The stated services of the synagogue, in which the chief part was the expounding of the Scriptures by any person possessed of learning or a message, must have been an event of the deepest interest to the awakening mind of Jesus. From early childhood He accompanied His parents to Jerusalem to keep the Feast the utmost stress being laid by the Rabbis upon this as a means for the instilment of piety. It has also been well pointed out that the land of Palestine was itself a wonderful educational instrument. It was a little country, in size less than the Scottish Highlands, of which a great part could be seen from a mountain-top, and every district visited in a few days’ journey; and its valleys and towns, and, above all, Jerusalem, were filled with memories which compelled the citizen to live in the story of the past, and to reflect at every stage and prospect on the mission of his people and the ways of God (Ramsay, The Education of Christ , 1902). To these has to be added the discipline of work. Jesus learned the trade of a carpenter, and appears to have practised this trade in Nazareth until He reached the threshold of middle age (  Mark 6:3 ). It is perhaps remarkable that none of His imagery is borrowed from His handicraft. One has the feeling that the work of the husbandman and the vinedresser had more attraction for Him, and that His self-sacrifice may have begun in the workshop. The deeper preparation is suggested in the one incident which is chronicled. The point of it is that even in His boyhood Jesus thought of God as His Father, and of His house as His true sphere of work (  Luke 2:49 . The holy of holies in the silent years was the life of communion with God in which He knew the Divine Fatherhood to be a fact, and became conscious of standing to Him in the intimate relationship of a Son.

(2) Knowledge of Jesus . There is no reason to suppose that Jesus studied in the Rabbinical schools. Nor is there more ground for the belief, which has been made the motive of certain ‘Lives of Christ’ (Venturini, Natürliche Gesch. des grossen Propheten von Nazareth , 1800 2), that He had acquired esoteric wisdom among the Essenes. It has also become difficult for those who take their impressions from the historical records to believe that, while in virtue of His human nature His knowledge was progressive and limited, in virtue of His Divine nature He was simultaneously omniscient. All we can say is that He possessed perfect knowledge within the sphere in which His vocation lay. The one book which He studied was the OT, and He used it continually in temptation, conflict, and suffering. He knew human nature in its littleness and greatness the littleness that spoils the noblest characters, the greatness that survives the worst pollution and degradation. He read individual character with a swift and unerring glance. But what must chiefly have impressed the listeners were the intimacy and the certainty with which He spoke of God. In the world of nature He pointed out the tokens of His bounty and the suggestions of His care. The realm of human affairs was to Him instinct with principles which illustrated the relations of God and man. He spoke as One who saw into the very heart of God, and who knew at first hand His purpose with the world, and His love for sinful and sorrow-laden men.

7. Jesus and the Baptist . The religious common-placeness of the age, which has been described above, was at length broken by the appearance of John the Baptist, who recalled the ancient prophets. He proclaimed the approach of the Day of the Lord, when the Messiah would take to Himself His power and reign. He rejected the idea that the Jews could claim special privileges on the ground of birth (  Matthew 3:9 ), and proclaimed that the judgment, with which His work would begin, would be searching and pitiless. Along with other Galilæans Jesus repaired to the scene of the ministry in the lower Jordan valley, and received baptism (  Mark 1:9 ), not, indeed, as though He needed repentance, but as a symbol and means of consecration to the work which lay before Him. The Gospels are more deeply interested in the impression made by Jesus on John, modern writers in the influence exerted by John upon Jesus. According to all the Synoptics, John proclaimed the near advent of the Messiah; according to Mt., he may have implied that Jesus was the Messiah (  Mark 3:14 ); while the Fourth Gospel states that he explicitly pointed Him out as the Messiah to his disciples (  Mark 1:29;   Mark 1:36 ). If we suppose that Jesus held intercourse for a time with the Baptist, it is easy to believe that the stainlessness and commanding greatness of His character at least evoked from the Baptist an avowal of his own inferiority. That he went so far as to declare Him the Messiah whom he preached is a statement which it is difficult to accept literally, or as meaning more than that the school of the Baptist pointed to its consummation in the school of Christ. On the other hand, contact with the Baptist’s ministry evidently precipitated the crisis in the life of Christ. The man who re-discovered the need and the power of a prophetic mission was an instrument in bringing Jesus face to face with His prophetic task; while his proclamation of the impending advent of the Messiah must have had the character for Jesus of a call to the work for which, as the unique Son, He knew Himself to be furnished. It is evident that the act of baptism was accompanied by something decisive. According to Mk., Jesus then had a vision of the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove, and heard a voice from heaven, ‘Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ (  Mark 1:10-11 ). This is more probable than the statement that it was a public revelation (  Luke 3:21-22 ), or that it was the Baptist to whom the vision was vouchsafed (  John 1:32 ). We shall hardly err if we suppose that Jesus spoke to the disciples of His baptism as the time when His Messianic consciousness became clear, and He received an endowment of strength for the task to which He was called.

8. The Temptation . The view taken of the significance of the Baptism is confirmed by the narrative of the Temptation, which would naturally follow closely upon the acceptance of the Messianic vocation (  Mark 1:12-13 ,   Matthew 4:1-11 ,   Luke 4:1-13 ). Like the scene at the Baptism, the temptations probably came to Jesus in the form of a vision, which He afterwards described to His disciples. It has generally been agreed that the temptations must be understood as growing out of the Messianic commission, but there is wide difference of opinion as to their precise significance. The view which seems most probable to the present writer may be briefly set forth, it being premised that Luke’s order seems to answer best to the logic of the situation. Assuming that in the Baptism Jesus accepted the Messianic call, the possibilities of the ensuing ordeal of temptation were three that He should recoil from the task, that He should misconceive it, or that, rightly apprehending it, He should adopt wrong methods. The first temptation, accordingly, may very naturally be supposed to have consisted in the suggestion that He should choose comfort rather than hardship that He should turn back, while there was yet time, from the arduous and perilous path, and live out His days in the sheltered life of Nazareth. This He rejected on the ground that there are higher goods than comfort and security; ‘man shall not live by bread alone’ (  Matthew 4:4 ). The heroic course resolved on, the great question to be next faced was if He was to aim at establishing a kingdom of the political kind which the people generally expected, or a kingdom of a spiritual order. To found and maintain an earthly kingdom. He knew, meant the use of violence, craft, and other Satanic instruments; and of such means, even if the end had approved itself to Him as His vocation, He refused to make use (  Matthew 4:8 ff.). This decision taken, the question remained as to the way in which He was to win belief for Himself and His cause. For one with perfect trust in God it was a natural suggestion to challenge God to own Him by facing risks in which His life could be saved only through the interposition of a stupendous miracle (4:5ff.). But this He put aside as impious, and cast upon the Father the care of making His path plain, while He awaited, prudently as well as bravely, the gradual disclosure of His call to work and danger.

9. Duration of the Ministry (cf. art. Chronology above and in DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ). The Synoptics give no certain indication of the length of the period. It is argued that the incident of plucking the ears of corn (  Mark 2:23 ) points to April or June of one year, and that at the feeding of the five thousand we are in the spring (‘green grass,’   Mark 6:39 ) of the year following; while at least another twelve months would be required for the journeys which are subsequently recorded. The chronological scheme usually adopted is based on the Fourth Gospel, which has the following notes of time: a Passover (  John 2:13 ), four months to harvest (  John 4:35 ), a feast of the Jews (  John 5:1 ), another Passover (  John 6:4 ), the feast of Tabernacles (  John 7:2 ), the feast of Dedication (  John 10:22 ), the last Passover (  John 11:55 ). The first four ‘can be combined in more than one way to fit into a single year e.g. (a ) Passover May any lesser feast Passover; or ( b ) Passover January Purim (February) Passover.’ ‘From   John 6:4 to   John 11:55 the space covered is exactly a year, the autumn Feast of Tabernacles (  John 7:2 ), and the winter Feast of Dedication (  John 10:22 ), being signalized in the course of it’ (art. ‘Chronology’ in DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] i. 409 a , 408 a ).

It was a wide-spread opinion in Patristic times, supported by the phrase ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’ ( Luke 4:19 ), that the ministry lasted only one year; and in the opinion of some modern scholars it can be maintained that even the Fourth Gospel includes its material between two Passovers (Westcott and Hort, Greek Test.  ; Briggs, New Light on the Life of Jesus ). On the other hand, it was asserted by Irenæus ( adv. Hær . ii. 22) on the ground of   John 8:57 , and of an alleged Johannine tradition, that from ten to twenty years elapsed between the Baptism and the Crucifixion.   John 8:57 is quite inconclusive, and the best authority for the Johannine tradition must be the Gospel, the evidence of which may be summed up by saying that ‘while two years must , not more than two years can , be allowed for the interval from   John 2:13;   John 2:23 to   John 11:55 ’ (art. ‘Chronology’ in DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ).

10. Periods of the Life of Christ . The divisions are necessarily affected by the view which is taken of the value of the chronological scheme of the Fourth Gospel.

Keim, who generally follows the guidance of the Synoptics, divides as follows:

Preliminary period of self-recognition and decision.

1. The Galilæan spring-time, beginning in the spring of a.d. 34 [certainly much too late], and lasting for a few months. Characteristics: the optimism of Jesus, and the responsiveness of the people.

2. The Galilæan storms, extending over the summer and autumn of a.d. 34 and the spring of the following year. Scene: Galilee and the neighbouring regions. Characteristics: increasing opposition, and intensification of the polemical note in the teaching of Jesus.

3. The Messianic progress to Jerusalem, and the Messianic death at the Passover of a.d. 35. Scene: Peræa and Jerusalem ( Jesus of Nazara ).

The Johannine material can be combined with the Synoptic in two periods, each of which lasted about a year. The following is the scheme of Hase:

Preliminary history.

1. The ‘acceptable year of the Lord,’ marked by hopefulness, active labour, and much outward success. Scene: Judæa and Galilee. Time: from the Baptism to the Feeding of the Multitude (some months before Passover of the year a.d. 30 or 31 to shortly before Passover of the following year).

2. The year of conflict. Scene: Galilee, Peræa, Judæa. Time: from the second to the last Passover.

3. The Passion and Resurrection. Scene: Jerusalem. Time: Passover ( Gesch. Jesu ).

The months between the Baptism and the first Passover may be regarded as a period with distinct characteristics, and we may distinguish (1) the year of obscurity, (2) the year of public favour, (3) the year of opposition (Stalker, Life of Jesus Christ , 1879).

The division into sub-periods has been most elaborately carried out by Dr. Sanday ( Outlines of the Life of Jesus Christ ).

A. Preliminary period from the Baptism to the call of the leading Apostles. Sources:  Matthew 3:1 to   Matthew 4:11 ,   Mark 1:1-13 ,   Luke 3:1 to   Luke 4:13 ,   John 1:6 to   John 4:54 . Scene: mainly in Judæa, but in part also in Galilee. Time: winter a.d. 26 to a few weeks before Passover, a.d. 27.

B. First active or constructive period. Sources:  Matthew 4:13 to   Matthew 13:53 ,   Mark 1:14 to   Mark 6:13 ,   Luke 4:14 to   Luke 9:6 ,   John 5:1-47 . Scene: mainly in Galilee, but also partly in Jerusalem. Time: from about Pentecost, a.d. 27, to shortly before Passover, a.d. 28.

C. Middle or culminating period of the active ministry. Sources:  Matthew 14:1 to   Matthew 18:35 ,   Mark 6:14 to   Mark 9:50 ,   Luke 9:7-50 ,   John 6:1-71 . Scene: Galilee. Time: Passover to shortly before Tabernacles, a.d. 28.

D. Close of the active period the Messianic crisis in view. Sources:  Matthew 19:1 to   Matthew 20:34 ,   Mark 10:1-52 ,   Luke 9:51 to   Luke 19:28 ,   John 7:1 to   John 11:57 . Scene: Judæa and Peræa. Time: Tabernacles, a.d. 28, to Passover, a.d. 29.

E. The Messianic crisis the last week, passion, resurrection, ascension. Sources:  Matthew 21:1 to   Matthew 28:20 ,   Mark 11:1 to   Mark 16:8 [  Mark 16:9-20 ],   Luke 19:29 to   Luke 24:52 ,   John 12:1 to   John 21:23 . Scene: mainly in Jerusalem. Time: six days before Passover to ten days before Pentecost, a.d. 29.

Weiss’s scheme agrees with the above so far as regards the duration of the ministry (from  2 Timothy 3 years), and the date of the Crucifixion (Passover, a.d. 29). His periods are: (1) the preparation, corresponding to Dr. Sanday’s ‘preliminary period’ down to the wedding in Cana of Galilee; (2) the seed-time, including the remainder of ‘the preliminary period,’ and the first active or constructive period; (3) the period of first conflicts, and (4) the period of crisis, corresponding to the ‘middle or culminating period’; (5) the Jerusalem period, corresponding to the close of the active period; (6) the Passion and the subsequent events.

Useful as the above schemes of Weiss and Sanday are for arranging the subject-matter, and deserving as they are of respect for their scholarly grounding, the writer doubts if we can pretend to such exact knowledge of the course of events. Even if we assume that the Fourth Gospel gives a reliable chronological framework, it is a very precarious assumption that the Synoptic material, which is largely put together from a topical point of view, can be assigned its proper place in the scheme. Further, it is by no means clear that we are right in supposing that there was a Judæan ministry which ran parallel with the Galilæan ministry. There is much to be said for the view that the narratives of the Fourth Gospel presuppose a situation towards the close of them inistry, and that in interweaving them with the Synoptic narratives of the Galilæan perio

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

By anyone's account, Jesus of Nazareth is the most significant person who has ever lived. He has influenced more lives and had more written about him than any other person in history. He is the only one who ever made a credible claim to being more than just another human being and to this day almost a billion people revere him as the supreme revelation of God. The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of Jesus' life and his basic teachings, with each topic being introduced by a short account of the modern discussion that surrounds it. Introducing the whole is a brief discussion of the nature of the sources from which Jesus' life and teachings are derived and concluding it is a discussion of who Jesus understood himself to be.

The Nature of the Sources . The primary sources for the life of Jesus are and will probably always be the four Gospels of the New Testament. New discoveries are made periodically, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic Scriptures at Nag Hammadi, but immensely valuable as they are, they tell us nothing new about Jesus. They are either too late in time, too tangential, too geographically distant, or too obviously a distortion of more traditional Christian thought to be of much value. Some of this material has been available for a long time and has been made available in such works as R. McL. Wilson's New Testament Apochrypha (2 vols.), but no one was inclined to rewrite the story of Jesus on the basis of that. Other fragmentary material from Jewish and pagan sources is also well known and has a certain corroborative value that is quite helpful. We learn that Jesus lived during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (a.d. 14-37) somewhere in Palestine; that he was a religious leader who worked miracles and exorcised demons and was later regarded as a deity by his followers; that he was executed by crucifixion by the Jewish and Roman authorities during a Passover season; that reports circulated about his resurrection from the dead. All of this is very helpful, even if the Christian faith is sometimes described by these very sources as an unfounded superstition, because in its own way it reflects what Christians believes. It does not add anything new to what we know about Jesus, however. For that, one must turn to the four Gospels.

Because the Gospels are basically the only sources we possess for the life of Jesus, the question inevitably arises concerning reliability. Regarding this, four things can be said. First, there is no agreed definition of reliability. Everyone approaches sources from a point of view that either includes, excludes, or leaves open the possibility of what is recorded. Given Christian presuppositions, the story makes perfect sense; given non-Christian presuppositions, the rejection of the sources as unreliable is understandable. It is not really a question of the sources, but a question of the interpreter of the sources. Second, the Gospel writers and their subject matter argue in favor of their truthfulness. They were attempting to present a true account of the One who claimed to be the Truth, did so on the basis of careful research ( Luke 1:1-4 ), and were willing to die for the results of their efforts. That does not necessarily make it true, but it does mean they were not inventing things they knew to be false. Third, the church from the beginning believed that God had a hand in the writing of the material and that guaranteed its trustworthiness. This does not make it so, but that belief did arise from contact with those who knew Jesus and contact with the risen Jesus who confirmed in their own experience what the sources said about him as incarnate. If they were right in this, it confirms the reliability of the sources. Fourth, the Gospels are all we have. If they are allowed to speak for themselves, they present a consistent picture that gave rise to the Christian faith and has been confirmed in the lives of believers from that day to this. The simple fact is, there is no other Jesus available than the one presented in the Gospels. Either that is accepted or one creates his or her own Jesus on the basis of what is thought to be possible or likely. It might be a Jesus acceptable to the modern or postmodern mind, but it will not be the Jesus of the Gospels.

The Gospels as sources are what they are, shot through with supernatural occurrences from beginning to end and they present a Jesus who is both powerful and puzzling to our modern mind. They ought to be examined with the utmost care, but allowed to speak for themselves and appreciated for what they are, documents written from within the faith, honestly depicting what they believed Jesus said and did, to the best of their recollection.

The Life of Jesus . The Search for the Real Jesus . From the time when Jesus lived until the eighteenth century it would never have occurred to anyone to search for a real Jesus. The Gospels were considered to be divinely inspired, accurate accounts of Jesus' life; hence, the real Jesus was found by reading them. A change occurred with the coming of the Enlightenment that no longer saw the truth of the Gospels as guaranteed by God. They were to be read as any other book; the supernatural elements were to be discounted entirely or taken as myths or symbols of some higher truth. This meant that the real Jesus, a Jesus fully explainable in human terms, had to be disentangled from the pious, but historically inaccurate elements that smothered him.

During the nineteenth century an enormous number of lives of Jesus were written that attempted to reconstruct who Jesus really was, some of them showing real insight but most straying so far from the Gospels as to make Jesus virtually unrecognizable. A few achieved immense popularity because of their radical originality, like D. F. Strauss's The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835) and E. Renan's Life of Jesus (1863), but most came and went and in fact are almost unknown today. In 1903Albert Schweitzer surveyed over two hundred such lives and convincingly showed that none of them had found the real Jesus.

This earliest attempt to find the real Jesus, which came to be known as "the Old Quest, " was set aside in the early twentieth century by a group of theologians led by Rudolph Bultmann, who felt that the "historical" Jesus was essentially irrelevant to Christian faith. Christians were to put their faith in the risen Christ, not a reconstructed historical Jesus. They also believed that none of the supernatural elements of the Gospels, such as the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, or his bodily resurrection was true, anyway, but only an ancient way of describing an existential experience of the present day.

The extreme skepticism of this movement brought about a strong reaction in the 1950s, called the "New Quest of the Historical Jesus, " led by some of Bultmann's students, notably E. K emann and G. Bornkamm. Bornkamm's Jesus of Nazareth (1956) and J. M. Robinson's A New Quest of the Historical Jesus (1959) were the high points, but this quest also faded away, itself being too problematic and inconclusive to help much.

Following this, numerous renewed attempts to find the real Jesus were made, which are together called the "Third Quest." They include everything from depicting Jesus as a magician (M. Smith, Jesus the Magician, 1979), a Marxist (M. Machorec, A Marxist Looks at Jesus, 1976), to an outright fraud (B. Thiering, Jesus the Man, 1992). Others wrote of Jesus along more traditional lines (D. Guthrie, Jesus the Messiah, 1972; B. F. Meyer, The Aims of Jesus, 1979) and yet others wrote scholarly attempts to understand what could be known purely as history about Jesus, such as E. P. Sanders (The Historical Figure of Jesus, 1995) and J. P. Meier (A Marginal Jew, 2 vols., 1991,1995). John Reumann has attempted to classify all of this (taking it back to 1900) into twenty different categories as "Types of Lives Some Key Examples" (The New Testament and its Modern Interpreters, eds. E. J. Epp and G. W. MacRae, pp. 520-24).

This confusing welter of lives raises the question whether there is a "real" Jesus. The answer to that, in the end, must go back to the only real sources that we have, namely, the four Gospels of the New Testament. Any reconstruction that differs fundamentally from what is depicted there will not qualify, nor strengthen the church, nor stand the test of time. Jesus will always elude us if we look for him only in history and any attempt to depict him as simply another part of history will inevitably be unconvincing.

The Life of Jesus. Jesus' Birth and Youth . Two of our four canonical gospels (Matthew and Luke) contain material dealing with Jesus' earthly life prior to the beginning of his public ministry. Matthew's basic emphasis is on Jesus as descendant of David; hence he focuses on Joseph's line, Jesus being the legal heir of Joseph. Luke presents information gathered from Mary's side, either from Mary herself or from those who knew her. There is very little overlap between the accounts.

The events that precede Jesus' birth concern primarily two miraculous conceptions, that of John the Baptist and, of course, Jesus. John's father, the priest Zechariah, was told by the angel Gabriel that his aged wife Elizabeth would bear a son in her old age. Mary was told by the same angel, Gabriel, that she would bear a son, though a virgin. Zechariah's response was incredulity, where Mary's was respectful joy and acceptance ( Luke 1:18,38 ).

A census decreed by Caesar Augustus sent Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem where, during the last years of Herod the Great, Jesus was born to the acclaim of angels and shepherds. The exact date of Jesus' birth is debated by any time from late 7 to 5 b.c. is possible. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day ( Luke 2:21 ) and on the fortieth day taken to the temple in Jerusalem, where he was presented to the Lord and his parents were ceremonially purified according to levitical custom ( Luke 2:22-38;  Leviticus 12:1-8 ). They returned to Bethlehem were, apparently, they intended to stay. Magi came from the east, following a miraculous star. They found Jesus after making inquiries in Jerusalem, upsetting the rulers there. This visit could have been up to two years after Jesus' birth. Herod's desire to kill the child Jesus was thwarted by God and the family escaped to Egypt. After Herod the Great's death in 4 b.c., the family decided to return to Nazareth after hearing that Archelaus was ruling over Judea (where Bethlehem was) in place of his father. Only one episode is recorded of Jesus' early years. When he was twelve years old, on the eve of adulthood according to Jewish custom ( Luke 2:41-50 ), he showed his profound identification with the temple and the things of God.

These events are characterized by the miraculous and the extraordinary. Modern attempts to make them pious fiction or mythological are only required if one is unable to accept God's direct intervention in human affairs. They are wholly consistent with the rest of Jesus' extraordinary career and, indeed, make an appropriate introduction to it.

The Year of Obscurity . James Stalker described the three-year public ministry of Jesus as the year of obscurity, the year of public favor, and the year of opposition. Although not wholly accurate, this does serve as a handy guide to those years.

The year of obscurity began sometime in a.d. 26. John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness near the Dead Sea preaching a message of baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Some scholars have connected John with the Qumran community. Although this is possible, the message of John is altogether different from theirs. He was an exceptional figure, recalling the days of Elijah. He spoke out against false trust in one's Jewishness, demanded conversion in the light of the coming judgment, required a changed life as evidence of conversion, and spoke of the coming Messiah, of whom he was the forerunner. John's denunciation of Herod Antipas's illegal marriage to his brother's wife provoked her ire, his imprisonment, and ultimately his death. Jesus spoke in the highest possible terms of John and his ministry, in spite of John's troubled questionings while in prison at Machaerus.

Jesus went from Nazareth to be baptized by John in order "to fulfill all righteousness" ( Matthew 3:15 ). Jesus showed his sense of mission by identifying with the sins of the world at the very beginning of his ministry. Divine confirmation came from heaven with the voice of God and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove ( Matthew 3:16-17 ). This affirmation of the Trinity will later by repeated at the end of Matthew's Gospel (28:19).

A time of severe testing in the wilderness followed Jesus' baptism, in which Jesus' commitment to his task and understanding of his mission were resolved.

After a short trip to Cana in Galilee where the water was turned into wine Jesus returned to Jerusalem for the Passover of a.d. 27. His expulsion of the moneychangers from the temple was more than just a rejection of corrupt practices. He was rejecting the temple itself by offering himself as a new temple for a new people of God ( John 2:18-21 ).

Sometime in the fall of a.d. 27 John the Baptist was arrested. Jesus took this as a sign to return to Galilee to begin his own ministry. As long as John was preaching, he held back. Now that John was gone, the time of fulfillment had arrived. On the trip back to Galilee, Jesus rather openly declared to the woman at Jacob's well in Samaria some of his challenging, new ideas. The time has arrived when true worship of God will not concern where it takes place, whether in Samaria or Jerusalem, but how it takes place. God seeks the right attitude, spirituality, and truth, not the right location ( John 4:21-24 ).

Jesus was warmly received upon his arrival in Galilee ( John 4:45 ) and everyone praised him as he began to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God ( Mark 1:15;  Luke 4:14-15 ).

The Year of Public Favor . Jesus' ministry in Galilee and the regions to the north of it are described in some detail by the Gospel writers and, although, in general, it was a time of public acclaim by the people, the clouds of opposition were arising from official quarters in Jerusalem.

After an initial rebuff in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus settled in at Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, using it as a base of operations for his ministry in Galilee. Large crowds began to follow Jesus because of the miraculous events and healing that were taking place, but also because of the gracious words that he spoke. Rather than focusing on the minute regulations that had grown up along with biblical tradition, Jesus stressed the love and nearness of God to everyone personally. Rules were made for people, not people for the rules. The Good News of the kingdom is that the power of God is available for all who put their trust in God and are poor in spirit, pure in heart, loving, merciful, and followers of peace. Jesus saw himself as the embodiment and establisher of that kingdom and offered himself to the people as the one who was bringing that kingdom to pass ( Matthew 11:25-30 ). Matthew summarizes this by saying "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people" (4:23).

Jesus made at least three major preaching tours through Galilee at this time, as well as two that took him into Gentile territory to the north and east. In one instance, he felt it necessary to send out his recently appointed leaders, the apostles, to engage in ministry in his name, because the task was too large to be done single-handedly ( Mark 9:1-2 ).

It would be hard to say which of the many episodes that are recounted in the Gospels are the most important, because what we have are a selection of those deemed most important to begin with. However, four stand out as particularly instructive. First, Jesus chose twelve of his followers to become a nucleus of leadership ( Mark 3:13-19 ). This was to establish a new Israel that would in time replace the old Israel as the people of God. Second, when John the Baptist asked Jesus from prison if he was the Messiah, Jesus replied with a definition of messiahship that was one of service and suffering rather than of immediate triumph ( Matthew 11:2-19 ). Here, again, Jesus pointed out that the old age was drawing to a close and that the new age was dawning. Third, at the miraculous feeding of the five thousand and the subsequent sermon in Capernaum reflecting on that event, Jesus offers himself as the essence of the kingdom, as the bread come down from heaven and a new manna in a new wilderness ( Matthew 14:13-21;  John 6:1-69 ). Fourth, during Jesus' second trip outside of Galilee, he disclosed at Caesarea Philippi and at his transfiguration who he really was and what his ultimate task was to be ( Mark 8:27-38;  9:2 ). He was the eternal Son of God who had come to die for the sins of the world.

The Year of Opposition . As Jesus' ministry in Galilee was drawing to a close, he was preparing to move south to continue his work in the regions of Perea and Judea. He knew that he was moving into dangerous territory. Even while he was in Galilee spies and representatives were being sent from Jerusalem to observe his actions and, perhaps, to find some grounds for legal action against him. In three areas they were dissatisfied with what he was doing: he was violating the Sabbath rules ( Matthew 12:1-8;  Mark 3:1-6 ); his miraculous healings were attributed to demonic activity, rather than to divine intervention ( Mark 3:22-30 ); and he set aside traditional rules regarding hand washing, and, adding insult to injury, accused the leadership of being hypocritical ( Mark 7:1-13 ). While he was in Galilee, he was more or less out of their jurisdiction, but traveling to Jerusalem would provoke open conflict.

Jesus arrived in time for the feast of Tabernacles (September-October) in a.d. 29. Conflict immediately broke out, some saying he was the Messiah or a Prophet, others denying it ( John 7:11-13,40-43 ). Jesus proclaimed himself to be the water of life, the light of the world, the special representative of the Father, the dispenser of eternal life, and timeless in his existence ( John 7:16,37-38;  8:12,16 ,  28,51 ,  56-58 ). Further controversy arose after Jesus healed a man who had been born blind. This could not be denied by the rulers and only deepened their hostility toward him.

Jesus traveled throughout Judea and Perea, teaching, preaching, and healing, as he had done in Galilee. At one point he sent out a group of seventy-two disciples, by twos, to preach and heal in his name, knowing that his time was growing short. He spent some time in Bethany, where another notable miracle took place (the raising of Lazarus from the dead). After a short trip back north, taking him to the border of Galilee once more, Jesus returned by way of Jericho to Jerusalem for the last time.

During this time Jesus was preparing his disciples for what was coming, although they had a difficult time accepting the fact that he was going to Jerusalem to die and rise again. Their thoughts were full of coming glory and the power that Jesus so manifestly displayed. For Jesus triumph in Jerusalem meant death and resurrection; for the disciples it meant a special and obvious place in God's kingdom. Jesus tried to explain what the cost of discipleship would be, but his disciples seemed incapable of hearing it ( Luke 14:25-35 ).

The Trial and Death of Jesus . Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover (March-April) of a.d. 30, entering the city to the acclaim of the people and in triumphal glory. He repeated his actions of three years earlier, again demonstrating his authority over the temple. This created a great stir among the people and a murderous hatred in the hearts of the leaders.

During that week there was public and unresolved conflict with the authorities and they made plans to do away with Jesus, penetrating the group by way of Judas, one of the twelve apostles.

On Thursday night Jesus ate a Passover meal with his followers and established a communal ceremony for them that consisted of a participation in his coming death, concretized in the partaking of bread and wine. This was the establishment of the New Covenant that had been prophesied by Jeremiah ( Luke 22:17-20; see  Jeremiah 31:31-34 ).

Jesus' agony began in the garden of Gethsemane where he was arrested after going there to pray. He was taken to the high priest's compound where he was interviewed, first by Annas, then by Caiphas, then when it had fully gathered, by the whole Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews. It was difficult to get the witnesses to agree, but a charge of blasphemy was settled on, because Jesus had claimed to be equal to God ( Matthew 26:63-68 ). By now it was near morning and Peter had disgraced himself by denying publicly that he even knew Jesus.

The Jewish authorities took Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, for him to ratify their sentence of death (they did not have the authority to execute it). The grounds of their condemnation of Jesus had expanded considerably on their way to Pilate. They charged that Jesus had actively misled the people, opposed payment of taxes to Caesar, and claimed to be the Messiah, a king ( Luke 23:2 ). They later added a fourth charge—Jesus was a revolutionary, inciting people to riot ( Luke 23:5 ). Pilate made a series of attempts to release Jesus, including the offer to release a prisoner (they chose Barabbas instead) and the flogging of Jesus as punishment, but death by crucifixion was their ultimate demand. With mingled contempt and fear, Pilate granted them their wish when they accused him of being unfaithful to Caesar, by allowing one who claimed to be a king to live.

Jesus was crucified at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, the actual day of Passover, and died at 3 p.m. that afternoon. He prayed forgiveness for his tormentors, went through a sense of abandonment by God, and expired with "It is finished; Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit." Jesus had finished the work he had come to do — to die for the sins of the world.

Jesus' body was hastily placed in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, because the day ended at 6 p.m. according to Jewish reckoning and everything must be finished before the Sabbath. A seal was set on the tomb and the women were waiting for the Sabbath to end so they could prepare the body properly for permanent burial.

Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension . Early on Sunday morning, when the women went to visit the tomb, they were startled to see that the tomb was empty and an angel announced the good news: "He has risen! He is not here" ( Mark 16:6 ). There followed that day a confusing set of actions that included other visits to the tomb, visits to the apostles, and appearances of Jesus. Three of these appearances are especially noteworthy. First, Jesus appeared to two disciples as they were on their way out of town in utter dejection and nearing Emmaus. Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, especially the necessity of his suffering, in order to enter his glory ( Luke 24:35 ). Jesus fellowshiped together with them and their eyes were opened to see the truth. Second, a special appearance was granted to the apostle Peter ( Luke 24:34; cf.  John 21:15-23 ) in order to strengthen him after his ignominious failure. Third, Jesus appeared to the eleven (minus Judas) in Jerusalem to show that the reports were true; he had, indeed, risen and was the same Jesus, now glorified. He was not a ghost or spirit, but risen in a body capable of being seen, touched, and participating in events related to this life ( Luke 24:36-43 ).

Other appearances followed over a period of forty days, both in Jerusalem and in Galilee. There were appearances to individuals, groups of individuals, and in one case to over five hundred people at one time ( 1 Corinthians 15:6 ). They occurred in various places and at various times of day. All of this was to remove any doubt whatsoever about the reality of what had taken place. Jesus had risen and the once fearful flock was now emboldened and empowered to preach the message of the risen Christ as the salvation of the world. In the end neither rejection, nor persecution, nor death could shake their conviction that Jesus had conquered death. He had risen, indeed.

After forty days Jesus left this earth as miraculously as he had come. During the forty days Jesus had confirmed the fact of his resurrection, instructed his disciples about his new relationship to them, and promised them a new work by the Holy Spirit in their lives. His ascension was the return to his Father that he had spoken about ( John 20:17 ) and the inauguration of his reign that would be consummated on this earth with his second coming ( Acts 1:9-11 ). Thus began a new phase of Jesus' dealings with his followers. His physical presence was replaced by a spiritual presence ( Matthew 28:20 ) as they set out to fulfill his last commission to them, to be witnesses unto the ends of the earth ( Acts 1:8 ).

The Teaching of Jesus . The Search for the Real Words of Jesus . The search for the real words of Jesus arose at the same time that the search for the real Jesus began, with the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. With the collapse of confidence in the Gospels as infallible sources of information about Jesus came skepticism about what Jesus said as well. However, that did not come to the same degree or at the same time as skepticism about his life, the reason being it was easier to reinterpret what Jesus said in modern terms than many of the things he was recorded to have done. His walking on water or raising the dead could only be understood as ancient superstitions or myth. His statements about the kingdom of God or messiahship could rather easily be turned into modern ethical statements and made consistent with other religious teachings.

The teaching of Jesus as understood by the "Old Quest" concerned individual piety, personal relations, and the social betterment of the world. The kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed was understood to be the gradual improvement of society by permeating it with the lofty moral ideals of Jesus. This conception reached its classic statement in Adolf von Harnack's What Is Christianity? (1901) with his epitomizing Jesus' teachings as the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of all human beings, and the infinite value of the human soul.

It was Johannes Weiss ( Jesus' Teaching on the Kingdom of God, 1892) and Albert Schweitzer ( The Quest of the Historical Jesus, 1903) who helped bring an end to this understanding of Jesus' words by pointing out that just as Jesus as a person did not fit into modern categories, neither did his message. Jesus was not a Kantian ethicist, but rather an ancient apocalyptic prophet, proclaiming the end of the age with the coming of an enigmatic figure called the "Son of Man."

The existentialist underpinnings of both the Bultmannian rejection of the Old Quest and the subsequent New Quest of the Historical Jesus made the search for Jesus' real words theologically secondary. The primary importance of Jesus' words—what we may know of them—is to challenge us to new life or a new self-understanding. Taken in their historical context Jesus' words were nothing more than what historical research could show them to be, whether rabbinic, apocalyptic, esoteric, or basically indeterminate. But as used by God, they become an existential challenge to our smug self-satisfaction and a call to encounter the living God.

The need to know what Jesus really said did not go away, however, and many in the New Quest and the subsequent "Third Quest" went back to the task of seeking Jesus' real words. There was a problem, however. The problem was now, in the light of developed Gospel studies, how to sift the material so that later additions and changes made by the church communities, the redactors, the legend-making propensities of the time, the oral transmitters of the tradition and the final "author" of the finished gospel can be set aside, leaving us only what Jesus really said. So the search for criteria to distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic began. To date, no fewer than twenty-five such criteria have been suggested, some of them mutually exclusive, such as multiple source attestation, dissimilarity, consensus of scholars, multiple forms of a statement, and Palestinian environment. Interestingly, rather than create more confidence in the gospel materials, in general, this has brought about a greater skepticism.

The recent "Jesus Seminar" has also taken a skeptical line on this. After working six years trying to answer the question "What did Jesus really say?" these seventy scholars published their results in The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (1993)—the fifth gospel being the apocryphal "Gospel of Thomas." They concluded "Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him" ( The Five Gospels, p. 5).

Responses to this excessive skepticism are now arising in such works as C. Blomberg's The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (1987), Jesus Under Fire (1995), eds. M. J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland, and Is the New Testament Reliable? by Paul Barnett. No doubt, the pendulum will swing back toward a more sensible position in the future.

The Teaching of Jesus. Jesus' Teaching Method . Jesus was in every respect a master communicator. He employed methods that were sufficiently familiar to his hearers to make them comfortable but sufficiently different to arrest their attention. What struck them most forcefully of all, however, was the person himself—Jesus taught them as one having authority. It is hard to define, even inhuman terms, what authority really is, but in Jesus' case it is even more difficult, because his authority made claims that went beyond the merely human, causing those who heard him to exclaim "Who is this man?" At least three things combined to make Jesus' very presence an unsettling challenge, a call to decision. First and foremost, he embodied what he taught, and what he taught seemed clearly beyond human capacities. Yet he embodied those principles to the highest degree without any embarrassment or arrogance. Was he more than merely human?—that was the implied question on everyone's mind. Second, his teaching was derived solely from the Old Testament, which was, of course, God's Word, and it was mediated directly through himself; he identified directly with it. The rabbis found it necessary to bolster their interpretations by extensive references to one another. Jesus never quoted another rabbi. "You have heard it said, but I say unto you" is how Jesus taught. God's word and his own words merged into one. Third, Jesus' words were backed up by demonstrations of power. Anyone can claim anything, but only one with more than human authority can say to the waves "Be still" and have those waves obey him.

Jesus' very presence caused the crowds to gather, but what he said caused them to gather as well. His teaching method was very much like the parables that he taught. It was designed to reveal enough of the truth to draw people it, but to conceal enough to cause people to stop and reflect. These people had heard biblical truth on many occasions; Jesus' task was to cause them to hear it afresh, perhaps even to hear it as a reality for the first time. To accomplish this Jesus would sometimes bury his meaning somewhere below the surface, so that people would have to dig for it. On other occasions, Jesus would use highly graphic language to make a point. It certainly caught their attention when he told them to take the plank out of their eye in order to see the speck in another's ( Matthew 7:3-5 ) and called their religious leaders snakes ( Matthew 23:33 ). Sometimes Jesus' words were seemingly self-contradictory ("The first will be last, and the last will be first" —  Mark 10:31 ) and at times even shocking ("Cut off your hand cut off your foot" —  Mark 9:42-48 ). In all of this, Jesus' creative use of language was designed to force his hearers to a decision. He knew that giving them information was not enough. They must be challenged to embody and act on that information in order for it to change them. When attempting to do that they would be forced to confront their own inabilities and cast themselves on God, which was Jesus' ultimate intention. So Jesus and his message and his method of delivery all blended together to challenge the people. They either believed or they were offended and left.

Jesus' View of God . The foundation of everything that Jesus said and did was his conviction that God existed, knew what he was doing, and was involved in human affairs. From the very earliest time of Jesus' life of which we have record, he was in the house of God busy about his Father's affairs ( Luke 2:46-49 ). Jesus lived in unbroken and immediate fellowship with God, virtually a life of prayer. He spent long periods of time in intimate communion with God and at critical junctures during his public career, such as his baptism, his transfiguration, his agony in the garden, and his death, God's presence was a vivid reality, more real than even the seemingly substantial reality around him. It was out of this profound personal experience that what Jesus had to say about God arose. He never doubted that God existed nor did it occur to him to attempt to prove that there was a God. All of Jesus' reassuring began with the fact of God and moved downward toward human affairs. He never started with an undefined human situation and argued his way to the conclusion that somehow God must be there. For him that God existed was a given.

For Jesus, that God could be known personally, directly, and intimately was also a given. This meant that religious ritual and complicated ceremonial activity should not be inserted between a person and God. Too often these things become primary and the vision of God is obscured. The term that Jesus used most frequently to define what kind of person God is was heavenly Father. This term is found in the Old Testament, as, indeed, virtually everything Jesus says about God's nature and actions is, but it had become so vague by Jesus' time as to be almost meaningless. Consequently, Jesus emphasized this in order to make it alive for us once more. Jesus' chief concern was to renew in the people of his day a sense of the divine reality—the presence of a personal, loving God, who is our heavenly Father. It is for this reason that Jesus never mentioned what might be called the harder aspects of God's being, calling God King or Judge. He knew very well that God was both King and Judge, but he wanted people to know that a heavenly Father ruled and judged.

The attributes, or qualities, that God possesses are all derived from God's self-revelation in the Old Testament and can be verified anew in the life of the believer. God is good, glorious, true, loving, giving, righteous, perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, wise, and sovereign, to mention just a few. Sometimes these are stated as abstract theological truth or fact (e.g., "All things are possible with God" —  Mark 10:27 ) but most often they are related to concrete human situations. God, in the totality of his being, is vitally concerned with human beings in every aspect of their lives, from the number of hairs on their head, to the need for daily bread, to their eternal salvation.

It was Jesus' supreme desire that people know God as he really is once more. He set out to accomplish this by offering himself as the unique embodiment of that reality and introducing them to the one true God, their heavenly Father.

The Kingdom of God . That God existed was the essence of Jesus' teaching; that God ruled over the world he had created was the way in which what might have been simply an abstract idea (God is) was concretely related to everyday human life. The term Jesus chose to express this understanding was the "kingdom of God." This was no new idea, but drawn directly from the Old Testament ( 1 Chronicles 16:31;  Psalm 9:7-8;  97:1 ). What Jesus wanted the people to see was that the reign of God had been brought down from heaven to earth in the work that he was doing and in the gospel of salvation that he was preaching.

What was this kingdom that Jesus was proclaiming? Primarily, it was a spiritual realm or reality where God's will was being accomplished and people were invited to enter it. It was not restricted to one small nation or geographical place, but included everything. God exercised his sovereignty everywhere. But Jesus was proclaiming more than just the generalized providence of God. Jesus was preaching the kingdom as the realm where God's saving will was being done. In this sense the kingdom of God was nothing less than eternal salvation. To be in the kingdom was to be saved; to refuse entrance into the kingdom was to be lost.

Another important aspect of the kingdom as Jesus proclaimed it was that it is both a present and a future reality. In Jewish theology the kingdom was commonly understood to be arriving at the end of this sinful age. When this world ends, the kingdom of God will begin. For Jesus the kingdom is both present and future. We may enter into God's eternal salvation now and begin to experience its benefits at this present time, while still living in this fallen age. From now until the end of this age we will be in the world but not of it. But the kingdom is also future, in that, when this age ends only the kingdom will remain. So we look forward to that day when God will be all in all and pray "Your kingdom come."

Many things are said by Jesus about entering into the kingdom. The simplest way to say it was repent and believe the gospel ( Mark 1:14-15 ). In another instance Jesus said we must be converted and become like little children ( Matthew 18:3 ). To Nicodemus he says "you must be born again" ( John 3:3 ). Jesus likens this to entering through a narrow gate ( Matthew 7:13-14 ) and building a house upon a rock ( Matthew 7:24-27 ). It is of such immense value that we should be willing to sacrifice anything for it ( Matthew 18:8-9 ), hard as that might be, as it was for the rich young man ( Matthew 19:23-24 ). When Jesus' disciples asked how then anyone could be saved, his answer was, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" ( Matthew 19:26 ), which is the whole point. To enter the kingdom by our own effort is impossible; it takes the renewing power of God to make us new people and establish us in God's kingdom.

Salvation as New Life in God's Kingdom . When, by the renewing grace of God, one enters the kingdom, that person is converted, born again, made new, and a whole new life begins. The newness of life is not an option, but a fact. Being in the kingdom means being new. If there is no newness of life, regardless of what one says—even, "Lord, Lord" ( Matthew 7:21)—;that person is not truly known by God. Jesus likens this to a bush or a tree. Good trees produce good fruit, bad trees produce bad fruit ( Matthew 7:16-20 ).

Jesus' mission was that we might have life at its fullest ( John 10:10 ) and that is to be found in the kingdom. Life outside the kingdom is not really life at all. Throughout his teaching Jesus contrasted true life in the kingdom and false life on the outside. Those outside the kingdom imagine that the true purpose of life is to amass possessions, or gain status, or appear pious, or see the fruits of our human endeavors, or achieve some inner self-realization. None of these things embody the essence of true life. Life does not consist of the abundance of our possessions ( Luke 12:15-21 ) and we are not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth ( Matthew 6:19-20 ). Nor does life consist of our privileged position or status no matter how exalted that might be ( Matthew 21:43;  Luke 11:27-28 ). Even outward piety and religious correctness are of no value in defining what life is ( Matthew 6:16 ). As for human endeavor, what profit would there be if we gained the whole world and lost our soul in the process ( Mark 8:36-37 )? And the one who seeks to fulfill life by saving it, will in fact lose it ( Mark 8:35 ). All of the values that are operative in the world are to be left behind when one enters the kingdom. There is an entirely different set of values operating that in fact reverse the values of the world.

The new life that Jesus offers when we enter the kingdom is like an inexhaustible well of water within us that refreshes us in this life and springs up into life eternal ( John 4:13-14;  7:37-38 ). The most characteristic feature of the new being that we have become is love. We are to love God with all of our being as or highest priority ( Mark 12:30 ). The second requirement of living in the kingdom is to love our neighbor as well ( Mark 12:31 ). The transformed heart is able to do what humanly cannot be done. We are enabled to dethrone ourselves and our own ambitions and give God his proper place in our lives and see him reflected in those around us ( Matthew 25:44-45 ). A new set of positive spiritual qualities replaces the destructive, self-defeating characteristics of the old life. Jesus summarizes these in the Beatitudes as poverty of spirit, meekness, desire for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, the ability to bring peace, and the ability to love and forgive those who revile us ( Matthew 5:1-12 ). All of these spiritual qualities will express themselves in concrete action toward those around us, even our enemies, and in doing this we will be showing that we are true children of our heavenly Father, who also loves in this way ( Matthew 5:43-48 ).

Humanity and Sin . In Jesus' teaching there is no finely developed doctrine of the human person and of sin. He was too busy dealing with the practical consequences of humanity's weaknesses and sinfulness to spend much time speculating about it. He had compassion on the crowds, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd ( Mark 6:34 ). It is possible, however, to draw together what Jesus did say and get a rather clear picture of what he taught.

The most fundamental thing to be said about human beings is that they are created by God. When this is understood, everything else falls into its proper place. As creatures of God, we are not answerable to ourselves or to anyone else, but to God. We do not own ourselves, or define ourselves, or live for ourselves, but rather for God. By the same token, we cannot own someone else or define them either. We are all alike in our creaturely status, made in God's image and responsible for one another to God. Being made by God, we must find out what God intended us to be, if we are to fulfill our true destiny. It is only when we live up to what he intended that we find out who we really are. For Jesus, the finding of our true selves will take place only in the kingdom of God, which is our true home.

Jesus taught that all human beings are valuable ( Matthew 10:31;  12:11-12 ), we are not to be anxious about our lives and the necessities of life. We have a heavenly Father who knows our needs and has made provision for them ( Matthew 6:25-33 ). Even the hairs of our head are numbered ( Matthew 10:30 ). God does not discriminate, but sends his blessings, rain and sun, upon the just and the unjust alike ( Matthew 5:45 ). Because we are valued by God, we can value ourselves and others, and relax in the knowledge that God cares infinitely for us and has our best interest at heart.

That we are sinful was also taught by Jesus. He made no special point of emphasizing this. It was simply taken for granted ( Matthew 7:11 ). What is extraordinary about Jesus' attitude is that he did not see this as an ultimate barrier between us and God but as a platform from which to rise. Indeed, we must start with the frank recognition of our helplessness if we are to make any progress at all. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, " is how Jesus put it ( Luke 5:32 ). Jesus saw the tragic consequences of sin everywhere, rebuked the self-righteous who would not acknowledge their own sinfulness, and severely criticized those who caused other people to sin ( Luke 17:1-2 ). But Jesus looked beyond sin to the ultimate intention of God for us. Our sinfulness is not the essence of what we are but rather a distortion of that essence. Salvation in God's kingdom restores us to what God intended us to be.

Eschatology . Eschatology is the doctrine of the last things and deals with the ultimate fate of both the individual and the universe. Jesus had much to say on both aspects of this subject, but never as an attempt to satisfy mere curiosity. He always spoke in terms of the subject's profound significance and of the effect it should have on our life as we live it now. What awaits the individual is death, the intermediate state, the resurrection of the body, the last judgment, and the eternal state in heaven or hell. What awaits the universe, in particular the world in which we live, is the events leading up to the end of the age, the second coming of the Messiah, the millennial age, the renovation of this world order, and the final state of the cosmos. Personal and cosmic eschatology intersect at the point of the messiah's second coming when the resurrection of the just and the last judgment occur. There will be one generation of people, the very last, who experience both personal and cosmic eschatology at the same time. Many theologians, from the earliest days of the church until now, do not believe Jesus taught a millennial age for this earth, so they would telescope the return of Christ, the resurrection of the just and the unjust, the last judgment, the renovation of the universe, and entrance into the eternal state into one momentous event.

Individuals, whether redeemed or unredeemed, will live out their lives in this age and pass through death to the intermediate state, there to await the end of the age, either in blessedness or in self-chosen separation from God ( Luke 16:19-31 ). We will take with us into the afterlife what we are, either our redemption or our condemnation. Jesus speaks of no second chance after death or of any reincarnation to provide an opportunity for salvation in a second or third lifetime. Jesus speaks of the believer's death as in fact not being death at all, but a shift from a more limited interaction with God to a fulfillment of that, hence "whoever lives and believes in me will never die" ( John 11:25-26 ). To the thief on the cross he says, "Today you will be with me in paradise" ( Luke 23:43 ). The unbelievers, however, will die in their sins and cannot go where Jesus is (heaven) because they have refused the salvation of God ( John 3:18,36;  8:21-24 ).

This age continues on until it is brought to a close with the second coming of Christ. Jesus was asked by his disciples to explain all of this and much of what he said is found in the so-called Olivet Discourse ( Matthew 24-25 ). There he outlines the conditions that will prevail until this age ends and some of the events that must take place before that occurs, such as apostasy ( Matthew 24:10 ), false christs ( Matthew 24:11,24 ), increase of evil ( Matthew 24:12 ), wars and rumors of wars ( Matthew 24:8 ) and the worldwide proclamation of the gospel ( Matthew 24:14 ). The exact time of Jesus' second coming is unknown to us ( Matthew 24:42;  25:13 ); it will be sudden ( Mark 13:33-36 ) and unexpected ( Matthew 24:44 ), like a thief in the night ( Matthew 24:42-44 ).

When Jesus returns at the end of the age, it will be from heaven in great glory, accompanied by angels, to gather his saints together for the new age that is arriving ( Matthew 24:29-31 ). It is at this point that the resurrection takes place ( Mark 12:26-27;  Luke 20:37-38;  John 5:21-29;  6:39-40 ). Some theologians make this a general resurrection, in which both the saved and the lost are raised. At this point also the last judgment takes place that Jesus frequently spoke of in general terms to emphasize the contrast between the saved and the lost, such as the parables of the net ( Matthew 13:47-50 ), the sheep and the goats ( Matthew 25:31-46 ), and the wheat and the weeds ( Matthew 13:24-43 ). The judgment will be based upon the use of our opportunities on earth ( Matthew 11:20-24;  16:27;  Luke 12:42-48 ).

After the millennial reign on earth ( Matthew 5:5;  19:27-28;  25:34;  Luke 22:29-30 ), the redeemed inherit eternal life in heaven ( Matthew 6:19-21;  Luke 10:20 ). Jesus calls this his father's house ( John 14:2 ) and the place where he is ( John 12:26;  14:4;  17:24 ). Those who have rejected the salvation that God offered to them will enter into a place of condemnation ( John 5:29 ), anguish ( Matthew 25:29-30 ), and destruction ( Matthew 7:13 ). Jesus likens it to a burning furnace ( Matthew 13:42 ) of eternal fire ( Matthew 25:41 ), and calls it hell, where both body and soul are destroyed ( Matthew 10:28 ).

The heavens and earth all pass away in accordance with Jesus' word ( Matthew 5:18;  24:35 ) and the final state begins. The Gospels do not record exactly what Jesus said about the new heavens and the new earth that is to come but no doubt his two apostles, Peter ( 2 Peter 3:10-13 ) and John ( Revelation 21:1-22:6 ), reflect this when they speak of the glories to come.

Jesus' Understanding of Himself . The Jesus who is presented to us by the four Gospels is a figure who defies purely human characterization. The only conclusion the rest of the New Testament can draw with respect to him is that he was in fact Immanuel, God with us ( Matthew 1:23;  John 1:1,18;  20:28;  Romans 9:5;  Colossians 1:19;  Titus 2:13;  Revelation 19:16 ). Jesus was a human being, fully human in every way, but was vastly more than that, and that "moreness" could only be understood as essential deity. Jesus was nothing less than an incarnation of the eternal God himself. But the question arises, What did Jesus claim about this? Did he see himself as in some way an incarnation of God? If the Gospels are taken at face value, the answer must be yes. Modern critical scholarship denies this by asserting that the early church, convinced by its "Easter faith" that Jesus was something exceptional, altered his historical utterances and made up yet others reflecting this and then read them back into the life of this historical Jesus, a Jesus who never made such claims. This theory is based on the presupposition that Jesus could not be more than human and that God could not have become incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. If, however, one does not categorically reject that possibility, then Jesus' claims, the teaching of the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament paint a consistent picture that challenges the confronted person to the utmost. Is Jesus or is Jesus not the ultimate revelation and embodiment of the eternal God? The challenge was no different two thousand years ago than it is today.

The evidence for the uniqueness of Jesus as presented in the Gospels falls into two categories: those things that Jesus did not say and do and those things that he did in fact say and do. Both sets point to Jesus as unique among us.

What Jesus did not say and do . Simply put, Jesus never put himself in the same category as other human beings. What he was with respect to God was something he was alone; he never invited anyone to share his relationship with God. Consequently, Jesus never said to his disciples, Let us worship God together; Let us put our faith in God; Let us pray together; Let us trust or hope in God. Jesus never asked forgiveness from God, nor showed any awareness of sin in his life. He never called God his savior, as though he needed saving. Jesus never even called God Father or God and included his followers. It is always "your heavenly Father; your God" and "my Father; my God." He never used an expression that includes them, such as our Father, our God, our faith, our trust. The one time he did use an expression like that was to accentuate the difference that existed between him and his followers. When asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, he said to them, "This is how you should pray, our Father " ( Matthew 6:9-13 ), but he himself never prayed that with them. When he did pray, it was as one wholly apart, as at the transfiguration ( Luke 9:28-36 ). Jesus knew that he was not simply one of us and never invited us to become what he was, nor did he put himself in the same category that he put us.

What Jesus claimed for himself . When asked about his origin, Jesus said "I am from above I am not of this world I came from God and now am here You are from below You are of this world" ( John 8:21-23,42 ); "I have come down from heaven I am the bread that came down from heaven" ( John 6:32-42 ). He who has come down from heaven is the only one who has ever known God ( John 6:46 ) and those who have seen him, have seen the Father ( John 14:8-11 ) because he and the Father are one ( John 10:30-33 ). At another point Jesus startles his hearers by claiming to be the "I Am" who antedated Abraham and spoke to Moses in the desert ( John 8:54-59 ). The Gospel of John also provides a series of supernatural claims by Jesus based on the "I Am" formula—I am the bread of life (6:35), the light of the world (8:12), the gate for the sheep (10:7), the good shepherd (10:11), the resurrection and the life (11:25), the true vine (15:1), and the way, the truth, and the life (14:6). All of these claims are deeply rooted in God's revelation of himself in the Old Testament and are claims by Jesus to represent deity.

In other instances Jesus exercised God's authority in forgiving sins ( Mark 2:1-12;  Luke 7:44-49 ) and accepted honors that are due to God alone, such as prayer, praise, and worship ( Matthew 14:33;  15:25;  21:15-16;  28:9,17 ).

The Scriptures were understood by Jesus and the Jews of his day to be the Word of God. Jesus claimed that the Scriptures spoke directly about him ( John 5:39 ) and he was the fulfillment of its prophecies (

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

(See Jesus .) ("Jehovah salvation"); for "He Himself ( Autos , Not Merely Like Joshua He Is God'S Instrument To Save) saves His people from their sins" ( Matthew 1:21). Cηrιsτ , Greek; Μεssιαη , Hebrew, "anointed" ( 1 Samuel 2:10;  Psalms 2:2;  Psalms 2:6 margin;  Daniel 9:25-26). Prophets, priests, and kings ( Exodus 30:30;  1 Kings 19:15-16) were anointed, being types of Him who combines all three in Himself ( Deuteronomy 18:18;  Zechariah 6:13). "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are being sanctified" ( Hebrews 10:5;  Hebrews 10:7;  Hebrews 10:14;  Hebrews 7:25). "Christ," or the Messiah, was looked for by all Jews as "He who should come" ( Matthew 11:3) according to the Old Testament prophets. Immanuel "God with us" declares His Godhead; also  John 1:1-18. (See Immanuel .) The New Testament shows that Jesus is the Christ ( Matthew 22:42-45).

"Jesus" is His personal name, "Christ" is His title. Appropriately, in undesigned confirmation of the Gospels, Acts, and epistles, the question throughout the Gospels is, whether Jesus is "The" (the article is always in the Greek) Christ ( Matthew 16:16;  John 6:69), so in the first ministry of the word in Acts ( Acts 2:36;  Acts 9:22;  Acts 10:38;  Acts 17:3). When His Messiahship became recognized "Christ" was used as His personal designation; so in the epistles.

"Christ" implies His consecration and qualification for the work He undertook, namely, by His unction with the Holy Spirit, of which the Old Testament oil anointings were the type; in the womb ( Luke 1:35), and especially at His baptism, when the Holy Spirit (as a dove) abode on Him ( Matthew 3:16;  John 1:32-33). Transl.  Psalms 45:7; "O God (the Son), Thy God (the Father) hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." Full of this unction without measure ( John 3:34) He preached at Nazareth as the Fulfiller of the scripture He read ( Isaiah 61:1-3), giving "the oil of joy for mourning," "good tidings unto the meek" ( Luke 4:17-21). Jesus' claim to be Messiah or "the Christ of God" ( Luke 9:20), i.e. the anointed of the Father to be king of the earth ( Psalms 2:6-12;  Revelation 11:15;  Revelation 12:10), rests:

(1) On His fulfilling all the prophecies concerning Messiah, so far as His work has been completed, the earnest of the full completion; take as instances Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Micah 5;  Hosea 6:2-3;  Genesis 49:10, compare Luke 2; "the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy" ( Revelation 19:10;  Luke 24:26;  Luke 24:44-46;  Acts 3:22-25).

(2) On His miracles ( John 7:31;  John 5:36;  John 10:25;  John 10:38). Miracles alleged in opposition, or addition, to Scripture cannot prove a divine mission ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9;  Deuteronomy 13:1-3;  Matthew 24:24), but when confirmed by Scripture they prove it indisputably.

"Son of David" expresses His title to David's throne over Israel and Judah yet to be ( Luke 1:32-33). "King of Israel" ( John 1:49), "King of the Jews" ( Matthew 2:2;  Matthew 21:5), "King of Zion." As son of David He is David's "offspring"; as "root of David" (in His divine nature) He is David's "lord" ( Revelation 22:16, compare  Matthew 22:42-45). His claim to the kingship was the charge against Him before Pilate ( John 18:37;  John 19:3;  John 19:12). The elect of God ( Luke 23:35, compare  Isaiah 42:1). The inspired summary of His life is, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him" ( Acts 10:38). To be "in Christ," which occurs upward of 70 times in Paul's epistles, is not merely to copy but to be in living union with Him ( 1 Corinthians 15:18;  2 Corinthians 12:2), drawn from Christ's own image ( John 15:1-10). In Christ God is manifested as He is, and man as he ought to be. Our fallen race lost the knowledge of man as utterly as they lost the knowledge of God.

Humanity in Christ is generic ( 1 Corinthians 15:45;  1 Corinthians 15:47), as the second "man" or "last Adam," "the Son of man" (A Title Used In New Testament Only By Himself Of Himself, Except In Stephen'S Dying Speech,  Acts 7:56 ; From  Daniel 7:13 ; Marking At Once His Humiliation As Man'S Representative Head, And His Consequent Glorification In The Same Nature:  Matthew 20:28 ;  Matthew 26:64 .) Sinless Himself, yet merciful to sinners; meek under provocation, yet with refined sensibility; dignified, yet without arrogance; pure Himself, yet with a deep insight into evil; Christ is a character of human and divine loveliness such as man could never have invented; for no man has ever conceived, much less attained, such a standard; see His portraiture,  Matthew 12:15-20. Even His own brethren could not understand His withdrawal into Galilee, as, regarding Him like other men, they took it for granted that publicity was His aim ( John 7:3-4; contrast  John 5:44). Jesus was always more accessible than His disciples, they all rebuked the parents who brought their infants for Him to bless ( Luke 18:15-17), they all would have sent the woman of Canaan away.

But He never misunderstood nor discouraged any sincere seeker, contrast  Matthew 20:31 with  Matthew 20:32-24. Earthly princes look greatest at a distance, surrounded with pomp; but He needed no earthly state, for the more closely He is viewed the more He stands forth in peerless majesty, sinless and divine. (On His Miracles, See Miracles And On His Parables, See Parables.) He rested His teaching on His own authority, and the claim was felt by all, through some mysterious power, to be no undue one ( Matthew 7:29). He appeals to Scripture as His own: "Behold I send unto you prophets," etc. ( Matthew 23:34; in  Luke 11:49, "the Wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets".) His secret spring of unstained holiness, yet tender sympathy, was His constant communion with God; at all times, so that He was never alone ( John 16:32), "rising up a great while before day, in a solitary place" ( Mark 1:35).

Luke tells us much of His prayers: "He continued all night in prayer to God," before ordaining the twelve ( Luke 6:12); it was as He was "praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended, and (the Father's) voice came from heaven, Thou art My beloved Son," etc. ( Luke 3:22); it was "as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering" ( Luke 9:29); when the angel strengthened Him in Gethsemane, "in an agony He prayed more earnestly," using the additional strength received not to refresh Himself after His exhausting conflict, but to strive in supplication, His example confirming His precept,  Luke 13:24 ( Luke 22:44;  Hebrews 5:7). His Father's glory, not His own, was His absorbing aim ( John 8:29;  John 8:50;  John 7:18); from His childhood when at 12 years old (for it was only in His 12th year that Archelaus was banished and His parents ventured to bring Him to the Passover: Josephus, Ant. 17:15) His first recorded utterance was, cf6 "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" or else "in My Father's places" ( Luke 2:49;  Psalms 40:6;  Psalms 40:8).

Little is recorded of His childhood, but as much as the Spirit saw it safe for us to know; so prone is man to lose sight of Christ's main work, to fulfill the law and pay its penalty in our stead. The reticence of Scripture as remarkably shows God's inspiration of it as its records and revelations. Had the writers been left to themselves, they would have tried to gratify our natural curiosity about His early years. But a veil is drawn over all the rest of His sayings for the first 30 years. "He waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom ... He increased in wisdom" ( Luke 2:40;  Luke 2:52), which proves that He had a" reasonable soul" capable of development, as distinct from His Godhead; Athanasian Creed: "perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting." His tender considerateness for His disciples after their missionary journey, and His compassion for the fainting multitudes, outweighing all thought; of His own repose when He was weary, and when others would have been impatient of their retirement being intruded on ( Mark 6:30-37), are lovely examples of His human, and at the same time superhuman, sympathy ( Hebrews 4:15). Then how utterly void was He of resentment for wrongs.

When apprehended, instead of sharing the disciples' indignation He rebuked it; instead of rejoicing in His enemy's suffering, He removed it ( Luke 22:50-51); instead of condemning His murderers He prayed for them: cf6 "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" ( Luke 23:34). What exquisite tact and tenderness appear in His dealing with the woman of Samaria (John 4), as He draws the spiritual lesson from the natural drink which He had craved of her, and leads her on to convict herself of sin, in the absence of His disciples, and to recognize Him as the Messiah. So in the account of the woman caught in adultery. When "every man went unto his own house" He who had not where to lay His head "went to the mount of Olives," His wonted resort for prayer; "early in the morning He came again into the temple." Then followed the scribes' accusation of the woman from the law, but He who wrote on stone that law of commandments now writes with His finger on the ground (the law of mercy), showing the power of silence to shame the petulant into self recollection, the censorious into self condemnation. His silent gesture spoke expressively.

Then His single speech, cf6 "he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" ( John 8:7). followed by the same silent gesture, made them feel the power of conscience and withdraw. Then she stays, though her accusers were gone, awaiting His sentence and is made to feel the power of His holiness, condemning her sin yet not herself, cf6 "Go and sin no more."  John 8:11. The same spirit appears here as in His atonement, which makes sin unspeakably evil, yet brings the sinner into loving union with God in Christ. Other systems, which reject the atonement, either make light of sin or else fill the sinner with slavish and unconquerable dread of wrath. Stoning was the penalty of unfaithfulness in one betrothed. If Jesus decided she should be stoned, He would be opposing Rome which claimed power of deciding all capital cases ( John 18:31). If Jesus decided to let her off, He would forfeit the favor of the Jews, as a setter aside of Moses' law. His reply maintained the law, but limited its execution to those free from sexual uncleanness, which none of her accusers were. The lesson is not for magistrates, but for self constituted judges and busybodies, whose dragging of filthy stories against others into the social circle is only defiling.

They were not witnesses in court; there was no judicial trial. The context (  John 8:12 , Cf6 "I Am The Light Of The World", Referring To The Rising Sun And The Lighted Lamps At The Feast Of Tabernacles,  John 7:37 ; And  John 8:15 , Cf6 "Ye Judge After The Flesh, I Judge No Man".) confirms the genuineness of the passage, which is omitted from good manuscripts. His birth was in the year 750 from Rome's foundation, four before the era " Αnno Domini ", some months before Herod's death. The first Adam was created, and not born; the Second Adam, in His manhood, both born and created with a body free from the inherited taint of original sin ( Hebrews 10:5). The census of the Roman empire ordered by Augustus led Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David their ancestor, in fulfillment of Micah's prophecy (Micah 5). Spring was probably the season for the shepherds beginning to watch over their flocks by night. The season when winter deadness gives place to new vegetation and life was the appropriate birth time of Him who "maketh all things new." So  Song of Solomon 2:10-13. Spring was the Passover season, Israel's national birthday. So that the spiritual, national, and natural eras, in this view, coincide.

To allow time between the presentation in the temple and the arrival of the wise men and the other events before Herod's death, perhaps February may be fixed on. The grotto at Bethlehem is mentioned by Justin Martyr in the second century as the scene of His birth. The humble ( 1 Corinthians 1:26-31) Jewish shepherds were the earliest witnesses of the glory which attended His birth. For in every successive instance of His voluntary humiliation, the Father, jealous for the honour of His co-equal on, provided for His glorification ( Luke 2:8-18; so  Luke 22:43;  Luke 23:4;  Luke 23:40-43;  Luke 23:47;  Matthew 3:14-17;  John 12:28). Simeon and Anna were the divinely appointed welcomers of the Son of God at His lowly presentation in the temple, the former discerning in Him" God's salvation," the "light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory (especially) of His people Israel"; the latter "speaking of Him to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem."

The Gentile wise men of the East (Persian Magi Possibly, The Zend Religion Teaching The Expectation Of A "Ζoziosh" Or "Redeemer"; Or Magoi Being Used Generally, These Wise Men Coming From Balaam'S Region, The East, And Knowing His Prophecy, "There Shall Come A Star Out Of Jacob, And A Sceptre Shall Rise Out Of Israel":  Numbers 24:17 ;  Numbers 23:7 , Whence They Ask For The "King Of The Jews" And Mention The "Star") came later, and found Him no longer in a manger where the shepherds found Him, but in a "house" ( Matthew 2:11). They were the firstfruits of the Gentile world; their offering of gold is thought to mark His kingship, the frankincense His priesthood, and the myrrh His coming burial, in God's purpose if not theirs. Herod, being an Edomite who had supplanted the Jewish Asmonaeans or Maccabees, was alarmed to hear of one "born king of the Jews," and failing to find Jesus slew all children from two years old and under (Herod fixed on this age as oriental mothers suckle infants until they are two years old). (See Herod .) God saved His Son by commanding the mother and Joseph to flee to Egypt, the land of the type Israel's sojourn, when fleeing from famine, and the land from whence God called His Son Israel ( Hosea 11:1;  Matthew 2:15); not by miracle, but by ordinary escaping from persecution, as sharing His people's trials ( Matthew 10:23).

His interview with the doctors in the temple shows that His human consciousness already knew His divine mission and was preparing for it. Stier describes His one utterance in childhood as "a solitary floweret out of the wonderful enclosed garden of 30 years, plucked precisely there where the swollen bud at the distinctive crisis bursts into the flower." The description "He increased ... in stature ... and in favor with God and men," ( Luke 2:52) combined with  Psalms 45:2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into Thy lips," implies that His outward form was a temple worthy of the Word made flesh.  Isaiah 53:2 expresses men's rejection of Him, rather than the absence of graces inward or outward in Him to cause that rejection. In the 15th year of the emperor Tiberius, dating from his joint rule with Augustus (15 years from 765 after the founding of Rome, i.e. two years before Augustus' death in 767), i.e. 780 (30 counted back bring our Lord's birth to 750), when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea and Annas and Caiaphas jointly in fact exercised the high priesthood, Caiaphas being nominally the high priest ( John 18:13), John Baptist, as last prophet of the Old Testament dispensation, by preaching repentance for sin and a return to legal obedience, prepared the way for Messiah, the Saviour from sin; whereas the people's desire was for a Messiah who would deliver them from the hated foreign, yoke. (See Annas ; CAIAPHAS.)

Wieseler thinks John's preaching took place on the sabbatical year, which, if it be so, must have added weight to his appeals. We know at all events that he came "in the spirit and power of Elias." Jesus received His solemn consecration to His redeeming work by John's baptism with water (to which He came not, as all others, confessing sin, but undertaking to "fulfill all righteousness") and at the same time by the Holy Spirit's descent permanently, accompanied by the Father's acceptance of Him as our Redeemer, "this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," namely, as undertaking to become man's Saviour. Thus "Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest, but He that said Thou art My Son" ( Psalms 2:7;  Hebrews 5:5;  Matthew 3:14). John, though knowing His goodness and wisdom before, as he must have known from the intimacy between the cousin mothers, Mary and Elisabeth (Luke 1), and knowing that Messiah should come, and when Jesus presented Himself feeling a strong presentiment that this was the Messiah, yet knew not definitely Jesus' Messiahship, until its attestation by God the Father with the Holy Spirit at His baptism ( John 1:31-33).

Under the power of the Spirit received at His baptism He encountered Satan in the wilderness. The mountain of Quarantania, a perpendicular wall of rock 1,400 feet above the plain, on this side of Jordan, is the traditional site. Satan's aim was to tempt Him to doubt His sonship, "if Thou be the Son of God," etc. The same voice spoke through His mockers at the crucifixion ( Matthew 27:40). Faith answers with Nathanael ( John 1:49).  Mark 1:13 says "He was with the wild beasts," a contrast to the first Adam among the beasts tame and subject to man's will. Adam changed paradise into a wilderness, Jesus changed the wilderness into paradise ( Isaiah 11:6-9). Jesus' answer to all the three temptations was not reasoning, but appeal to God's written word, "it is written." As Christ was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" ( Hebrews 7:26), the temptation must have been from without, not from within: objective and real, not subjective or in ecstasy. The language too, "led up ... came ... taketh Him up ... the Spirit driveth Him" ( Ekballei , a necessary though a distasteful conflict to the Holy One), etc., implies reality ( Matthew 4:1;  Matthew 4:3;  Matthew 4:5;  Mark 1:12).

In fallen man suggestions of hatred of God, delight in inflicting pain, cruel lust, fierce joy in violating law, are among the inward temptations of Satan; but Jesus said before His renewed temptation in Gethsemane, cf6 "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me" ( John 14:30). As 40 is the number in Scripture implying affliction, sin, and punishment ( Genesis 7:4;  Genesis 7:12;  Numbers 14:33;  Numbers 32:13-14  Psalms 95:10;  Deuteronomy 25:3;  Ezekiel 29:11;  Ezekiel 4:6;  Jonah 3:4), Christ the true Israel ( Deuteronomy 8:3;  Deuteronomy 8:16;  Deuteronomy 9:9;  Deuteronomy 9:11-25) denied Himself 40 days, answering to Israel's 40 years' provocation of God and punishment by death in the wilderness. Not by His almighty power, but by His righteousness, Jesus overcame. First Satan tried Him through His sinless bodily wants answering to "the flesh" in fallen man. But Jesus would not, when hungry, help Himself, though He fed multitudes, for He would not leave His voluntarily assumed position of human absolute dependence on God. He who nourished crowds with bread Would not one meal unto Himself afford O wonderful the wonders left undone, And scarce less wonderful than those He wrought!

O self restraint passing all human thought, To have all power and be as having none! O self denying love, which felt alone For needs of others, never for His own! The next temptation in the spiritual order (Matthew gives probably the chronological order) was, Satan tried to dazzle Him, by a bright vision of the world's pomps "in a moment of time," to take the kingdoms of the world at his hands (as "delivered" to him, owing to man's fall) without the cross, on condition of one act of homage to him "the prince of this world." But Jesus herein detected the adversary, and gives him his name, cf6 "Get thee behind Me, Satan" (His very words to Peter, who, as Satan's tool, for the moment urged the same avoidance of the cross:  Matthew 16:23), for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord," ( Luke 4:8) etc. The kingdom of the world shall come to Him, just because His cross came first ( Philippians 2:5-11;  Revelation 11:15;  Isaiah 53:12). To the flesh and the world succeeds the last and highest temptation, the devil's own sin, presumption. Satan turns Jesus' weapon, the word, on Himself, quoting  Psalms 91:11-12, and omitting the qualification "in all thy ways," namely, implicit reverent faith and dependence on God, which were "Christ's ways."

Christ would no more presume because He was God's Son than doubt that He was so. To cast Himself from the temple S.W. wall pinnacle, then 180 feet above the valley before soil accumulated, or the topmost ridge of the royal portico, to test God's power and faithfulness, would be Israel's sin in "tempting Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us or not?" though having had ample proofs already ( Exodus 17:7;  Psalms 78:18-20;  Psalms 78:41;  Deuteronomy 6:16, which Jesus quotes). All His quotations are from the same book, which rationalism now assails. Thus the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which lured the first Adam, could not entice the Second ( Genesis 3:6; compare  1 John 2:16-17). The assault against man's threefold nature, the body (the lack of bread), the soul (craving for worldly lordship without the cross), and the spirit (the temptation on the temple pinnacle), failed in His case. It was necessary the foundation should be tested, and it stood the trial ( Isaiah 28:16). Satan left Him "for a (rather until the) season," namely, until he renewed the attack at Gethsemane, "and angels came and ministered unto Him," God fulfilling the promise of Psalm 91: in Christ's, not Satan's, way.

Then began His public course of teaching and of miracles, which were not mere wonders, but "signs," i.e. proofs, of His divine commission; and not merely signs of supernatural power, but expressive intimations of the aim of His ministry and of His own all loving character; the spiritual restoration, which was His main end, being shadowed forth in the visible works of power and mercy. The Jews understood them and His words as His setting up the claim to be equal with God ( John 5:1-19;  John 10:30-33). It is certain that He made the claim ( John 14:8-11). Such a Holy One as He would never have made it if it were not true. His whole character excludes the notion of self-deceiving enthusiasm. They evaded the force of His miracles (while recognizing their truth, which they would have denied if they could) by attributing them to Beelzebub ( Matthew 12:24).

His incarnation being once granted, His divine sympathy, expressed by miracles of healing man's sufferings, follows as the necessary consequence ( Matthew 8:17, compare  Isaiah 53:4). His death in our nature to atone for our sins, and His resurrection, are the culminating point of His suffering with us and for us, that He and we through Him should be free from sin, sorrow, and death forever ( 1 Peter 3:18;  1 Peter 4:1-2;  Romans 6:4-11). John's testimony to Him, "Behold the Lamb of God," followed but a few days after the temptation, Jesus meeting John at the Jordan valley on His homeward journey toward Galilee. John's words so impressed his two disciples Andrew and probably John (the apostle) that they left the Baptist for Christ. On the third day after leaving Bethany ( John 1:28, the Sinaiticus, Vulgate and Alexandrinus manuscripts;  John 2:1) He reached Cana of Galilee and performed His first miracle. He who would not work a miracle in the wilderness at the outset of His ministry, to supply His own needs, worked one to supply our luxuries. As His ministry began, so it ended. with a social meal.

The poet happily describes the miracle, "the modest water saw its God and blushed" (" Vidit Et Erubuit Lympha Pudica Deum ".) Next, He goes to Capernaum, a more suitable center for His ministry amidst the populous western shores of the Galilean lake than secluded Nazareth. Next, He went to Jerusalem for His first Passover during His ministry, and drives out of the temple court of the Gentiles the sheep and oxen, and overthrows the money changers' tables (For The Traffic Was An Insult To The Gentile Worshipper, And Was Not Practiced In The Court Of The Israelites, And Made Devotion Impossible) , not by mere force but moral power. The whip of small cords was a puny weapon, but symbolized His coming universal empire. The act repeated at the close ( Matthew 21:12) of His ministry, as at its beginning, befitted Him who came as purifier of the temple literal and spiritual ( Malachi 3:1-4).

His own divinely formed body (the Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, of God; Naos ) was typified by that literal ( Hieron ) temple ( John 2:18-20); its being destroyed by the Jews, and raised up by Himself in three days, was the sign He gave to those who challenged His authority in purging the temple of stone. John describes His officially taking possession of that temple which when a boy He called His Father's house ( Luke 2:49, "in My Father's places," Greek), with a punitive scourge, the symbol of authority. The synoptical three evangelists describe the final purgation before the close of His ministry, without the scourge. A mere word and awe inspiring look made all, as in Gethsemane, fall back abashed before Him alone. The interview with Nicodemus issuing in his ultimate conversion occurred toward the close of the paschal week (John 3). (See Nicodemus .) Then He passed to northeastern Judea, where by His disciples He baptized many ( John 3:22-26;  John 4:1-2) and stayed to nearly the end of the year. After His eight months' ministry in Judea, upon John's imprisonment which threatened danger to His infant church, He proceeded through Samaria, the shortest route, to the safe retreat of Galilee.

At Jacob's well the chief reason for His "must needs go through Samaria" appeared in the conversion of the Samaritan woman, His first herald in Sychem, the firstfruits of the harvest gathered in by Philip the deacon after His ascension ( Acts 8:5 ff). It was now December, four months before harvest ( John 4:35); but the fields were "white already to harvest" spiritually. His two days' ministry in Samaria, without miracles, produced effects not realized by His eight months' stay in Judea with miracles. Proceeding to "His own country" Galilee (the place of His rearing) He was received by the Galileans only because they had seen His miracles when at the feast in Jerusalem; as mournfully at Cana, the scene of His first miracle, which He now revisits, He tells the nobleman who sought healing for his son, cf6 "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe". ( John 4:48)

The care was followed by the conversion of the nobleman and his whole house. Jesus returned to Jerusalem at "the feast" of Passover ( John 5:1; the Sinaiticus manuscript reads "the"; the Alexandrinus and Vaticanus manuscripts omit it, which would favor the view that the feast was Purim); thus there would be four Passovers during His ministry:  John 2:13;  John 5:1;  John 13:1 (the last), besides the one He stayed away from because of threatened violence ( John 6:4;  John 7:1); and thus His ministry lasted three and a half years; not two and a half, as making the feast to be Purim would imply. The cure of the man infirm for 38 years at Bethesda pool followed on the sabbath, proving that He who had shown Himself Lord of the temple is Lord also of the sabbath. (See Bethesda .) This was the turning point in His history; henceforth "the Jews" (i.e. the hierarchical party, adherents of the sanhedrim, in John's usage), on His claiming unity in working, dignity, and honour with the Father as justifying His healing on the sabbath, commenced that rancorous opposition which drove Him in a day or two after from Jerusalem.

He only visited the capital twice again before His last Passover; namely, seven months afterward at the feast of tabernacles in the middle of October ( John 7:1, etc.), and at the feast of dedication in December ( John 10:22-23); probably the two months between these two feasts were spent in Judea. He returned to Nazareth in Galilee, His old home.  Luke 4:15 refers summarily to the same visit to Galilee as  John 4:3-43. A chasm then intervenes in Luke between  Luke 4:15 and  Luke 4:16;  Luke 4:14 refers to the earlier visit while He was fresh from the "Spirit's" baptism,  John 1:43, etc., 2; and  Luke 4:16, etc., refers to the visit to Galilee implied in  John 6:1, succeeding the visit to Jerusalem ( John 5:1-10). By the next sabbath He was in Nazareth, and preached from  Isaiah 61:1. Though at first wondering at His gracious words, His hearers were so offended at His announcing God's sovereignty in ministering mercy to the Gentiles, sometimes, rather than to Israel when apostate, that they sought to cast Him down from the brow of the hill (a precipice of the western hill, that by the Maronite church) whereon their city was built; but "He passed through the midst of them." ( Luke 4:30)

His main Galilean ministry begins with this, as recorded in the Synoptical Gospels:  Matthew 4:12;  Matthew 4:17,  Mark 1:14-15; after John's imprisonment, which had not taken place at the earlier visit ( John 3:24;  John 1:45; John 2;  John 4:1-3, etc.). (See Gospels .) His Judaean ministry is John's main subject. However, Luke from  Luke 9:51 to  Luke 19:28 records Christ's ministry between the feast of tabernacles in October, A.U.C. 782, and the triumphal entry before the last Passover, April, 783. Eusebius (H.E. iii. 24.) states that the three synoptical evangelists recount" what was done by our Saviour in the space of one year after the imprisonment of John the Baptist." This period is divided into two by the feeding of the 5,000 about the time of that Passover which our Lord was debarred from keeping at Jerusalem by the murderous designs of the hierarchical party there. The events up to and including the feeding, a period of little more than three weeks, are fully detailed; those of the remaining period are only in part narrated. Luke's order of events seems from his own statement (  Luke 1:3 , "From The Very First," Namely, The Baptist'S Birth, "To Write In Order") to be the chronological one; in the first portion (Namely, That Before The Feeding) it, is confirmed by Mark, also by John.

Matthew's grouping of the discourses and events in clusters is designed for other than chronological sequence: the Sermon on the Mount, the instructions to the twelve before their mission, the collection of parables (Matthew 13), that of miracles (Matthew 8 and Matthew 9): he notices place, where the order of time is not observed, showing it was not ignorance of the order of time which caused his non-observance of it ( Matthew 8:5;  Matthew 8:14;  Matthew 8:18;  Matthew 8:28;  Matthew 9:1;  Matthew 12:9;  Matthew 13:1). In fulfillment of  Isaiah 9:1 He, after His rejection at Nazareth ( Matthew 4:13-17), settled at Capernaum hard by the populous plain of Gennesar, a "people that sat in darkness," being half gentilized by the neighbouring nations. (See Capernaum .) The people remembering His miracle on the nobleman's son a few weeks before ( John 4:46) "pressed upon Him to hear God's word" ( Luke 5:1); then the miraculous draught of fish was the occasion of His drawing Simon, (Andrew), James and John permanently from earthly fishing to become cf6 "fishers of men" ( Luke 5:1-10;  Matthew 4:18-22;  Mark 1:14-20).

Zebedee being a man of means, and with ship and "hired servants" ( Luke 5:7;  Mark 1:20; John's acquaintance with the high priest,  John 18:15, implies the same), the report of the miracle and its effect on the four attracted many to hear Jesus Christ next sabbath in the synagogue. Then followed the casting out of the demon (Whose Wild Cry Is Recorded In  Mark 1:24 , Ea) , and the cure of the fever of Simon's wife's mother ( Luke 4:33-39), transposed in Luke to bring into better contrast by juxtaposition Christ's rejection the sabbath before at Nazareth and His welcome this sabbath at Capernaum. Mark chronologically places the two cures after the miraculous draught, not before. Fevers are generated at the marshy land of Tabiga, especially in spring, the season in question. Luke as a "physician" calls it "a great fever," in contradistinction to "a small." Jesus "rebuked" it, as He did the sea ( Matthew 8:26), as the outbreak of some hostile power (compare  Isaiah 13:16), and infused in her full strength, enabling her to minister. In the casting out demons three things are noteworthy:

(1) the patient's loss of conscious personality ( Mark 5:7), so that he becomes identified with the demon whose mouthpiece he is;

(2) the appalled demon's recognition of the Son of God;

(3) Christ's prohibiting the demon to testify to Him, that the people's, belief might not rest on such testimony, giving color to the Jews' slander ( Matthew 12:24;  Mark 1:34).

His ceaseless energy in crowding the day with loving deeds vividly appears in  Mark 1:32-34;  Luke 4:40-41. Retiring for communion with God into a solitary place long before day, He was tracked by Simon and the people; but He told them He must go and preach to the other "village towns" ( Koinopoleis ) also, with which the Gennesareth plain was studded. His circuit lasted until the eve of the next sabbath, when ( Mark 2:1) He was again in Capernaum. The only incident recorded of the circuit was He healed the leper in the synagogue by His holy touch.

Emissaries of the hostile hierarchy from Jerusalem ( Luke 5:17) now watched His movements: at first "reasoning in their hearts," which His omniscience detected, as if His assuming the power, to forgive sins in the case of the palsied man were "blasphemy" ( Mark 2:6;  Mark 2:8); then "murmuring" at His eating with the publican Levi whom He called that day before the sabbath ( Mark 2:14-17;  Luke 5:30); then objecting to His not fasting, from whence He was called "a winebibber and glutton," to which He replied by images from the wine before them and the garments they wore, the spirit of the new dispensation must mould its own forms of outward expression and not have those of the old imposed on it, nor can the two be pieced together without injury to both; lastly "filled with madness" at His healing on the sabbath a man with withered right hand, besides His previous justification of the disciples against their censure for plucking grain ears on the sabbath, "the first of a year standing second in a sabbatical cycle" (Ellicott, Life of Christ;  Luke 6:1, the Alexandrinus manuscript, but the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus manuscripts omit it), and proclaiming Himself its Lord. They resolve to "destroy" Him ( Mark 2:23-28;  Mark 3:1-6;  Matthew 12:1-14).

This resolve at Capernaum was the same as they had already formed at Jerusalem ( John 5:1-18), and on the same plea. Nay, they even joined the Herodians their political opponents to compass their end ( Mark 3:6). Seven miracles He performed on the sabbath ( Mark 1:21-29;  Mark 3:1-2;  John 5:9;  John 9:14;  Luke 13:14;  Luke 14:1). Their murderous plotting was the time and occasion of His withdrawal to the solitary hills W. of the lake, and choosing 12 apostles who should be His witnesses when He was gone. The horned hill of Hattin was probably the scene of their being chosen ( Luke 6:12-13), and of the Sermon on the Mount. The beginning and end of this sermon are the same in Luke 6 as Matthew 5-7; the general order is the same; and the same miracle, the centurion's servant, succeeds. Some of the expressions are found in other collocations in Luke (who gives only the summary in Luke 6), our Lord giving the same precepts on more occasions than one (compare  Matthew 5:18;  Matthew 6:19-21;  Matthew 6:24;  Matthew 7:13;  Matthew 7:22, respectively, with  Luke 12:58;  Luke 12:33;  Luke 16:13;  Luke 13:24-25;  Luke 13:27).

The sermon's unity precludes its being thought a collection of discourses uttered at different times. Possibly, though not so probably, the longer form was spoken at the top of the hill ( Matthew 5:1) to the apostles and disciples, the shorter when "He came down and stood on the level" a little below the top ( Luke 6:17), to the "great multitude." The variations in the two forms are designed by the Holy Spirit to bring out fresh lights of the same truths. Luke's does not notice the portion on almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (Matthew 6). The healing of the centurion's servant follows: the first Gentile healed, without seeing Him, by a word, at the request preferred twice by others before he presumed himself to ask ( Luke 7:3-6;  Matthew 8:5-6). The next day, He ascended the steep up to the hamlet Nain, and restored to the sorrowing widow her son who was being carried for burial, probably to the sepulchral caves on the W. of Nain, of which traces remain. The anointing of His feet (only) in Simon's house in some neighbouring town by the sinful but forgiven woman followed. Mary of Bethany anointed His head as well as His feet.

Both wiped His feet with their hair, the sinful woman also kissed and washed His feet with her tears ( Luke 7:38;  John 12:3;  Mark 14:3). Not Mary Magdalene, whose possession by demons does not prove impurity, as on the other hand this woman's impurity does not prove demoniacal possession. About the same time John Baptist from his dungeon at Machaerus sent two disciples to inquire whether Jesus is He that should come; primarily to convince them (as Jesus in fact did from His miracles and His gospel preaching:  Luke 7:18-23; Mark. 11) that thus to the last he should be the Bridegroom's friend, introducing the bride to Him ( John 3:1-29;  John 3:27-30); secondarily to derive for himself the incidental comfort of accumulated conviction. Next, followed the short circuit of a couple of days preaching from city to city, attended by ministering women ( Luke 8:1-3): Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others, including possibly the woman who "loved much" and evidenced it because she knew by "faith ... her many sins forgiven" ( Luke 7:46-50).

He returned to His "home" at Capernaum (margin  Mark 3:19-20), and the multitude flocked together so eagerly that the disciples "could not so much as eat bread"; so His kinsmen "went out (of their temporary abode at Capernaum) to lay hold on Him, saying, He is beside Himself." A few verses later ( Mark 3:31) they with His mother arrived at the house "desiring to speak with Him," and He replied to His informants, "My mother and My brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it." The cure of the demoniac blind and dumb was the occasion of the Pharisees attributing His miracle to Beelzebub (a charge repeated again subsequently:  Luke 11:14-15), and elicited His warning that they were verging toward the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit, namely, the expression of their inward hatred of what they knew and felt divine so as to lose the power of fulfilling the conditions required for forgiveness. On the evening of the same day from a fishing vessel He spoke the series of parables beginning with that one recorded by all the three synoptical Gospels, that of the sower, as His eyes rested on the grainfields reaching to the margin of the lake.

At the close the apostles took away from the lingering multitude their wearied Master "as He was" ( Mark 4:36), in the vessel toward the eastern shore. A storm wind from one of the deep ravines in the high plateau of Jaulan, which "act like gigantic funnels to draw down the winds from the mountains" (Thomson, Land and Book) and converge to the head of the lake, burst upon the waters ( Luke 8:23, "came down" appropriately, for the lake is 600 ft. lower than the Mediterranean), and the ship filled and they were in jeopardy. His word sufficed to quell the sea in the world of nature, as previously the demons in the spirit world. On reaching the eastern shore the two Gergesene demoniacs (of whom the prominent one alone is noticed by Mark and Luke) met Him. The tombs where was their home still are visible in the ravines E. of the lake. The manifold personality of the one, his untameable wildness, self mutilation with stones, his kneeling, shouting, and final deliverance are graphically told by Mark (Mark 5). By our Lord's command he became first preacher to his own friends, and then in Decapolis ( Luke 8:39).

On Christ's return to the western shore followed the raising of Jairus' daughter with studied privacy (contrast the public raisin; of the Nain widow's son, each being dealt with as He saw best for them and for His all wise ends), preceded by the cure of the woman with the issue of blood. Again He visited Nazareth and taught on the sabbath. The same incredulity of His countrymen ( John 1:11), though now expressed by contempt rather than by violence as before, showed itself: "is not this the carpenter?" etc. ( Mark 6:1-6, referring probably to His having worked with Joseph the carpenter in youth.) Their unbelief, which made Him "marvel," stayed His hand of power and love ( Isaiah 59:2); but even the promiscuous and exceptional cures He wrought there manifested His divine grace and power. Soon after John Baptist's murder the twelve returned and "told Jesus all they had done and taught" ( Mark 6:30, etc.), and He considerately invited them to retire to the further side of the lake for rest, to the neighbourhood of Bethsaida Julias. Five thousand people soon broke in on His retirement, and instead of sending them away He first fed their souls, then their bodies, making them sit on the green grass table land N.E. of the lake, or else the plain by the Jordan's mouth ( Luke 9:10-17).

The miracle constrained them to confess, "this is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world" ( John 6:14); it is one of the seven selected by John to be recorded. On the same evening that the Jerusalem multitudes were having the paschal lambs slain for the feast, He the true Lamb in eastern Galilee was feeding other multitudes, and on the following day in the Capernaum synagogue discoursed on the bread of life and His flesh which must be eaten in order to have life ( John 6:22, etc.). From ministering in Judaea He had gone to minister in eastern Galilee, which was the more Judaized part. Now He proceeds to the more Gentile part, namely, northern Galilee. Teaching and preaching characterized this period, as miracles had the former. Thus, a progressive character is traceable in Christ's ministry. Luke devotes to this period only from  Luke 9:18-50, Mark from  Mark 6:45-49. Matthew gives the fullest record of it. Christ's performance of miracles was regulated by the faith of those to whom He ministered; amidst the imperfect faith of the northern frontier lands little scope for them was afforded, and they were few.

After feeding the 5,000 Christ directed His disciples ( Mark 6:45) to cross to Bethsaida (not Julius at the head of the lake, but on the W. at Khan Minyeh, or Bat-Szaidu, or "the house of fish," a name likely to belong to more than one place on a lake so famous for fish. The gale which brought boats from Tiberius to the N.E. coast, but delayed a passage to the W., must have been from the S.W.:  John 6:23. Therefore the Bethsaida here was a town on the W. coast which the apostles were making for, but in vain). It was "evening" ( Matthew 14:15), i.e. the "first evening" or Opsia , between three and six o'clock, toward its close, before the 5,000 sat down, the day being "far spent" ( Mark 6:85). At the beginning of the second evening (from sunset to darkness) after six the disciples embark ( John 6:16), and before its close reach the mid lake ( Mark 6:47;  Matthew 14:24) and encounter the gale which, beginning after sunset, was now at its height. For hours they made slow progress, until Jesus "in the fourth watch" came walking to them on the waters (the attribute of God:  Job 9:8;  Psalms 77:19).

He had "departed into a mountain Himself alone" because He perceived that the people would come and take H

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

‘Jesus’ was a common Jewish name and appears in the Greek language of the New Testament as the equivalent of the Hebrew ‘Joshua’ in the Old Testament. The name meant ‘Yahweh (Jehovah) is our Saviour’, and therefore was a fitting name to give to the one who would save his people, Yahweh’s people, from their sins ( Matthew 1:21). ‘Christ’ was a Greek word equivalent to the Hebrew ‘Messiah’ ( Matthew 22:42). (For the significance of this name see Messiah .)

Life of Jesus

The writers of the four Gospels provide most of the information concerning Jesus’ life and teaching, but they make no attempt to give a detailed biography of Jesus. They wrote at different times, for different people, in different places, for different purposes, and they selected their material accordingly ( Luke 1:1-4;  John 20:30-31). Yet there is no disagreement in the picture of Jesus they present: he is God in human flesh, the Lord and Saviour of the world. (See also Gospels .)

For convenience we can divide the Gospels’ record of Jesus’ life into three main sections. The first has to do with his birth and early childhood, the second concerns his public ministry (i.e. his teachings, healings, miracles and other recorded activities) and the third centres on the events of his death and resurrection.

Stories that describe events surrounding Jesus’ birth are recorded at some length. Nothing more is recorded of Jesus’ childhood till he was twelve years old. Even at that early age Jesus knew that he existed in a special relation with God; for he was God’s Son ( Luke 2:42;  Luke 2:49).

There is no record of the next eighteen years or so of Jesus’ life. Then, when about thirty years of age ( Luke 3:23), he was baptized and began his public ministry. His baptism showed on the one hand his complete willingness to carry out all God’s purposes, and on the other his complete identification with the people whose sins he would bear. God then showed, through the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove upon Jesus, that he had equipped him for this task ( Matthew 3:13-17;  Acts 10:38; see Baptism; Holy Spirit ) Jesus had the Spirit’s power in unlimited measure ( John 3:34), but he had to exercise it in keeping with his position of willing submission to the Father.

Almost immediately after Jesus received this special power from the Father, Satan tempted him to use it according to his own will, independently of the Father; but Jesus overcame the temptation ( Matthew 4:1-11; see Temptation ). He then began to move about doing the work that his Father had entrusted to him.

This public ministry of Jesus seems to have lasted about three and a half years. He did much of his work in the northern part of Palestine known as Galilee ( Matthew 4:12;  Matthew 4:23), though he met his fiercest opposition in Judea in the south, particularly in Jerusalem, which was the centre of Jewish religious power.

The Jewish leaders considered that Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God was blasphemy ( Mark 2:7;  Mark 3:22;  Mark 14:61-64;  John 7:25;  John 7:40-44;  John 8:56-59;  John 11:55-57). Jesus knew that he eventually would be killed by the Jews in Jerusalem ( Matthew 16:21;  Matthew 20:18-19;  Luke 9:51), but he knew also that first he had to complete the work his Father had sent him to do ( John 4:34;  John 9:4). Only when he had finished that work and the time appointed by his Father had come would he allow the Jews to take him and crucify him ( John 7:30;  John 10:18;  John 13:1;  John 17:4-11).

Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem was full of tension and activity and is recorded in greater detail than any other part of his life. He entered Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah-King, cleansed the temple, debated with the Jews and gave teaching to his disciples on many subjects. He then allowed his enemies to arrest him, treat him cruelly, condemn him falsely and finally crucify him. Three days later he rose from the dead and during the next six weeks appeared to his disciples and others on a number of occasions in various places ( Acts 1:3). His final appearance concluded with his ascension to heaven, though heavenly messengers reassured his disciples that one day he would come again ( Acts 1:9-11; cf.  John 14:3).

God in human form (the Incarnation)

In Jesus Christ, God became incarnate; that is, he took upon himself human form. Jesus Christ was the embodiment of God and, by coming into the world, made God known to the world. This shows that Jesus must have existed as God before he was born into this world; for only one who was previously with God could make God known ( John 1:1;  John 1:18;  John 3:13;  John 12:41;  John 17:5;  1 Corinthians 10:4). When he came into the world, Jesus added humanity to the deity that he always had ( John 1:14;  Hebrews 1:3).

As the eternally existent Son of God, Jesus had no beginning ( John 8:58;  Colossians 1:17;  Revelation 1:8), but as a human being he had a beginning when he was born as a baby in Bethlehem. God became flesh ( John 1:14;  Galatians 4:4;  1 Timothy 3:16;  1 John 1:1-4; see SON OF God; Word ) This came about through the miraculous work of God’s Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary, so that the child who was born, though having no human father, was nevertheless fully human. He was not an ordinary person whom God adopted as his Son, but a unique person who was actually God’s Son ( Luke 1:27;  Luke 1:31;  Luke 1:35).

In becoming a human being, Jesus did not cease to be God. His deity was not lessened in any way. When  Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus, in being born into the world, ‘emptied himself’, it does not mean that he lost, voluntarily or otherwise, any of his divine attributes or qualities. Its meaning is well explained in the verses before and after, where it is clear that to empty oneself means to deny oneself totally, to sacrifice all self-interest.

Jesus from all eternity had existed as God, yet he willingly sacrificed the supreme glory of heaven and took instead the place of a servant. What he sacrificed was not his deity, but the heavenly glories that were his by right. The limitation that he accepted in being born a human being was not a lessening of his divine powers or being, but the limitation of living like other human beings in a world of imperfection and suffering ( Philippians 2:5-8; cf.  John 17:5;  2 Corinthians 8:9;  Hebrews 2:9).

Not only Jesus’ physical form but also his human nature was like that of human beings in general; except that, whereas the human nature common to all other people is infected by sin from birth, Jesus’ human nature was not. Because his oneness with humankind was complete, he was able to die for his fellow human beings and so free them from the evil results of sin ( Romans 8:3;  2 Corinthians 5:21;  Hebrews 2:14-15).

Fully divine yet fully human

Though human, Jesus retained his divine being and powers ( Colossians 1:19;  Colossians 2:9;  Titus 2:13). His human and divine natures existed together – complete, united and inseparable – without either one lessening the other.

Jesus was still the creator and controller of the universe ( Colossians 1:16-17;  Hebrews 1:2-3), the Lord of life ( Luke 7:22;  John 5:21;  John 5:26;  John 8:51;  John 10:10;  John 10:28), the forgiver of sins ( Mark 2:5;  Mark 2:7;  Mark 2:10;  2 Corinthians 5:19), and the judge of the world ( Matthew 13:41-43;  Matthew 25:31-32;  John 5:26-27;  2 Corinthians 5:10). He was still the originator of divine truth ( Matthew 5:22;  Matthew 5:28;  Matthew 5:32;  Matthew 5:34;  Matthew 5:39;  Matthew 5:44;  Matthew 12:5-8;  Mark 13:31;  John 14:6;  John 14:10), the possessor of superhuman knowledge ( John 6:64;  John 11:14;  John 18:4), the satisfier of people’s deepest needs ( Matthew 11:28-30;  John 4:14;  John 6:35;  John 11:25) and the object of people’s worship ( Matthew 2:11;  John 5:23;  John 9:38).

Being the Son of God, Jesus was equal in deity with the Father ( John 10:30). So completely were they united that Jesus could say that whoever saw him saw the Father ( John 14:9; cf.  Matthew 1:23;  2 Corinthians 4:4;  Colossians 1:15;  Hebrews 1:3). Therefore, whoever received him received the Father and whoever rejected him rejected the Father ( Matthew 10:40;  Luke 10:16;  John 12:44;  John 15:23;  1 John 2:23). Because he was God, Jesus demanded that total allegiance which only God could demand ( Matthew 10:37-39;  Mark 8:34-35;  John 3:36).

At the same time Jesus was fully human ( 1 Timothy 2:5;  1 John 1:1). He knew how it felt to be hungry, thirsty and tired ( Matthew 21:18;  John 4:6;  John 19:28). He experienced poverty and sorrow as well as joy ( Luke 9:58;  Luke 10:21;  John 11:33-36;  John 15:11;  Hebrews 5:7). He showed some of the emotional reactions common to human nature such as astonishment, disappointment, pity and anger ( Mark 3:5;  Mark 6:6;  Mark 8:2;  Mark 10:14;  Luke 7:9). He was inwardly troubled as he saw his crucifixion drawing near, and he desired the sympathetic company of his closest friends during his time of spiritual conflict in Gethsemane the night before his death ( Mark 14:32-41;  Luke 12:50;  John 12:27).

A person who can help

Jesus exercised self-control in all aspects of his life and behaviour, and had the same sorts of temptations that other people have ( Matthew 4:1-11;  Hebrews 2:17-18;  Hebrews 4:15;  1 Peter 2:23). Yet through it all he never sinned ( Hebrews 4:15). Those who lived closest to him, and who saw more of him than anyone else, asserted that he never sinned ( 1 Peter 1:19;  1 Peter 2:22;  1 John 3:5). Even his enemies, when challenged to accuse him of sin, were unable to do so ( John 8:46; cf.  Matthew 27:3-4).

On account of Jesus’ endurance and obedience through all his temptations and sufferings, his life was one of continuous yet perfect development and maturing. The perfect boy grew into the perfect man, who thus became the perfect Saviour for all people ( Luke 2:40;  Luke 2:52;  Hebrews 2:10;  Hebrews 5:8). He can sympathize with the human weaknesses that people normally experience, but more than that he can help them triumph over those weaknesses ( Hebrews 2:18;  Hebrews 4:15). Their Saviour is God, but he is a God who has lived as one of them in their world.

To deny that Jesus was either fully divine or fully human is to deny that which is basic to Christian faith ( 1 John 2:22-25;  1 John 4:2-3;  1 John 5:6-12). Only because of the divine oneness between Father and Son can Jesus bring God to the people of the world, and only because of the human oneness between Jesus and his fellow humans can he bring people back to God ( John 14:6-10;  1 Timothy 2:4-6).

The obedient servant

In becoming human Jesus accepted the limitations that his humanity required. If, for example, he wanted to go from one place to another, he travelled the same as others and put up with the weariness of the journey. He did not use his divine powers to avoid the trials of human existence ( John 4:3-6). He had taken upon himself the nature of a servant and he lived in obedience to and dependence on his Father. That was one reason why he prayed constantly ( Mark 1:35;  Mark 6:46;  Luke 6:12).

Jesus’ acceptance of the limitations of human life meant also that if he wanted information he asked questions ( Luke 2:46;  Mark 5:30;  Mark 6:38;  Mark 9:21). Being God, he must have had all knowledge, but his human consciousness of that knowledge and the way he used it were always in submission to his Father’s will.

Certain areas of Jesus’ knowledge, therefore, may have been deliberately kept below the level of his human consciousness so that he could have no unnatural advantage over his fellows. But if his Father directed, Jesus could draw upon that knowledge ( John 12:49;  John 14:10;  John 14:24). As the obedient Son who took the humble place of a servant, he knew, and desired to know, only what his Father wanted him to know ( Mark 13:32;  John 8:55).

This may help to explain why on some occasions Jesus’ knowledge was limited but on other occasions it was not. The Father allowed him certain knowledge that was in keeping with the mission for which the Father had sent him into the world. In these cases Jesus’ superhuman knowledge was not to give him a kind of magical solution to a problem, but to enable him to carry out the specific work that his Father required him to carry out at that particular time ( Luke 6:8;  John 1:47-49;  John 2:25;  John 4:18;  John 4:29;  John 11:11-14;  John 12:49).

The superhuman knowledge that Jesus showed on such occasions was fully in keeping with the divine knowledge he repeatedly displayed in relation to the work his Father had sent him to do. That is why none of the events surrounding his death took him by surprise. He knew in advance that those events were part of his Father’s will for him ( Matthew 12:40;  Matthew 16:21;  Matthew 20:18;  John 3:14;  John 6:64;  John 12:7;  John 13:38;  John 14:29;  John 16:32).

In summary, then, Jesus exercised his divine knowledge in the same way as he exercised his divine power – always in complete dependence upon and obedience to his Father. He never exercised it for his personal benefit ( John 5:19;  John 5:30;  John 7:16;  John 12:49; cf.  Matthew 26:53-54).

If Satan tempted Jesus to use his divine powers for his own benefit, Jesus must have possessed those powers ( Matthew 4:3-4;  Matthew 26:53-54). Any limitation on Jesus’ physical capacity or knowledge was an indication not of a lessening of his divinity but of his submission to his Father’s will ( John 8:28-29). Although Jesus lived a genuinely human life, he did so in the perfection that his deity demanded.

Mission and teaching

All that Jesus did and said was in some way a revelation of who he was. He was not simply a doer of good works or a teacher of religious truths, but the Son of God who came into the world to be its Saviour. His works and words are inseparably tied up with the nature of his person and mission ( John 5:19;  John 5:24;  John 5:30;  John 5:36;  John 14:7;  John 14:10; see Son Of God ).

A central theme in all the works and teaching of Jesus was that in him the kingdom of God had come visibly into the world. The kingdom of God is the kingly rule of God, and Jesus proclaimed and exercised that rule as he released sick and demonized people from the power of Satan ( Matthew 4:23-24;  Matthew 12:28). Even among people who were not diseased, Jesus preached the kingdom, urging them to enter the kingdom voluntarily in humble faith and so receive eternal life ( Mark 1:15;  Matthew 6:33;  Matthew 18:3;  Matthew 19:16;  Matthew 19:19-23; see Kingdom Of God ). He assured the repentant and the unrepentant that they would stand before him, for better or for worse, when he returns at the end of the age to bring the kingdom to its triumphant climax ( Matthew 13:47-50;  Matthew 19:28;  Matthew 25:34;  Matthew 25:41; cf.  2 Corinthians 5:10).

In relation to the kingdom of God, Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of man. This title was taken from the heavenly figure of  Daniel 7:13-14, to whom the Almighty gave a kingdom that was worldwide and everlasting ( Matthew 24:30-31;  Matthew 25:31;  Mark 8:38;  Mark 14:62; see Son Of Man ). Jesus rarely referred to himself as the Messiah, probably because of the widespread misunderstanding among Jews concerning the sort of Messiah they wanted.

Jesus preferred the title ‘Son of man’ because it made people think about who he was. He wanted people to see for themselves that he, the Son of man, was both a heavenly figure and the Davidic Messiah ( Matthew 16:13-16;  Mark 2:10;  Mark 2:28;  John 6:62;  John 9:35-36;  John 12:23;  John 12:34; see Messiah ). He wanted people to see also that he was the Lord’s suffering servant. The Messiah had to die before he could reign in the full glory of his kingdom ( Matthew 16:21;  Matthew 20:28; see Servant Of The Lord ).

Likewise Jesus’ miracles were directed towards revealing who he was, though in a way designed to lead people to saving faith ( Mark 2:9-12;  Luke 4:18;  John 9:16-17;  John 20:30-31; see Miracles ). His parables had a similar purpose. They made people think, and those who understood and accepted their message entered the kingdom of their Saviour-Messiah ( Matthew 13:10-16; see Parables ).

Having entered that kingdom, people had to live by its standards. Jesus’ moral teaching, however, was not a code of legal regulations like the law of Moses; nor was it like the burdensome system of the rabbis. He wanted to change people inwardly and so produce a quality of life and character that no law-code could ever produce ( Matthew 5:21-22;  Matthew 5:27-28;  Matthew 7:29; see Ethics; Sermon On The Mount )

Jesus’ teaching had authority because he came from God, made known the character of God, brought people into a relationship with the living God, and enabled them to reproduce within themselves something of the character of God ( Matthew 5:48;  Matthew 11:25-27;  John 7:16-18).

Jesus as Lord

The Greek word kurios (i.e. Lord) in the New Testament is the same word that was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the Hebrew word yahweh (i.e. Jehovah) (cf.  Psalms 32:2 with  Romans 4:8; cf.  Isaiah 40:13 with  Romans 11:34). In the original Hebrew, Yahweh, the name of God, was a mysterious name that Jews of later times considered so sacred that they refused to speak it. The name was linguistically connected with the words ‘I am’ and referred to the eternal, unchangeable, ever-present God ( Exodus 3:13-16; see Yahweh ). Jesus identified himself with Yahweh by calling himself ‘I am’ ( John 8:58; see also  John 4:26;  John 6:35;  John 8:12;  John 10:7;  John 10:11;  John 11:25;  John 14:6;  John 18:5;  Mark 14:62).

The New Testament writers also emphasized this identification of Jesus with the God of the Old Testament. Repeatedly they quoted Old Testament references to Yahweh as applying to Jesus (cf.  Psalms 16:8 with  Acts 2:24-25; cf.  Isaiah 40:3 with  Mark 1:1-3; cf.  Jeremiah 9:23-24 with  1 Corinthians 1:30-31; cf.  Isaiah 8:13 with  1 Peter 3:15; cf.  Psalms 110:1 with  Matthew 22:41-45).

Both the words of Jesus and the quotations of the New Testament writers reflect the Hebrew background of the New Testament. According to that background, to call Jesus ‘Lord’ is to call him God.

Most of the early Christians, however, did not come from a Hebrew background. They were Gentiles, not Jews, and they had no history of the usage of the name Yahweh to influence their thinking. Yet to them also, to call Jesus ‘Lord’ (kurios) was to call him God. Their understanding of kurios came from its usage in the Greek-speaking Gentile world in which they lived.

In common speech, kurios may sometimes have meant no more than ‘sir’ or ‘master’ ( Matthew 21:30;  Luke 12:45;  John 12:21;  Acts 25:26), but it was also the usual word people used when referring to the Greek and Roman gods ( 1 Corinthians 8:5). The Greek-speaking Christians’ use of this word for Jesus showed that they considered him to be God; not just one of many gods, but the one true God who was the creator and ruler of the universe, the controller of life and death ( Acts 1:24;  Acts 13:10-12;  Acts 17:24;  Romans 14:9;  Romans 14:11;  1 Timothy 6:15-16).

Through the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ, God declared dramatically the absolute lordship of Christ ( Acts 2:36;  Romans 1:4;  Philippians 2:9-11). Believers in Christ gladly acknowledge him as Lord. They submit to him as to one who has complete authority over their lives, yet they love him as one who has saved them and given them new joy, peace and hope ( John 20:28;  Acts 10:36;  Romans 10:9;  1 Corinthians 1:2-3;  Ephesians 1:22-23;  2 Thessalonians 3:16;  Revelation 22:20).

One day Jesus Christ will return in power and glory. In that great day there will be universal acknowledgment that he is indeed Lord ( 1 Corinthians 15:24-26;  Philippians 2:11;  2 Thessalonians 1:7;  Revelation 19:16; see Day Of The Lord ).

The death of Jesus

Great though the incarnation and unique life of Jesus may be, they are not in themselves enough to meet the needs of a sinful human race. The incarnate Son of God had also to die. Salvation is not through the birth of Christ, nor through his life, but through his death ( Matthew 20:28;  Romans 3:25;  1 Corinthians 15:2-3;  Hebrews 9:12-14;  Revelation 5:9-10).

Jesus knew that the chief purpose for which he had been given a human life was that he might offer that life back to God as a sacrifice for people’s sins. But the offering of that life could be an acceptable sacrifice only because Jesus lived it in full obedience to his Father, without sin ( John 4:34;  John 6:38;  John 6:51;  John 8:29;  John 12:27;  Romans 5:19;  Hebrews 10:5-10).

This devotion to his Father’s will drove Jesus on, even though he knew it was leading to crucifixion ( Mark 8:31;  Mark 9:31;  Mark 14:36;  Luke 9:51;  Luke 12:50;  John 12:23-24; see Crucifixion ). He saw the whole of his life, including his suffering and crucifixion, as a fulfilment of the Old Testament Scriptures ( Matthew 26:53-54;  Mark 14:21;  Mark 14:27;  Luke 4:18-21;  Luke 18:31-34;  Luke 22:37;  Luke 24:25-27;  Luke 24:44-46). This did not mean that he felt no distress or temptation in the face of death. More likely it increased his suffering, but he resisted all attempts to turn him away from the cross. He gave his life willingly ( Matthew 16:21-23;  Matthew 26:53;  John 10:18;  John 12:27).

Jesus’ death, then, was not an unfortunate accident, nor was it the heroic deed of a martyr. It was the great act, the only act, by which God could deal with sin and release the guilty from sin’s punishment. Jesus gave his life as a ransom. He paid the price to deliver guilty sinners from the power of sin and death ( Matthew 20:28;  Matthew 26:26-28;  1 Timothy 1:15;  Hebrews 9:12-14;  1 Peter 1:18-20; see Forgiveness ; Redemption ).

Although Jesus was crucified by wicked men, his death was according to God’s plan ( Acts 2:23). He was under the curse of God as he hung on the cross, but it was the curse he bore on behalf of sinners ( Galatians 3:13). He who was sinless bore the sins of those who were sinful ( 2 Corinthians 5:21;  1 Peter 2:24; see Justification ). He who was not under God’s judgment bore that judgment in place of those who were. He bore the wrath of God so that he might bring guilty sinners back to God ( Romans 3:23-25;  Colossians 1:20;  1 John 2:2;  1 John 4:10; see Blood ; Propitiation ; Reconciliation ).

Christ’s one sacrifice is sufficient to bring complete salvation. It needs nothing to be added to it. It does not need to be repeated. It is a finished work – complete, final, perfect ( Hebrews 9:12;  Hebrews 9:25-26;  Hebrews 10:12-14; cf.  John 17:4;  John 19:30;  Romans 8:31-39;  Colossians 2:13-15).

Resurrection and exaltation

Jesus’ death was not for his own sins (for he had none) but for the sins of others. Therefore, death could have no power over him. He rose from death as proof to all that the Father was pleased with the Son’s entire work. Jesus had made full atonement for sin and was the triumphant Lord, Messiah and Saviour ( Acts 2:24;  Acts 2:36;  Acts 3:13;  Romans 1:4;  Romans 4:25;  1 Corinthians 15:3-4;  Philippians 2:8-11;  Hebrews 2:14-15).

The resurrection body of Jesus, however, was not simply a corpse brought back to life. It was a glorified ‘spiritual’ body, belonging to an entirely new order of existence that he brought into being and that all believers will one day share in ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-23;  1 Corinthians 15:42-49). God raised him up and gave him glory, exalting him to heaven’s highest place ( Acts 2:32-33;  Acts 5:30-31;  Ephesians 1:20-22;  Ephesians 2:6;  Hebrews 1:3;  Hebrews 2:9;  1 Peter 1:21).

Although he now existed in a glorified and exalted state, Jesus graciously made a number of appearances to his disciples over a period of forty days after his resurrection ( Acts 1:3). Besides giving them further teaching, he proved to them that although his resurrection was a literal bodily resurrection, his resurrection state was uniquely different from his previous state. He could make himself visible to human eyes, or invisible, as he wished ( Luke 24:31;  Luke 24:39;  Luke 24:43;  John 20:19;  John 20:26-27; see Resurrection ).

When he disappeared from his disciples for the last time, Jesus showed by the means of his departure that he would appear to them no more. He would, however, send the Holy Spirit to be with them, as he himself had been with them. Jesus meanwhile would remain in the heavenly world, exalted in his Father’s presence, till the time came for him to return ( Luke 24:50-51;  John 16:7;  Acts 1:9-11;  Acts 2:33;  1 Peter 3:22; see Holy Spirit ).

Even in his exalted place in heaven, Jesus continues his work on behalf of his people. He claims the blessings of God for them, defends them against the accusations of Satan, and guarantees the continued forgiveness of their sins, all on the basis of his sacrificial death ( Romans 8:34;  Hebrews 7:25;  Hebrews 9:24;  1 John 1:7-9;  1 John 2:1; see Advocate; Priest sub-heading ‘The high priesthood of Jesus’).

Christ’s return and final triumph

In considering the second coming of Jesus, we should not think of it independently of his first coming. His return and the events connected with it form the climax of what he did through his life, death and resurrection. All that he achieved at his first coming will find its full and final expression in the events of his second coming: the conquest of sin, death and Satan ( 1 Corinthians 15:54-57;  Revelation 20:10; cf.  Hebrews 2:14); the salvation of sinners ( Hebrews 9:28; cf.  Ephesians 2:8); the gift of eternal life ( Matthew 25:46;  2 Corinthians 5:4; cf.  John 5:24); the healing of the physical world ( Romans 8:18-23; cf.  Mark 1:31;  Mark 1:42;  Mark 4:39); and the establishment of God’s kingdom ( Matthew 25:34;  1 Corinthians 15:24-28; cf.  Luke 17:21).

Jesus’ second coming is that great and final ‘day of the Lord’ that people of both Old and New Testament eras saw as the climax of the world’s history. God will intervene in human affairs and bring his purposes to fulfilment ( Zechariah 14:9;  1 Corinthians 1:7-8;  2 Peter 3:11-13; see Day Of The Lord ).

Preceding and accompanying this day of the Lord there will be great wonders in the heavens and great distress upon earth. In an event as sudden, as open and as startling as a flash of lightning, Jesus will return in power and glory to save his people and judge his enemies ( Matthew 24:27-31;  2 Thessalonians 1:7-10;  2 Thessalonians 2:8;  Revelation 19:11-16). Believers of former generations will be raised from death and, along with believers still alive, will enter a new order of existence in imperishable, spiritual bodies. They will then be with Christ for ever ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-23;  1 Corinthians 15:42-57;  Philippians 3:21;  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; see Resurrection ).

The above characteristics of Christ’s return are expressed in the three Greek words that the New Testament most commonly uses of it. Christ’s return is an apokalupsis, indicating a revealing of himself in majesty and power ( 1 Corinthians 1:7;  2 Thessalonians 1:7;  1 Peter 1:7;  1 Peter 1:13;  1 Peter 4:13). It is an epiphaneia, indicating his appearing visibly before people’s eyes ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8;  1 Timothy 6:14;  2 Timothy 1:10;  2 Timothy 4:1;  2 Timothy 4:8;  Titus 2:13). It is a parousia, indicating his coming, arrival and presence ( Matthew 24:3;  Matthew 24:27;  Matthew 24:37;  1 Thessalonians 2:19;  1 Thessalonians 3:13;  1 Thessalonians 4:15;  2 Thessalonians 2:1;  2 Thessalonians 2:8;  1 John 2:28).

Judgment is an inevitable consequence of Christ’s return ( Matthew 24:30-31;  Matthew 24:40-42;  Matthew 25:31-32;  Matthew 25:46). While unbelievers will have no way of escaping condemnation and punishment, believers can face the coming judgment with confidence. They know that Christ has already delivered them from the wrath of God ( Romans 5:9;  1 Thessalonians 1:10;  1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Yet, though saved from eternal condemnation, believers are not saved from all judgment. They are answerable to God for the way they have lived on earth, and on that day they will face God and their lives will be examined ( Romans 14:10;  2 Corinthians 5:10;  1 Thessalonians 2:19; see Judgment ).

The second coming of Jesus, therefore, though it is something Christians look forward to ( Titus 2:13; see Hope ), is also something that urges them to be holy, diligent and sincere in the way they live now ( Philippians 1:10;  1 Thessalonians 3:13;  1 Thessalonians 5:23;  2 Timothy 4:8;  2 Peter 3:11-13;  Revelation 22:12). In addition it makes them more earnest in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world ( Matthew 24:14;  2 Peter 3:9-10;  Revelation 22:12-14). Since Jesus will return when least expected, Christians must be ready always ( Matthew 24:42-44;  1 Thessalonians 5:2-6).

Not only believers, but the physical creation also will be redeemed at Christ’s return. The world of nature, which has suffered because of human sin, will receive its full glory. The triumph of Christ’s kingdom is seen in a triumphant Christ reigning with his redeemed people over a redeemed earth (  Romans 8:19-23;  2 Timothy 2:12;  Revelation 5:9-10;  Revelation 20:4).

Finally, having destroyed all enemies and removed all wickedness, Jesus Christ will have the satisfaction of seeing that the victory he achieved at the cross is effectual throughout the universe ( Philippians 2:10-11;  Revelation 11:15;  Revelation 20:10). The Father had entrusted to him the work of overcoming all rebellion and bringing all things into perfect submission to the sovereign God. That work will now have reached its triumphant climax ( 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [5]

the son of God, the Messiah, and Saviour of the world, the first and principal object of the prophecies, prefigured and promised in the Old Testament, expected and desired by the patriarchs; the hope of the Gentiles; the glory, salvation, and consolation of Christians. The name Jesus, or, as the Hebrews pronounce it, יהושוע , Jehoshua or Joshua, ‘Ιησους , signifies, he who shall save. No one ever bore this name with so much justice, nor so perfectly fulfilled the signification of it, as Jesus Christ, who saves even from sin and hell, and hath merited heaven for us by the price of his blood. It is not necessary here to narrate the history of our Saviour's life, which can no where be read with advantage except in the writings of the four evangelists; but there are several general views which require to be noticed under this article.

1. Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ or Messiah promised under the Old Testament. That he professed himself to be that Messiah to whom all the prophets gave witness, and who was, in fact, at the time of his appearing, expected by the Jews; and that he was received under that character by his disciples, and by all Christians ever since, is certain. And if the Old Testament Scriptures afford sufficiently definite marks by which the long announced Christ should be infallibly known at his advent, and these presignations are found realized in our Lord, then is the truth of his pretensions established. From the books of the Old Testament we learn that the Messiah was to authenticate his claim by miracles; and in those predictions respecting him, so many circumstances are recorded, that they could meet only in one person; and so, if they are accomplished in him, they leave no room for doubt, as far as the evidence of prophecy is deemed conclusive. As to MIRACLES, we refer to that article; here only observing, that if the miraculous works wrought by Christ were really done, they prove his mission, because, from their nature, and having been wrought to confirm his claim to be the Messiah, they necessarily imply a divine attestation. With respect to Prophecy the principles under which its evidence must be regarded as conclusive will be given under that head; and here therefore it will only be necessary to show the completion of the prophecies of the sacred books of the Jews relative to the Messiah in one person, and that person the founder of the Christian religion.

The time of the Messiah's appearance in the world, as predicted in the Old Testament, is defined, says Keith, by a number of concurring circumstances, which fix it to the very date of the advent of Christ. The last blessing of Jacob to his sons, when he commanded them to gather themselves together that he might tell them what should befall them in the last days, contains this prediction concerning Judah: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be,"  Genesis 49:10 , The date fixed by this prophecy for the coming of Shiloh, or the Saviour, was not to exceed the time during which the descendants of Judah were to continue a united people, while a king should reign among them, while they should be governed by their own laws, and while their judges should be from among their brethren. The prophecy of Malachi adds another standard for measuring the time: "Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall come suddenly to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts,"  Malachi 3:1 . No words can be more expressive of the coming of the promised Messiah; and they as clearly imply his appearance in the second temple before it should be destroyed. In regard to the advent of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple, the words of Haggai are remarkably explicit: "The desire of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, and in this place will I give peace,"

 Haggai 2:7 . The Saviour was thus to appear, according to the prophecies of the Old Testament, during the time of the continuance of the kingdom of Judah, previous to the demolition of the temple, and immediately subsequent to the next prophet. But the time is rendered yet more definite. In the prophecies of Daniel, the kingdom of the Messiah is not only foretold as commencing in the time of the fourth monarchy, or Roman empire, but the express number of years that were to precede his coming are plainly intimated: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks,"

 Daniel 9:24-25 . Computation by weeks of years was common among the Jews, and every seventh was the sabbatical year; seventy weeks, thus amounted to four hundred and ninety years. In these words the prophet marks the very time, and uses the very name of Messiah, the Prince; so entirety is all ambiguity done away. The plainest inference may be drawn from these prophecies. All of them, while, in every respect, they presuppose the most perfect knowledge of futurity; while they were unquestionably delivered and publicly known for ages previous to the time to which they referred; and while they refer to different contingent and unconnected events, utterly undeterminable and inconceivable by all human sagacity; accord in perfect unison to a single precise period where all their different lines terminate at once,—the very fulness of time when Jesus appeared. A king then reigned over the Jews in their own land; they were governed by their own laws; and the council of their nation exercised its authority and power. Before that period, the other tribes were extinct or dispersed among the nations. Judah alone remained, and the last sceptre in Israel had not then departed from it. Every stone of the temple was then unmoved; it was the admiration of the Romans, and might have stood for ages. But in a short space, all these concurring testimonies to the time of the advent of the Messiah passed away. During the very year, the twelfth of his age, in which Christ first publicly appeared in the temple, Archelaus the king was dethroned and banished; Coponius was appointed procurator; and the kingdom of Judea, the last remnant of the greatness of Israel, was debased into a part of the province of Syria. The sceptre was smitten from the tribe of Judah; the crown fell from their heads; their glory departed; and, soon after the death of Christ, of their temple one stone was not left upon another; their commonwealth itself became as complete a ruin, and was broken in pieces; and they have ever since been scattered throughout the world, a name but not a nation. After the lapse of nearly four hundred years posterior to the time of Malachi, another prophet appeared who was the herald of the Messiah. And the testimony of Josephus confirms the account given in Scripture of John the Baptist. Every mark that denoted the time of the coming of the Messiah was erased soon after the crucifixion of Christ, and could never afterward be renewed. And with respect to the prophecies of Daniel, it is remarkable, at this remote period, how little discrepancy of opinion has existed among the most learned men, as to the space from the time of the passing out of the edict to rebuild Jerusalem, after the Babylonish captivity, to the commencement of the Christian era, and the subsequent events foretold in the prophecy.

The predictions contained in the Old Testament respecting both the family out of which the Messiah was to arise, and the place of his birth, are almost as circumstantial, and are equally applicable to Christ, as those which refer to the time of his appearance. He was to be an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah, of the family of David, and of the town of Bethlehem. That all these predictions were fulfilled in Jesus Christ; that he was of that country, tribe, and family, of the house and lineage of David, and born in Bethlehem, we have the fullest evidence in the testimony of all the evangelists; in two distinct accounts of the genealogies, by natural and legal succession, which, according to the custom of the Jews, were carefully preserved; in the acquiescence of the enemies of Christ in the truth of the fact, against which there is not a single surmise in history; and in the appeal made by some of the earliest Christian writers to the unquestionable testimony of the records of the census, taken at the very time of our Saviour's birth by order of Caesar. Here, indeed, it is impossible not to be struck with the exact fulfilment of prophecies which are apparently contradictory and irreconcilable, and with the manner in which they were providentially accomplished. The spot of Christ's nativity was distant from the place of the abode of his parents, and the region in which he began his ministry was remote from the place of his birth; and another prophecy respecting him was in this manner verified: "In the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, by the way of the sea beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations, the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined,"  Isaiah 9:1-2;  Matthew 4:16 . Thus, the time at which the predicted Messiah was to appear; the nation, the tribe, and the family from which he was to be descended; and the place of his birth,—no populous city, but of itself an inconsiderable place,—were all clearly foretold; and as clearly refer to Jesus Christ; and all meet their completion in him.

But the facts of his life, and the features of his character, are also drawn with a precision that cannot be misunderstood. The obscurity, the meanness, and the poverty of his external condition are thus represented: "He shall grow up before the Lord like a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Thus saith the Lord to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship,"  Isaiah 53:2;  Isaiah 49:7 . That such was the condition in which Christ appeared, the whole history of his life abundantly testifies. And the Jews, looking in the pride of their hearts for an earthly king, disregarded these prophecies concerning him, were deceived by their traditions, and found only a stone of stumbling, where, if they had searched their Scriptures aright, they would have discovered an evidence of the Messiah. "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not this the son of Mary? said they; and they were offended at him." His riding in humble triumph into Jerusalem; his being betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, and scourged, and buffered, and spit upon; the piercing of his hands and of his feet; the last offered draught of vinegar and gall; the parting of his raiment, and casting lots upon his vesture; the manner of his death and of his burial, and his rising again without seeing corruption, were all expressly predicted, and all these predictions were literally fulfilled,  Zechariah 9:9;  Zechariah 11:12;  Isaiah 50:6;  Psalms 22:16;  Psalms 69:21;  Psalms 22:18;  Isaiah 53:9;  Psalms 16:10 . If all these prophecies admit of any application to the events of the life of any individual, it can only be to that of the Author of Christianity. And what other religion can produce a single fact which was actually foretold of its founder?

The death of Christ was as unparalleled as his life; and the prophecies are as minutely descriptive of his sufferings as of his virtues. Not only did the paschal lamb, which was to be killed every year in all the families of Israel, which was to be taken out of the flock, to be without blemish, to be eaten with bitter herbs, to have its blood sprinkled, and to be kept whole that not a bone of it should be broken; not only did the offering up of Isaac, and the lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, by looking upon which the people were healed, and many ritual observances of the Jews, prefigure the manner of Christ's death, and the sacrifice which was to be made for sin; but many express declarations abound in the prophecies, that Christ was indeed to suffer. But Isaiah, who describes, with eloquence worthy of a prophet, the glories of the kingdom that was to come, characterizes, with the accuracy of a historian, the humiliation, the trials, and the agonies which were to precede the triumphs of the Redeemer of a world; and the history of Christ forms, to the very letter, the commentary and the completion of his every prediction. In a single passage,  Isaiah 52:13 , &c; 53, the connection of which is uninterrupted, its antiquity indisputable, and its application obvious, the sufferings of the servant of God (who under that same denomination, is previously described as he who was to be the light of the Gentiles, the salvation of God to the ends of the earth, and the elect of God in whom his soul delighted,  Isaiah 42:10;  Isaiah 49:6 ) are so minutely foretold, that no illustration is requisite to show that they testify of Jesus. The whole of this prophecy thus refers to the Messiah. It describes both his debasement and his dignity; his rejection by the Jews; his humility, his affliction, and his agony; his magnanimity and his charity; how his words were disbelieved; how his state was lowly; how his sorrow was severe; how he opened not his mouth but to make intercession for the transgressors. In diametrical opposition to every dispensation of Providence which is registered in the records of the Jews, it represents spotless innocence suffering by the appointment of Heaven; death as the issue of perfect obedience; God's righteous servant as forsaken of him; and one who was perfectly immaculate bearing the chastisement of many guilty; sprinkling many nations from their iniquity, by virtue of his sacrifice; justifying many by his knowledge; and dividing a portion with the great and the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul in death. This prophecy, therefore, simply as a prediction prior to the event, renders the very unbelief of the Jews an evidence against them, converts the scandal of the cross into an argument in favour of Christianity, and presents us with an epitome of the truth, a miniature of the Gospel in some of its most striking features. The simple exposition of it sufficed at once for the conversion of the eunuch of Ethiopia. To these prophecies may, in fact, be added all those which relate to his spiritual kingdom, or the circumstances of the promulgation, the opposition, and the triumphs of his religion; the accomplishment of which equally proves the divine mission of its Author, and points him out as that great personage with whom they stand inseparably connected.

2. But if Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, in that character his Deity also is necessarily involved, because the Messiah is surrounded with attributes of divinity in the Old Testament; and our Lord himself as certainly lays claim to those attributes as to the office of "the Christ." Without referring here to the Scriptural doctrine of a Trinity of divine Persons in the unity of the Godhead, (see Trinity, ) it is sufficient now to show that both in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, the Messiah is contemplated as a divine Person. In the very first promise of redemption, his superiority to that great and malignant spirit who destroyed the innocence of man, and blighted the fair creation of God, is unquestionably implied; while the Angel of the Divine Presence, the Angel of the Covenant, who appears so prominent in the patriarchal times, and the early periods of Jewish history, and was understood by the early Jews as the future Messiah, is seen at once as a being distinct from Jehovah and yet Jehovah himself; bearing that incommunicable name; and performing acts, and possessing qualities of unquestionable divinity. As the "Redeemer" of Job, he is the object of his trust and hope, and is said to be then a "living Redeemer;" to see whom at the last was to "see God." As "Shiloh," in the prophecy of Jacob, he is represented as having an indefinitely extensive reign over "the people" gathered to him; and in all subsequent predictions respecting this reign of Christ, it is represented so vast, so perfect, so influential upon the very thoughts, purposes, and affections of men, that no mere creature can be reasonably supposed capable of exercising it. Of the second Psalm, so manifestly appropriated to the Messiah, it has been justly said, that the high titles and honours ascribed in this Psalm to the extraordinary person who is the chief subject of it, far transcend any thing that is ascribed in Scripture to any mere creature. But if the Psalm be inquired into more narrowly, and compared with parallel prophecies; if it be duly considered, that not only is the extraordinary person here spoken of called "the Son of God," but that title is so ascribed to him as to imply, that it belongs to him in a manner that is absolutely singular, and peculiar to himself, seeing he is said to be begotten of God,  Isaiah 49:7 , and is called, by way of eminence, "the Son,"  Isaiah 49:12; that the danger of provoking him to anger is spoken of in so very different a manner from what the Scripture uses in speaking of the anger of any mere creature, "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little;" that when the kings and judges of the earth are commanded to serve God with fear, they are at the same time commanded to kiss the Son, which in those times and places was frequently an expression of adoration; and, particularly, that, whereas other Scriptures contain awful and just threatenings against those who trust in any mere man, the Psalmist nevertheless expressly calls them blessed who trust in the Son here spoken of;—all these things taken together make up a character of unequivocal divinity: and, on the other hand, when it is said, that God would set this his Son as his King on his holy hill of Zion,  Isaiah 49:6 , this, and various other expressions in this Psalm, contain characters of that subordination which is appropriate to that divine Person who was to be incarnate, and engage in a work assigned to him by the Father. The former part of the forty-fifth Psalm is by the inspired authority of St. Paul applied to the Christ, who is addressed in these lofty words, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." In the same manner  Psalms 102:25-28 , is applied to Christ by the same authority, and there he is represented as the creator of all things, changing his creations as a vesture, and yet himself continuing the same unchanged being amidst all the mutations of the universe. In Psalm cx, David says, "Jehovah said unto my Lord, ( Adonai, ) Sit thou upon my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." And in Isaiah vi, the same Adonai is seen by the prophet "seated upon a throne, high and lifted up," receiving the adoration of seraphs, and bearing the title, "Jehovah, Lord of Hosts," of which passage St. John makes a direct application to Christ. Isaiah predicts his birth of a virgin, under the title of "Immanuel, God with us." The same prophet gives to this wonderful child the style of "the Mighty God," "the Everlasting Father," and the "Prince of Peace;" so that, as Dr. Pye Smith justly observes, "if there be any dependence on words, the Messiah is here drawn in the opposite characters of humanity and Deity,—the nativity and frailty of a mortal child, and the incommunicable attributes of the omnipresent and eternal God." Twice is he called by Jeremiah, "Jehovah our righteousness." Daniel terms him the "Ancient of Days," or "The Immortal;" and Micah declares, in a passage which the council of the Jews, assembled by Herod, applied to the Messiah, that he who was to be born in Bethlehem was "even he whose comings forth are from eternity, from the days of the everlasting period." Thus the prophetic testimony describes him, as entitled to the appellation of "Wonderful," since he should be, in a sense peculiar to himself, the Son of God,  Psalms 2:7;  Isaiah 9:6; as existing and acting during the patriarchal and the Jewish ages, and even from eternity,  Psalms 40:7-9;  Micah 5:2; as the guardian and protector of his people,  Isaiah 40:9-11; as the proper object of the various affections of piety, of devotional confidence for obtaining the most important blessings, and of religious homage from angels and men,  Psalms 2:12;  Psalms 97:7; and, finally, declares him to be the eternal and immutable Being, the Creator, God, the Mighty God, Adonai, Elohim, Jehovah.

In perfect accordance with these views, does our Saviour speak of himself. He asserts his preexistence, as having "come down from heaven;" and as existing "before Abraham;" and as being "in heaven" while yet before the eyes of his disciples on earth. In the same peculiar manner does he apply the term "Son of God" to himself, and that with so manifest an intention to assume it in the sense of divinity, that the Jews attempted on that account to stone him as a blasphemer. The whole force of the argument by which he silenced the Pharisees when he asked how the Messiah, who was to be the Son of David, could be David's Lord, in reference to the passage in the Psalms before quoted, arose out of the doctrine of the Messiah's divinity; and when he claims that all men should honour him as they honour the Father, and asserts that as the Father hath life in himself, so he has given to the Son to have life in himself, that he "quickeneth whom he will," that "where two or three meet in his name he is in the midst of them," and would be with his disciples "to the end of the world;" who does not see that the Jews concluded right, when they said that he made himself "equal with God,"—an impression which he took no pains to remove, although his own moral character bound him to do so, had he not intended to confirm that conclusion. So numerous are the passages in which divine titles, acts, and qualities, are ascribed to Christ in the apostolical epistles, and so unbroken is the stream of testimony from the apostolic age, that the Deity of their Saviour was the undoubted and universal faith of his inspired followers, and of those who immediately succeeded them, that it is not necessary to quote proofs. The whole argument is this: If the Old Testament Scriptures represent the Messiah as a divine Person; the proofs which demonstrate Jesus to be the Messiah, demonstrate him also by farther and necessary consequence to be divine. Yet, though there is a union of natures in Christ, there is no mixture or confusion of their properties: his humanity is not changed into his Deity, nor his Deity absorbed by his humanity; but the two natures are distinct in one Person. How this union exists, is above our comprehension; and, indeed, if we cannot explain how our bodies and souls are united, it is not to be supposed that we can comprehend the mystery of "God manifest in the flesh." So truly does Christ bear the name given to him in prophecy,— "Wonderful."

3. The doctrine of the Deity of Christ derives farther confirmation from the consideration, that in no sound sense can the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments be interpreted so as to make their very different and often apparently contradictory statements respecting him harmonize. How, for instance, is it that he is arrayed in the attributes of divinity, and yet is capable of being raised to a kingdom and glory?—that he is addressed, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever," and yet that it should follow "God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows?"—that he should be God, and yet, by a human birth, "God with us?"—that he should say, "I and my Father are one," and, "My Father is greater than I?"—that he is supreme, and yet a servant?—that he is equal and yet subordinate?—that he, a man, should require and receive worship and trust?—that he should be greater than angels, and yet "made lower than the angels?"—that he should be "made flesh," and yet be the Creator of all things?—that he should raise himself from the dead, and yet be raised by the power of the Father? These and many other declarations respecting him, all accord with the orthodox view of his person; and are intelligible so far as they state the facts respecting him; but are wholly beyond the power of interpretation into any rational meaning on any theory which denies to him a real humanity on the one hand, or a real and personal divinity on the other. So powerfully, in fact, has this been felt, that, in order to evade the force of the testimony of Scripture, the most licentious criticisms have been resorted to by the deniers of his divinity; such as would not certainly have been tolerated by scholars in the case of an attempt to interpret any other ancient writing.

4. Being, therefore, not only "a teacher sent from God," but the divine Son of God himself, it might be truly said by his wondering hearers, "Never man spake like this man." On our Lord's character as a teacher, therefore, many striking and just remarks have been made by different writers, not excepting some infidels themselves, who, in this respect, have been carried into admiration by the overwhelming force of evidence. This article, however, shall not be indebted to a desecrated source for an estimate of the character of his teaching, and shall rather be concluded with the following admirable remarks of a Christian prelate:—

"When our Lord is considered as a teacher, we find him delivering the justest and most sublime truths with respect to the divine nature, the duties of mankind, and a future state of existence; agreeable in every particular to reason, and to the wisest maxims of the wisest philosophers; without any mixture of that alloy which so often debased their most perfect production; and excellently adapted to mankind in general, by suggesting circumstances and particular images on the most awful and interesting subjects. We find him filling, and, as it were, overpowering our minds with the grandest ideas of his own nature; representing himself as appointed by his Father to be our Instructer, our Redeemer, our Judge, and our King; and showing that he lived and died for the most benevolent and important purposes conceivable. He does not labour to support the greatest and most magnificent of all characters; but it is perfectly easy and natural to him. He makes no display of the high and heavenly truths which he utters; but speaks of them with a graceful and wonderful simplicity and majesty.

Supernatural truths are as familiar to his mind, as the common affairs of life are to other men. He revives the moral law, carries it to perfection, and enforces it by peculiar and animating motives: but he enjoins nothing new beside praying in his name, mutual love among his disciples, as such, and the observance of two simple and significant positive laws which serve to promote the practice of the moral law. All his precepts, when rightly explained, are reasonable in themselves and useful in their tendency: and their compass is very great, considering that he was an occasional teacher, and not a systematical one. If from the matter of his instructions we pass on to the manner in which they were delivered, we find our Lord usually speaking as an authoritative teacher; though occasionally limiting his precepts, and sometimes assigning the reasons of them. He presupposes the original law of God, and addresses men as rational creatures. From the grandeur of his mind, and the magnitude of his subjects, he is often sublime; and the beauties interspersed throughout his discourses are equally natural and striking. He is remarkable for an easy and graceful manner of introducing the best lessons from incidental objects and occasions. The human heart is naked and open to him; and he addresses the thoughts of men, as others do the emotions of their countenance or their bodily actions. Difficult situations, and sudden questions of the most artful and ensnaring kind, serve only to display his superior wisdom, and to confound and astonish all his adversaries. Instead of showing his boundless knowledge on every occasion, he checks and restrains it, and prefers utility to the glare of ostentation. He teaches directly and obliquely, plainly and covertly, as wisdom points out occasions. He knows the inmost character, every prejudice and every feeling of his hearers; and, accordingly, uses parables to conceal or to enforce his lessons; and he powerfully impresses them by the significant language of actions. He gives proofs of his mission from above, by his knowledge of the heart, by a chain of prophecies, and by a variety of mighty works.

"He sets an example of the most perfect piety to God, and of the most extensive benevolence and the most tender compassion to men. He does not merely exhibit a life of strict justice, but of overflowing benignity. His temperance has not the dark shades of austerity; his meekness does not degenerate into apathy. His humility is signal, amidst a splendour of qualities more than human. His fortitude is eminent and exemplary, in enduring the most formidable external evils and the sharpest actual sufferings: his patience is invincible; his resignation entire and absolute. Truth and sincerity shine throughout his whole conduct. Though of heavenly descent, he shows obedience and affection to his earthly parents. He approves, loves, and attaches himself to amiable qualities in the human race. He respects authority, religious and civil; and he evidences his regard for his country by promoting its most essential good in a painful ministry dedicated to its service, by deploring its calamities, and by laying down his life for its benefit. Every one of his eminent virtues is regulated by consummate prudence; and he both wins the love of his friends, and extorts the approbation and wonder of his enemies. Never was a character at the same time so commanding and natural, so resplendent and pleasing, so amiable and venerable. There is a peculiar contrast in it between an awful greatness, dignity, and majesty, and the most conciliating loveliness, tenderness, and softness. He now converses with prophets, lawgivers, and angels; and the next instant he meekly endures the dulness of his disciples and the blasphemies and rage of the multitude. He now calls himself greater than Solomon, one who can command legions of angels, the Giver of life to whomsoever he pleaseth, the Son of God who shall sit on his glorious throne to judge the world. At other times we find him embracing young children, not lifting up his voice in the streets, not breaking the bruised reed, nor quenching the smoking flax; calling his disciples, not servants, but friends and brethren, and comforting them with an exuberant and parental affection. Let us pause an instant, and fill our minds with the idea of one who knew all things heavenly and earthly, searched and laid open the inmost recesses of the heart, rectified every prejudice, and removed every mistake, of a moral and religious kind, by a word exercised a sovereignty over all nature, penetrated the hidden events of futurity, gave promises of admission into a happy immortality, had the keys of life and death, claimed a union with the Father; and yet was pious, mild, gentle, humble, affable, social, benevolent, friendly, affectionate. Such a character is fairer than the morning star. Each separate virtue is made stronger by opposition and contrast; and the union of so many virtues forms a brightness which fitly represents the glory of that God ‘who inhabiteth light inaccessible.' Such a character must have been a real one. There is something so extraordinary, so perfect, and so godlike in it, that it could not have been thus supported throughout by the utmost stretch of human art, much less by men confessedly unlearned and obscure." We may add, that such a character must also have been divine. His virtues are human in their class and kind, so that he was our "example;" but they were sustained and heightened by that divinity which was impersonated in him, and from which they derived their intense and full perfection.

5. A great deal has been written concerning the form, beauty, and stature of Jesus Christ. Some have asserted, that he was in person the noblest of all the sons of men. Others have maintained, that there was no beauty nor any graces in his outward appearance. The fathers have not expressed themselves on this matter in a uniform manner. St. Jerom believes that the lustre and majesty which shone about our Saviour's face were capable of winning all hearts: it was this that drew the generality of his Apostles with so much ease to him; it was this majesty which struck those down who came to seize him in the olive garden. St. Bernard and St. Chrysostom contend in like manner for the beauty of Jesus Christ's person; but the most ancient fathers have acknowledged, that he was not at all handsome. Homo indecorus et passibilis, says Irenaeus. Celsus objected to the Christians, that Jesus Christ, as a man, was little, and ill made, which Origen acknowledged in his answer to have been written of him. Clemens Alexandrinus owns, in several places, that the person of Jesus Christ was not beautiful, as does also Cyril of Alexandria. Tertullian says plainly, vultu et aspectu inglorius; that his outward form had nothing that could attract consideration and respect. St. Austin confesses, that Jesus Christ, as a man, was without beauty and the advantage of person; and the generality of the ancients, as Eusebius, Basil, Theodoret, Ambrose, Isidore, &c, explain the passage in the Psalm, "Thou art fairer than the children of men," as relating to the beauty of Jesus Christ according to his divinity. This difference in opinion shows that no certain tradition was handed down on this subject. The truth probably is, that all which was majestic and attractive in the person of our Lord, was in the expression of the countenance, the full influence of which was displayed chiefly in his confidential intercourse with his disciples; while his general appearance presented no striking peculiarity to the common observer.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [6]

The Lord and Saviour of mankind. He is called Christ (anointed, ) because he is anointed, furnished, and sent by God to execute his mediatorial office; and Jesus (Saviour, ) because he came to save his people from their sins. For an account of his nativity, offices, death, resurrection, &c. the reader is referred to those articles in this work. We shall here more particularly consider his divinity, humanity, and character. The divinity of Jesus Christ seems evident, if we consider,

1. The language of the New Testament, and compare it with the state of the Pagan world at the time of its publication. If Jesus Christ were not God, the writers of the New Testament discovered great injudiciousness in the choice of their words, and adopted a very incautions and dangerous style. The whole world, except the small kingdom of Judea, worshipped idols at the time of Jesus Christ's appearance. Jesus Christ; the evangelists, who wrote his history; and the apostles, who wrote epistles to various classes of men, proposed to destroy idolatry, and to establish the worship of one only living and true God. To effect this purpose, it was absolutely necessary for these founders of Christianity to avoid confusion and obscurity of language, and to express their ideas in a cool and cautious style.

The least expression that would tend to deify a creature, or countenance idolatry, would have been a source of the greatest error. Hence Paul and Barnabas rent their clothes at the very idea of the multitude's confounding the creature with the Creator,  Acts 14:1-28 : The writers of the New Testament knew that in speaking of Jesus Christ, extraordinary caution was necessary; yet, when we take up the New Testament, we find such expressions as these: "The word was God,   John 1:1 . God was manifest in the flesh,  1 Timothy 3:16 . God with us,  Matthew 1:23 . The Jews crucified the Lord of glory,  1 Corinthians 2:8 . Jesus Christ is Lord of all,  Acts 10:36 . Christ is over all; God blessed for ever, Rom.ix. 5." These are a few of many propositions, which the New Testament writers lay down relative to Jesus Christ. If the writers intended to affirm the divinity of Jesus Christ, these are words of truth and soberness; if not, the language is incautious and unwarrantable; and to address it to men prone to idolatry, for the purpose of destroying idolatry, is a strong presumption against their inspiration. It is remarkable, also, that the richest words in the Greek language are made use of to describe Jesus Christ. This language, which is very copious, would have afforded lower terms to express an inferior nature; but it could have afforded none higher to express the nature of the Supreme God.

It is worthy of observation, too, that these writers addressed their writings not to philosophers and scholars, but to the common people, and consequently used words in their plain popular signification. The common people, it seems, understood the words in our sense of them; for in the Dioclesian persecution, when the Roman soldiers burnt a Phrygian city inhabited by Christians; men, women, and children submitted to their fate, calling upon Christ, THE GOD Over All

2. Compare the style of the New Testament with the state of the Jews at the time of its publication. In the time of Jesus Christ, the Jews were zealous defenders of the unity of God, and of that idea of his perfections which the Scriptures excited. Jesus Christ and his apostles professed the highest regard for the Jewish Scriptures; yet the writers of the New Testament described Jesus Christ by the very names and titles by which the writers of the Old Testament had described the Supreme God. Compare  Exodus 3:14 . with  John 8:58 . Is. 44: 6. with  Revelation 1:11;  Revelation 1:17 .  Deuteronomy 10:17 . with  Revelation 17:14 .  Psalms 24:10 . with  1 Corinthians 2:8 .  Hosea 1:7 . with  Luke 2:1-52 .  Daniel 5:23 . with  1 Corinthians 15:47 .  1 Chronicles 29:11 . with  Colossians 2:10 . If they who described Jesus Christ to the Jews by these sacred names and titles intended to convey an idea of his deity, the description is just and the application safe; but if they intended to describe a mere man, they were surely of all men the most preposterous. They chose a method of recommending Jesus to the Jews the most likely to alarm and enrage them. Whatever they meant, the Jews understood them in our sense, and took Jesus for a blasphemer,  John 10:33 .

3. Compare the perfections which are ascribed to Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, with those which are ascribed to God. Jesus Christ declares, "All things that the Father hath are mine, "  John 16:15 . a very dangerous proposition, if he were not God. The writers of revelation ascribe to him the same perfections which they ascribe to God. Compare  Jeremiah 10:10 . with  Isaiah 9:6 .  Exodus 15:13 . with  Hebrews 1:8 .  Jeremiah 32:19 . with Is. 9: 6.  Psalms 102:24;  Psalms 102:27 . with  Hebrews 13:8 .  Jeremiah 23:24 . with  Ephesians 1:20;  Ephesians 1:23 .  1 Samuel 2:5 . with  John 14:30 . If Jesus Christ be God, the ascription of the perfections of God to him is proper; if he be not, the apostles are chargeable with weakness or wickedness, and either would destroy their claim of inspiration.

4. Consider the works that are ascribed to Jesus Christ, and compare them with the claims of Jehovah. Is creation a work of God? "By Jesus Christ were all things created, "  Colossians 1:1-29 . Is preservation a work of God? "Jesus Christ upholds all things by the word of his power, "  Hebrews 1:3 . Is the mission of the prophets a work of God? Jesus Christ is the Lord God of the holy prophets; and it was the Spirit of Christ which testified to them beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow,  Nehemiah 9:30 .  Revelation 22:6;  Revelation 22:16 .  1 Peter 1:11 . Is the salvation of sinners a work of God? Christ is the Saviour of all that believe,  John 4:42 .  Hebrews 5:9 . Is the forgiveness of sin a work of God? The Son of Man hath power to forgive sins,  Matthew 9:6 . The same might be said of the illumination of the mind; the sanctification of the heart; the resurrection of the dead: the judging of the world; the glorification of the righteous; the eternal punishment of the wicked; all which works, in one part of Scripture, are ascribed to God; and all which, in another part of Scripture, are ascribed to Jesus Christ. Now, if Jesus Christ be not God, into what contradictions these writers must fall! They contradict one another: they contradict themselves. Either Jesus Christ is God, or their conduct is unaccountable.

5. Consider that divine worship which Scriptures claim for Jesus Christ. It is a command of God, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, "  Matthew 4:20 . yet the Scriptures command "all the angels of God to worship Christ, "  Hebrews 1:6 . Twenty times, in the New Testament, grace, mercy, and peace, are implored of Christ, together with the Father. Baptism is an act of worship performed in his name,  Matthew 28:19 . Swearing is an act of worship; a solemn appeal in important cases to the omniscient God; and this appeal is made to Christ,  Romans 9:1 . The committing to the soul to God at death is a sacred act of worship: in the performance of this act, Stephen died, saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,  Acts 7:59 . The whole host of heaven worship him that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb, for ever and ever,  Revelation 5:14;  Revelation 15:1-8 :

6. Observe the application of Old Testament passages which belong to Jehovah, to Jesus in the New Testament, and try whether you can acquit the writers of the New Testament of misrepresentation, on supposition that Jesus is not God. St. Paul says, "We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ." That we shall all be judged, we allow; but how do you prove that Christ shall be our Judge? Because, adds the apostle, it is written, "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God, "  Romans 14:10-11 , with Is. 45: 20, &c. What sort of reasoning is this? How does this apply to Christ, if Christ be not God? And how dare a man quote one of the most guarded passages in the Old Testament for such a purpose? John the Baptist is he who was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, Prepare ye the way,  Matthew 3:1;  Matthew 3:3 . Isaiah saith, Prepare ye the way of THE LORD; make straight a highway for OUR GOD, Is. 40: 3, &c. But what has John the Baptist to do with all this description if Jesus Christ be only a messenger of Jehovah, and not Jehovah himself? for Isaiah saith, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah. Compare also  Zechariah 12:10 . with  John 19:1-42 . Is. 6: with  John 12:39 . Is. 8: 13, 14. with  1 Peter 2:8 . Allow Jesus Christ to be God, and all these applications are proper. If we deny it, the New Testament, we must own is one of the most unaccountable compositions in the world, calculated to make easy things hard to be understood.

7. Examine whether events have justified that notion of Christianity which the prophets gave their countrymen of it, if Jesus Christ be not God. The calling of the Gentiles from the worship of idols to the worship of the one living and true God, is one event, which, the prophets said, the coming of the Messiah should bring to pass. If Jesus Christ be God, the event answers the prophecy; if not, the event is not come to pass, for Christians in general worship Jesus, which is idolatry, if he be not God,  Isaiah 2:1-22 :   Zephaniah 2:11 .  Zechariah 14:9 . the primitive Christians certainly worshipped Him as God. Pliny, who was appointed governor of the province of Bithynia by the emperor Trajan, in the year 103, examined and punished several Christians for their non-conformity to the established religion of the empire. In a letter to the emperor, giving an account of his conduct, he declares, "they affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was that they met on a certain slated day, before it was light, and addressed themselves in a form of prayer to Christ as to some God."

Thus Pliny meant to inform the emperor that Christians worshipped Christ. Justin Martyr, who lived about 150 years after Christ, asserts, that the Christians worshipped the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Besides his testimony, there are numberless passages in the fathers that attest the truth in question; especially in Tertullian, Hippolytus, Felix, &c. Mahomet, who lived in the sixth century, considers Christians in the light of infidels and idolaters throughout the Koran; and indeed, had not Christians worshipped Christ, he could have had no shadow of a pretence to reform their religion, and to bring them back to the worship of one God. That the far greater part of Christians have continued to worship Jesus, will not be doubted; now, if Christ be not God, then the Christians have been guilty of idolatry; and if they have been guilty of idolatry, then it must appear remarkable that the apostles, who foretold the corruptions of Christianity,  2 Timothy 3:1-17 : should never have foreseen nor warned us against worshiping Christ. In no part of the Scripture is there the least intimation of Christians falling into idolatry in this respect. Surely if this had been an error which was so universally to prevail, those Scriptures which are able to make us wise unto salvation, would have left us warning on so important a topic. Lastly, consider what numberless passages of Scripture have no sense, or a very absurd one, if Jesus Christ be a mere man.

See  Romans 1:3 .  1 Timothy 3:16 .  John 14:9;  John 17:5 .  Philippians 2:6 .  Psalms 110:1;  Psalms 110:4 .  1 Timothy 1:2 .  Acts 22:12;  Acts 9:17 .

But though Jesus Christ be God, yet for our sakes, and for our salvation, he took upon him human nature; this is therefore called his humanity. Marcion, Apelles, Valentinus, and many other heretics, denied Christ's humanity, as some have done since. But that Christ had a true human body, and not a mere human shape, or a body that was not real flesh, is very evident from the sacred Scriptures, Is. 7: 12.  Luke 24:39 .  Hebrews 2:14 .  Luke 1:42 .  Philippians 2:7-8 .  John 1:14 . Besides, he ate, drank, slept, walked, worked, and was weary, He groaned, bled, and died, upon the cross. It was necessary that he should thus be human, in order to fulfil the divine designs and prophecies respecting the shedding of his blood for our salvation, which could not have been done had he not possessed a real body. It is also as evident that he assumed our whole nature, soul as well as body. If he had not, he could not have been capable of that sore amazement and sorrow unto death, and all those other acts of grieving, feeling, rejoicing, &c. ascribed to him. It was not, however, our sinful nature he assumed, but the likeness of it,  Romans 8:2 . for he was without sin, and did no iniquity. His human nature must not be confounded with his divine; for though there be an union of natures in Christ, yet there is not a mixture or confusion of them or their properties.

His humanity is not changed into his deity, nor his deity into humanity; but the two natures are distinct in one person. How this union exists is above our comprehension; and, indeed, if we cannot explain how our own bodies and souls are united, it is not to be supposed we can explain this astonishing mystery of God manifest in the flesh.

See Mediator We now proceed to the character of Jesus Christ, which, while it affords us the most pleasing subject for meditation., exhibits to us an example of the most perfect and delightful kind. "Here, " as an elegant writer observes "every grace that can recommend religion, and every virtue that can adorn humanity, are so blended, as to excite our admiration, and engage our love. In abstaining from licentious pleasures, he was equally free from ostentatious singularity and churlish sullenness. When he complied with the established ceremonies of his countrymen, that compliance was not accompanied by any marks of bigotry or superstition: when he opposed their rooted prepossessions, his opposition was perfectly exempt from the captious petulance of a controversialist, and the undistinguishing zeal of an innovator. His courage was active in encountering the dangers to which he was exposed, and passive under the aggravated calamities which the malice of his foes heaped upon him: his fortitude was remote from every appearance of rashness, and his patience was equally exempt from abject pusillanimity: he was firm without obstinacy, and humble without meanness.

Though possessed of the most unbounded power, we behold him living continually in a state of voluntary humiliation and poverty; we see him daily exposed to almost every species of want and distress; afflicted without a comforter, persecuted without a protector; and wandering about, according to his own pathetic complaint, because he had not where to lay his head. Though regardless of the pleasures, and sometimes destitute of the comforts of life, he never provokes our disgust by the sourness of the misanthrope, or our contempt by the inactivity of the recluse. His attention to the welfare of mankind was evidenced not only by his salutary injunctions, but by his readiness to embrace every opportunity of relieving their distress and administering to their wants. In every period and circumstance of his life, we behold dignity and elevation blended with love and pity; something, which, though it awakens our admiration, yet attracts our confidence. We see power; but it is power which is rather our security than our dread; a poser softened with tenderness, and soothing while it awes. With all the gentleness of a meek and lowly mind, we behold an heroic firmness, which no terrors could restrain. In the private scenes of life, and in the public occupation of his ministry; whether the object of admiration or ridicule, of love or of persecution; whether welcomed with hosannas, or insulted with anathemas, we still see him pursuing with unwearied constancy the same end, and preserving the same integrity of life and manners.

" White's Sermons, ser. 5. Considering him as a Moral Teacher, we must be struck with the greatest admiration. As Dr. Paley observes, "he preferred solid to popular virtues, a character which is commonly despised, to a character universally extolled, he placed, in our licentious vices, the check in the right place, viz. upon the thoughts; he collected human duty into two well-devised rules; he repeated these rules, and laid great stress upon them, and thereby fixed the sentiments of his followers; he excluded all regard to reputation in our devotion and alms, and, by parity of reason, in our other virtues; his instructions were delivered in a form calculated for impression; they were illustrated by parables, the choice and structure of which would have been admired in any composition whatever: he was free from the usual symptoms of enthusiasm, heat, and vehemence in devotion, austerity in institutions, and a wild particularity in the description of a future state; he was free also from the depravities of his age and country; without superstition among the most superstitious of men, yet not decrying positive distinctions or external observances, but soberly recalling them to the principle of their establishment, and to their place in the scale of human duties; there was nothing of sophistry or trifling, though amidst teachers, remarkable for nothing so much as frivolous subtilties and quibbling expositions: he was candid and liberal in his judgment of the rest of mankind, although belonging to a people who affected a separate claim to divine favour, and, in consequence of that opinion, prone to uncharitableness, partiality, and restriction; in his religion there was no scheme of building up a hierarchy, or of ministering to the views of human governments; in a word, there was every thing so grand in doctrine, and so delightful in manner, that the people might well exclaim

Surely, never man spake like this man!" As to his example, bishop Newcome observes, "it was of the most perfect piety to God, and of the most extensive benevolence and the most tender compassion to men. He does not merely exhibit a life of strict justice, but of overflowing benignity. His temperance has not the dark shades of austerity; his meekness does not degenerate into apathy; his humility is signal, amidst a splendour of qualities more than human; his fortitude is eminent and exemplary in enduring the most formidable external evils, and the sharpest actual sufferings. His patience is invincible; his resignation entire and absolute. Truth and sincerity shine throughout his whole conduct. Though of heavenly descent, he shows obedience and affection to his earthly parents; he approves, loves, and attaches himself to amiable qualities in the human race; he respects authority, religious and civil; and he evidences regard for his country, by promoting its most essential good in a painful ministry dedicated to its service, by deploring its calamities, and by laying down his life for its benefit. Every one of his eminent virtues is regulated by consummate prudence: and he both wins the love of his friends, and extorts the approbation and wonder of his enemies.

Never was a character at the same time so commanding and natural, so resplendent and pleasing, so amiable and venerable. There is a peculiar contrast in it between an awful greatness, dignity, and majesty, and the most conciliating loveliness, tenderness, and softness. He now converses with prophets, lawgivers, and angels; and the next instant he meekly endures the dulness of his disciples, and the blasphemies and rage of the multitude. He now calls himself greater than Solomon; one who can command legions of angels; and giver of life to whomsoever he pleaseth; the Son of God, who shall sit on his glorious throne to judge the world: at other times we find him embracing young children; not lifting up his voice in the streets, nor quenching the smoking flax; calling his disciples not servants, but friends and brethren, and comforting them with an exuberant and parental affection. Let us pause an instant, and fill our minds with the idea of one who knew all things, heavenly and earthly; searched and laid open the inmost recesses of the heart; rectified every prejudice, and removed every mistake of a moral and religious kind; by a word exercised a sovereignty over all nature, penetrated the hidden events of futurity, gave promises of admission into a happy immortality, had the keys of life and death, claimed an union with the Father; and yet was pious, mild, gentle, humble, affable, social, benevolent, friendly, and affectionate. Such a character is fairer than the morning star. Each separate virtue is made stronger by opposition and contrast: and the union of so many virtues forms a brightness which fitly represents the glory of that God 'who inhabiteth light inaccessible.'"

See Robinson's Plea for the Divinity of Christ, from which many of the above remarks are taken; Bishop Bull's Judgment of the Catholic Church; Abbadie, Waterland, Hawker, and Hey, on the Divinity of Christ; Reader, Stackhouse, and Doyley's Lives of Christ; Dr. Jamieson's View of the Doctrine of Scripture, and the Primitive Faith concerning the Deity of Christ; Owen on the Glory of Christ's Person; Hurrion's Christ Crucified; Bishop Newcome's Observation on our Lord's Conduct; and Paley's Evidences of Christianity.

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

The believers of the New Testament did not first “read” Jesus Christ chronologically. That is, they did not set down to construct a doctrine called Christology that would move from preexistence to parousia (final coming). Rather, they were caught up in the historical reality of what God was doing for them and all the world through Jesus Christ. Looking at the different episodes of the Christ event should show the New Testament understanding of Jesus, God's Christ.

Resurrection Jesus' resurrection grasped the early believers. The walk of the risen Christ with those burning hearts en route to Emmaus, the appearance of the risen Christ first to Mary Magdalene, the appearance and commissions of the risen Christ to His disciples—these things which no other experience can duplicate nor any other religious movement validate claimed the Christians' attention in an unforgetable way. People of the first century had seen people die before. None before or since had seen a person bring God's resurrection life to bear on this world's most pressing problem, death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian gospel ( 1 Corinthians 15:1 ).

The Death of Jesus Christ He who was raised on the first day of the week was the same as the One who had died three days earlier. His was not simply a natural death. It was a ritual murder carried out by the authorities of Rome, engineered by the religious leaders of that day, but made necessary by the sins of all who ever lived. Jesus was delivered up by His own people and put to death by a cruel political regime, but the earliest New Testament communities saw in this tragedy the determinate will of God ( Acts 1-12 ). Paul connected Jesus' death to the sacrificial ideas of the Old Testament and saw in the giving of this life a vicarious act for all humankind. Jesus' death was a major stumbling block for Israel. How could God's Christ be “hung on a tree” and fall under the curse of the law ( Galatians 3:1 ) when He did not deserve it.

Jesus as Doer of God's Mighty Works This One who was raised, the same One who died, had performed the miracles of God's kingdom in our time and space. John testified that in the doing of God's mighty works Jesus was the prophet sent from God ( John 6:14 ). He healed all kinds of persons, a sign of God's ultimate healing. He raised some from the dead, a sign that He would bring God's resurrection life to all who would receive it. He cast out evil spirits as a preview of God's final shutting away of the evil one ( Revelation 20:1 ). He was Lord over nature, indicating that by His power God was already beginning to create a new heaven and a new earth ( Revelation 21:1 ). The spectacular impact of His mighty works reinforced and called to mind the power of His teachings.

Jesus' Teachings “Never man spake like this man” with such authority ( John 7:46; compare  Matthew 7:29 ). His teachings were about “the Father,” what He wanted, what He was like, what He would do for His creation. Jesus' teachings required absolute obedience and love for God and the kingdom of God. He dared claim that the kingdom had begun in His ministry but would not be culminated until Christ's final coming. Until that coming, Christians were to live in the world by the ethical injunctions He gave ( Matthew 5-7 ) and in the kind of love He had shown and commanded ( John 14-16 ). To help earthly people understand heavenly things, He spoke in parables. These parables were from realistic, real-life settings. They were about the kingdom of God—what it was like, what was required to live in it, what was the meaning of life according to its teachings, what the kingdom promised. One of the promises of the kingdom was that the King would return and rule in it.

Jesus' Ultimate Coming Just as the first coming of Jesus Christ was according to prophecy, so the final coming of Christ is to be by divine promise and prediction. The earliest Christians expected Christ's coming immediately ( 1 Thessalonians 4:1 ). This must be the expectation of the churches in every age ( Revelation 1-3 ). It was the same Jesus who ascended who will return ( Acts 1:1 ). His return heralds the end and brings an end to the struggle of good and evil, the battle between the kingdoms of this world which must become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ ( Revelation 11:15 ). In the meanwhile His followers must work to eat ( 2 Thessalonians 3:1 ). His followers must go and tell; His followers must unite the hope of eschatology and the life of ethics in a fashion that will share the gospel with all the world ( Matthew 28:19-20 ). The time of His final coming is not a Christian's primary concern ( Acts 1:5-6 ). Natural calamities, man-made tragedies, and great suffering will precede His coming ( Matthew 13:1;  Matthew 24-25 ). All of these will find His people faithful, even as He is to His promise—found faithful even as God was to God's promises in sending this Child of promise to the world.

The Birth of Jesus Christ The Gospels began in the heart of God and in the resurrection faith of the writers, but Matthew and Luke begin with the story of Jesus' birth. His conception was virginal. His advent was announced by angels. His actual birth occurred in a place and time that seemed to be no place and time for a baby to be born. Angels announced. Shepherds heard, came, and wondered. Magi came later to bring gifts. A wrathful and jealous King (Herod) killed many innocent children hoping to find the right one. The “right One” escaped to Egypt. Upon returning, He went to Nazareth, was reared in the home of the man Joseph, was taken to Jerusalem where His knowledge of His Father's business surprised and inconvenienced them all—the doctors and the parents. At birth He seemed destined for death. At baptism He was sealed to be a suffering Messiah. Those were times in which He and the Father were working things out, so that when ministry came Jesus could “work the works of him that sent me, while it is day” ( John 9:4 ). But Bethlehem was not the beginning of the story.

Jesus' Preexistence Eternity began the story. If this one is the Son of God, then He must be tied on to the ancient people of God. He must be in the beginning. with God ( John 1:1 ). Preexistence was not the first reflection of the early church about Jesus Christ, nor was it merely an afterthought. The purpose of Jesus' preexistence is to tie Him onto God and to what God had been doing through Israel.  Matthew 1:1 established by His genealogy that Jesus is related to David, is related to Moses, is related to Abraham—one cannot be more integrally related to Israel than that.   Luke 3:1 established by His genealogy that Jesus is vitally related to all humans. Jesus came from Mary; but ultimately He came from God via a lineage that extends back to Adam, who was the direct child of God. Paul spoke of the fully divine Son of God who came down from God, who redeems us, and who returns to God (  Ephesians 3:1 ). This heavenly Christ emptied Himself and became like us for our sake ( Philippians 2:1 ). God determined, before the foundation of the world, that the redemption of the world would be accomplished through Jesus, the Lord of Glory ( Ephesians 1:1 ). John began a new Genesis with his bold assertion that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God” ( John 1:1 ). This Word (Greek, logos ) has become flesh ( John 1:14 ) so that qualified witnesses can see, touch, and hear the revelation of God ( 1 John 1:1-4 ). It may have been in this way from resurrection to preexistence that early Christians stitched together, under the guidance of God, the story of Jesus. But His story lay also in His names, His titles, what He was called.

The Names and Titles of Jesus Jesus' own proper name is a Greek version of the Hebrew “Joshua,” salvation is from Yahweh. His very name suggests His purpose. “He shall save his people from their sins” ( Matthew 1:21 ). This One is Immanuel, God with us ( Isaiah 7:14;  Matthew 1:23 ). Mark began his brief Gospel in some manuscripts by introducing Jesus as the Son of God ( Mark 1:1 ). Luke's shepherds knew Him as “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” ( Luke 2:11 ). John pulled out all the stops in his melodic introduction of Jesus Christ: the Word who made the world ( John 1:1-3 ), the Life ( John 1:4 ), the Light ( John 1:5 ), the Glory of God ( John 1:14 ), One full of grace and truth ( John 1:17 ), the Son who makes the Father known ( John 1:18 ). Paul addressed Him as “the Lord”—the earliest Christian confession was that Jesus (is) Lord. The lordship of Christ is tied to the reverence for the name of God and is an assessment of Jesus' worth as well as Paul's relationship to Him. Since Christ is Lord ( kurios ), Paul is servant ( doulos ). The Gospels herald the message of the Son of Man, He who was humbled, who suffered, who will come again. Hebrews cast Jesus in the role of priest, God's great and final High Priest, who both makes the sacrifice and is the sacrifice. Thomas, known for his doubting, should also be remembered for faith's greatest application about Christ: “My Lord and my God” ( John 20:28 ). The metaphors of John's Gospel invite us to reflect on Jesus Christ, God's great necessity. John portrays Jesus as the Water of life ( John 4:14 ); the Bread of life ( John 6:41 ); the Light ( John 8:12 ); the Door ( John 10:7 ); the Good Shepherd ( John 10:11 ); the Resurrection and the Life ( John 11:25 ); the Way, the Truth, the Life ( John 14:6 ).

Summary Christ is the way to God. His way of being in the world was a way of obedience, faithfulness, and service. The earliest Christians saw who He was in what He did. In the great deed of the cross they saw the salvation of the world. The inspired writers offered no physical descriptions of the earthly Jesus. The functional way the New Testament portrays Him is found in the statement that He was a man “who went about doing good” ( Acts 10:38 ). The good that He did came into dramatic conflict with the evil all mankind has done. This conflict saw Him crucified, but a Roman soldier saw in this crucified One (the) Son of God ( Mark 15:39 ). God did not “suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” ( Acts 2:27 ). With the one shattering new act since creation, God raised Jesus from the dead. See Christ; Christology.

J. Ramsey Michaels

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Jesus Christ. The name of the Saviour, signifying his work and authority; Jesus (the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua) means Jehovah Saves, or Saviour,  Matthew 1:21. Christ (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah) means anointed. Jesus was his common, name during his life on earth) generally used in the gospels. Christ is his official name, frequently used alone or with Jesus in the epistles. Jesus occurs in the Bible 711 times; Christ 304 times; Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ Jesus (anointed Saviour), 244 times, and Messiah 4 times. He has many other titles and names in Scripture, as "Immanuel,"  Matthew 1:23; "Son of God,"  John 1:34; "Son of man,"  John 8:28; "Son of David," etc.,  Mark 10:47-48; in all, upwards of 100 titles, indicating his character, life, and work.

The predictions concerning Christ were many—about 150 or more—and were made at various periods of Old Testament history. He was to be born in Bethlehem, a small village,  Micah 5:2; he was to be a king with a universal and perpetual empire,  Psalms 2:6;  Psalms 45:2-7;  Psalms 72:1-20;  Isaiah 9:6-7; yet would be despised and rejected.  Isaiah 53:1-12. He was to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf,  Isaiah 35:5-6, and yet to be betrayed, sold and slain and his grave appointed with the wicked. Yet his sufferings should make many righteous.  Isaiah 11:1-9;  Isaiah 60:1-11. He was to do the work of a prophet,  Isaiah 42:1-7; of a priest,  Psalms 110:4;  Zechariah 6:13; and of a king.  Daniel 7:14. These predictions, and many others of like nature, were all fulfilled in Jesus the Son of Mary.

He is the centre of all Jewish and Christian history; the "Holy of Holies" in the history of the world. There is space here for the briefest outline only of his human life, Ms mysterious person, and his work.

His Life.—While Augustus was emperor of Rome, and Herod the Great king in Jerusalem, Jesus was born four years before 1 a.d., the Christian era having been fixed by Dionysius Exiguus of the sixth century, four years too late. Mary, a virgin, betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth, gave birth to Jesus at Bethlehem according to Micah's prophecy.  Micah 5:2. Angels celebrated it with songs, and wise men from the East brought precious gifts to the new-born babe. To escape Herod's threats, the child Jesus was taken to Egypt, but later settled with his parents at Nazareth. Only one event of his childhood is known—a visit when 12 years old to Jerusalem, when he astonished the doctors by his words and questions. He was trained as other Jewish lads of his station. At three the boy was weaned, and wore for the first time the fringed or tasselled garment prescribed by  Numbers 15:38-41 and  Deuteronomy 22:12. His education began at first under the mother's care. At five he was to learn the law, at first by extracts written on scrolls of the more important passages, the Shemà or creed of  Deuteronomy 2:4; the Hallel or festival psalms,  Psalms 114:1-8;  Psalms 118:1-29;  Psalms 136:1-26, and by catechetical teaching in school. At 12 he became more directly responsible for Ms obedience to the law; and on the day when he attained the age of 13, put on for the first time the phylacteries which were worn at the recital of his daily prayer. In addition to this, Jesus learned the carpenter's trade of Joseph.

Ministry. —His public ministry is usually regarded as lasting upwards of three years. John records more of the Judæan ministry, Luke more of his Peræan ministry, while Matthew and Mark give his Galilean ministry, as does Luke also. John the Baptist, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius,  Luke 3:1, produced a deep impression by preaching repentance. Jesus sought baptism at his hands, and was tempted of the devil. He then went to Cana of Galilee, where he worked his first miracle at a wedding. With some disciples, he set out for Jerusalem to keep the passover. His first work was the cleansing of the temple from traffickers and money-changers—which he repeated near the close of his ministry.  Matthew 21:12. He received a visit by night from Nicodemus. Presently the Baptist was thrown into prison and the Saviour withdrew to Galilee. On his way through Samaria he conversed with a woman at Jacob's well. At Nazareth ho was rejected by the people, and went to Capernaum, which henceforth became "his own city." Here he called Peter and Andrew and James and John, and made his first tour through Galilee, performing many miracles. Early in the second year of his ministry Jesus went up to Jerusalem to a feast of the Jews,  John 5:1, and healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda, explained the right use of the Sabbath, a subject which he resumed when his disciples were plucking ears of corn on Ms return to Galilee. When he reached the Sea of Galilee multitudes followed him. He appointed the twelve apostles and delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and commenced a second tour in Galilee, during which he delivered the series of parables in  Matthew 13:1-58, stilled the storm on Galilee, healed the demoniacs of Gadara, raised the daughter of Jairus, and after other miracles came again to Nazareth, where he was again rejected. He then made a third tour in Galilee, and sent forth the apostles, giving the instructions recorded in  Matthew 10:11. After an interval of some months the twelve returned, and with them he retired to the Sea of Galilee, fed the 5000, walked on the water, and delivered his sermon on the bread or life,  John 6:1-71, in the synagogue at Capernaum. Early in the third year of his ministry, Jesus disputed with the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands, and went toward the northwest, healed the daughter of the Syrophœnician woman, and then passed around to Decapolis, where he wrought many miracles and fed 4000. Near Cæsarea Philippi Peter made his confession of faith, and then Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection and the trials of Ms followers. The transfiguration followed, and the next morning the healing of an epileptic child. On the way back to Capernaum he again foretold his sufferings, and exhorted the disciples to humility, forbearance, and brotherly love. About this time he instructed and sent out the 70 on their mission. Then he left Galilee, and having cleansed ten lepers came to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles.  John 7:2. Here he taught in public, and answered a lawyer's question with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The healing of the man born blind led to a long discourse, which aroused the rulers, and Jesus retired beyond Jordan. In Peræa, on his way to Jerusalem, he uttered the parables of the lost sheep, the unjust steward, the rich man and Lazarus, and the pharisee and the publican; five precepts concerning divorce: blessed little children; taught the rich young ruler. He raised Lazarus at Bethany. A third time he foretold his death and resurrection, and approaching Jericho healed blind men, called Zacchæus, and gave the parable of the pounds. He arrived at Bethany six days before the passover. At supper, in Simon's house, he is anointed. At the beginning of the last week before the crucifixion Jesus made a public entry into the city, spoke parables and warnings, lamented over Jerusalem, praised the widow's mite, met certain Greeks and predicted his second coming with solemn warnings confirmed by the parables of the ten virgins, the five talents, and the sheep and the goats. At the last or fourth passover with the twelve, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, delivered his farewell discourses, and withdrew to Gethsemane. After the agony in the garden he was arrested and in the night brought before Annas, and then Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, and in the morning before Pilate and Herod. Pilate yielded to the Jews, delivered Jesus to be mocked and crucified. He was buried and a watch set upon the tomb. On the morning of the third day the tomb was found empty, and soon he appeared to the women, then to the disciples, who could hardly believe the fact. During 40 days he taught them, and then, near Bethany, ascended to heaven in their sight.

Mysterious Person.— The great peculiarity of the Scripture doctrine of the Person of Christ is that he is God and man united, two natures forming one personality. "He is not divine alone, nor human alone, but divine-human." He is the Eternal Word,  John 1:1-51, the Son of God, and he is also the Son of man.  Mark 11:13. This may be difficult for us to comprehend; but if a finite mind could comprehend the whole of Christ's nature, Christ could not be the infinite God he is declared to be.  John 1:4.

Work And Offices Of Christ.— These are usually presented as threefold. The Bible and Evangelical creeds describe the Mediator as a prophet, priest, and king. As prophet he perfectly reveals the will of the Father to man; as priest he is the perfect offering for sin, procuring redemption for all who will accept of it; as king, he is and will become rightful ruler and judge of this world, and be exalted above every name that is named, putting all things under him, receiving the praises of all created intelligences.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Je'sus Christ. "The life and character of Jesus Christ ," says Dr. Schaff, "is the Holy of Holies in the history of the world."

I. Name. - The name Jesus signifies Saviour. It is the Greek form of Jehoshua (Joshua ). The name Christ signifies Anointed. Jesus was both priest and king.

Among the Jews, priests were anointed, as their inauguration to their office.  1 Chronicles 16:22. In the New Testament, the name Christ is used as equivalent to the Hebrew, Messiah. (Anointed),  John 1:41, the name given to the long-promised Prophet and King whom the Jews had been taught by their prophets to expect.  Matthew 11:3;  Acts 19:4. The use of this name, as applied to the Lord, has always a reference to the promises of the prophets.

The name of Jesus is the proper name of our Lord, and that of Christ is added to identify him with the promised Messiah . Other names are sometimes added to the names Jesus Christ , thus, "Lord," "a king," "King of Israel," "Emmanuel," "Son of David," "chosen of God."

II. Birth. - Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, God being his father, at Bethlehem of Judea, six miles south of Jerusalem. The date of his birth was most probably in December, B.C. 5, four years before the era from which we count our years. That era was not used till several hundred years after Christ . The calculations were made by a learned monk, Dionysius Exiguus, in the sixth century, who made an error of four years; so that to get the exact date from the birth of Christ we must add four years to our usual dates; that is, A.D. 1882 is really 1886 years since the birth of Christ .

It is also more than likely that our usual date for Christmas, December 25, is not far from the real date of Christ's birth. Since the 25th of December comes when the longest night gives way to the returning sun on his triumphant march, it makes an appropriate anniversary to make the birth of him who appeared in the darkest night of error and sin as the true Light of the world.

At the time of Christ's birth, Augustus Caesar was emperor of Rome, and Herod the Great was king of Judea, but a subject of Rome. God's providence had prepared the world for the coming of Christ , and this was the fittest time in all its history. All the world was subject to one government, so that the apostles could travel everywhere: the door of every land was open for the gospel. The world was at peace, so that the gospel could have free course. The Greek language was spoken everywhere with their other languages. The Jews were scattered everywhere with synagogues and Bibles.

III. Early Life. - Jesus , having a manger at Bethlehem for his cradle, received a visit of adoration from the three wise men of the East. At forty days old, he was taken to the Temple at Jerusalem; and returning to Bethlehem, was soon taken to Egypt to escape Herod's massacre of the infants there. After a few months stay there, Herod having died in April, B.C. 4, the family returned to their Nazareth home, where Jesus lived till he was about thirty years old, subject to his parent, and increasing "in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."

The only incident recorded of his early life is his going up to Jerusalem to attend the Passover when he was twelve years old, and his conversation with the learned men in the Temple. But we can understand the childhood and youth of Jesus better when we remember the surrounding influences amid which he grew. The natural scenery was rugged and mountainous, but full of beauty. He breathed the pure air. He lived in a village, not in a city. The Roman dominion was irksome and galling. The people of God were subject to a foreign yoke. The taxes were heavy. Roman soldiers, laws, money, every reminded them of their subjection, when they ought to be free and themselves the rulers of the world.

When Jesus was ten years old, there was a great insurrection,  Acts 5:37, in Galilee. He who was to be King of the Jews heard and felt all this. The Jewish hopes of a Redeemer, of throwing off their bondage, of becoming the glorious nation promised in the prophet, were in the very air he breathed. The conversation at home and in the streets was full of them. Within his view, and his boyish excursions, were many remarkable historic places, - rivers, hills, cities, plains, - that would keep in mind the history of his people and God's dealings with them.

His school training. Mr. Deutsch, in the Quarterly Review, says, "Eighty years before Christ , schools flourished throughout the length and the breadth of the land: education had been made compulsory. While there is not a single term for 'school' to be found before the captivity, there were by that time about a dozen in common usage. Here are a few of the innumerable popular sayings of the period: 'Jerusalem was destroyed because the instruction of the young was neglected.' 'The world is only saved by the breath of the school-children.' 'Even for the rebuilding of the Temple the schools must not be interrupted.' "

His home training. According to Ellicott, the stages of Jewish childhood were marked as follows: "At three, the boy was weaned, and wore, for the first time, the fringed or tasselled garment prescribed by  Numbers 15:38-41 and  Deuteronomy 22:12. His education began at first under the mother's care. At five, he was to learn the law, at first by extracts written on scrolls of the more important passages, the Shema or creed of  Deuteronomy 2:4, the Hallel or festival psalms, Psalms 114; Psalms 118; Psalms 136, and by catechetical teaching in school.

At twelve, he became more directly responsible for his obedience of the law; and on the day when he attained the age of thirteen, put on for the first time, the phylacteries which were worn at the recital of his daily prayer." In addition to this, Jesus no doubt learned the carpenter's trade of his reputed father Joseph, and, as Joseph probably died before Jesus began his public ministry, he may have contributed to the support of his mother.

(IV. Public Ministry. - All the leading events recorded of Jesus' life are given at the end of this volume in the Chronological Chart and in the Chronological Table of the life of Christ ; so that here will be given only a general survey.

Jesus began to enter upon his ministry when he was "about thirty years old;" that is, he was not very far from thirty, older or younger. He is regarded as nearly thirty-one by Andrews (in the tables of chronology referred to above) and by most others. Having been baptized by John early in the winter of 26-27, he spent the larger portion of his year in Judea and about the lower Jordan, till in December he went northward to Galilee through Samaria. The next year and a half, from December, A.D. 27, to October or November, A.D. 29, was spent in Galilee and norther Palestine, chiefly in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee.

In November, 29, Jesus made his final departure from Galilee, and the rest of his ministry was in Judea and Perea, beyond Jordan, till his crucifixion, April 7, A.D. 30. After three days, he proved his divinity by rising from the dead; and after appearing on eleven different occasions to his disciples during forty days, he finally ascended to heaven, where he is the living, ever present, all-powerful Saviour of his people.

Jesus Christ , being both human and divine, is fitted to be the true Saviour of men. In this, as in every action and character, he is shown to be "the wisdom and power of God unto salvation." As human, he reaches down to our natures, sympathizes with us, shows us that God knows all our feelings and weaknesses and sorrows and sins, brings God near to us, who otherwise could not realize the Infinite and Eternal as a father and friend. He is divine, in order that he may be an all-powerful, all-loving Saviour, able and willing to defend us from every enemy, to subdue all temptations, to deliver from all sin, and to bring each of his people, and the whole Church, into complete and final victory. Jesus Christ is the centre of the world's history, as he is the centre of the Bible. - Editor).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [10]

The Son of God, the Messiah and Savior of the World, the first and principal object of the prophecies; who was prefigured and promised in the Old Testament; was expected and desired by the patriarchs; the hope and salvation of the Gentiles; the glory, happiness, and consolation of Christians. The name JESUS, in Hebrew Jehoshuah or Joshua, signifies Savior, or Jehovah saves. No one ever bore this name with so much justice, nor so perfectly fulfilled the signification of it, as Jesus Christ, who saves from sin and hell, and has merited heaven for us by the price of his blood. It was given to him by divine appointment,  Matthew 1:21 , as the proper name for the Savior so long desired, and whom all the myriads of the redeemed in heaven will for ever adore as their only and all-glorious Redeemer.

JESUS was the common name of the Savior; while the name Christ , meaning the Anointed One, The Messiah, was his official name. Both names are used separately, in the gospels and also in the epistles; but JESUS generally stands by itself in the gospels, which are narratives of his life; while in the epistles, which treat of his divine nature and of his redeeming work, he is called Christ , Christ Jesus or THE Lord Jesus Christ See Christ .

Here, under the Redeemer's human name, belong the facts relating to his human nature and the history of his life upon earth. His true and complete humanity, having the soul as well as the body of man, is everywhere seen in the gospel history. He who is "God over all, blessed forever," was an Israelite "as concerning the flesh,"  Romans 9:5 , and took upon him our whole nature, in order to be a perfect Savior. As a man, Jesus was the King of men. No words can describe that character in which such firmness and gentleness, such dignity and humility, such enthusiasm and calmness, such wisdom and simplicity, such holiness and charity, such justice and mercy, such sympathy with heaven and with earth, such love to God and love to man blended in perfect harmony. Nothing in it was redundant, and nothing was wanting. The world had never produced, nor even conceived of such a character, and its portraiture in the gospels is a proof of their divine origin, which the infidel cannot gainsay. Could the whole human race, of all ages, kindreds, and tongues, be assembled to see the crucified Redeemer as he is, and compare earth's noblest benefactors with Him, there would be but one voice among them. Every crown of glory and every meed of praise would be given to Him who alone is worthy-for perfection of character, for love to mankind, for sacrifices endured, and for benefits bestowed. His glory will forever be celebrated as the Friend of man; the Lamb sacrificed for us.

The visit of Jesus Christ to the earth has made it forever glorious above less favored worlds, and forms the most signal event in its annals. The time of his birth is commemorated by the Christian era, the first year of which corresponds to about the year 753 from the building of Rome. It is generally conceded, however, that the Savior was born at least four years before A. D. 1, and four thousand years after the creation of Adam. His public ministry commenced when he was thirty years of age; and continued, according to the received opinion, three and a half years. Respecting his ancestors, see Genealogy .

The life of the Redeemer must be studied in the four gospels, where it was recorded under the guidance of supreme wisdom. Many efforts have been made, with valuable results, to arrange the narrations of the evangelists in the true order of time. But as neither of the gospels follows the exact course of events, many incidents are very indeterminate, and are variously arranged by different harmonists. No one, however, has been more successful than Dr. Robinson in his valuable "Harmony of the Gospels".

The divine wisdom is conspicuous not only in what is taught us respecting the life of Jesus, but in what is withheld. Curiosity, and the higher motives of warm affection, raise numerous questions to which the gospels give no reply; and in proportion as men resort to dubious traditions, they lose the power of a pure and spiritual gospel. See further, concerning Christ, Messiah, Redeemer etc.

Jesus was not an uncommon name among the Jews. It was the name of the father of Elymas the sorcerer,  Acts 13:6; and of Justus, a fellow-laborer and friend of Paul,  Colossians 4:11 . It is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, or Jeshua, borne by the high priest in Ezra's time, and by the well-known leader of the Jews in to the Promised Land. See also  1 Samuel 6:14   2 Kings 23:8 . The Greek form of the word, Jesus, is twice used in the New Testament when Joshua the son of Nun is intended,  Acts 7:45   Hebrews 4:8 .

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

One of the glorious names of him which is, and, which was, and which is to come. ( Revelation 1:8; Rev 1:11) The name of Jesus, which is originally so called in the Greek tongue, signifies a Saviour. Hence the Hebrews call him, Jehoshuah, or Joshua, or Joshuah, he who shall save; and as Christ means, anointed of JEHOVAH, the Sent, the Sealed of the Father; full of grace and truth; both names together carry this blessed meaning with them, Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world by the anointing of JEHOVAH to all the purposes, of salvation. See Christ. I only detain the reader just to remark on the blessed name, that all that bore it in the Old Testament church became types, more or less, of the Lord Jesus. Joshua the successor of Moses, and Joshua the high priest in the church, after the church was brought back from Babylon. (See  Zechariah 3:1)

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [12]

See Christ, Christology.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

( Ι᾿Ησοῦς Χριστός , Ι᾿Ηοῦς Χριστός ; sometimes by Paul in the reverse order "Christ Jesus"), the ordinary designation of the incarnate Son of God and Savior of mankind. This double designation is not, like Simon Peter, John Mark, Joses Barnabas, composed of a name and a surname, but, like John the Baptist, Simon Magus, Bar-Jesus Elymas, of a proper name and an official title. JESUS was our Lord's proper name, just as Peter, James, and John were the proper names of three of his disciples. To distinguish our Lord from others bearing the name, he was termed Jesus of Nazareth ( John 18:7, etc., strictly Jesus The Nazarene, Ι᾿Ησοῦς Ναζωραῖος ), and Jesus the son of Joseph ( John 6:42, etc.).

I. Import Of The Name . There can be no doubt that Jesus is the Greek form of a Hebrew name, which had been borne by two illustrious individuals in former periods of the Jewish history the successor of Moses and introducer of Israel into the promised land ( Exodus 24:13), and the high priest who, along with Zerubbabel ( Zechariah 3:1), took so active a part in the reestablishment of the civil and religious polity of the Jews on their return from the Babylonish captivity. Its original and full form is Jehoshua ( Numbers 13:16). By contraction it became Joshua, or Jeshua; and when transferred into Greek, by taking the termination characteristic of that language, it assumed the form Jesus. It is thus that the names of the illustrious individuals referred to are uniformly written in the Sept., and the first of them is twice mentioned in the New Testament by this name ( Acts 7:45;  Hebrews 4:8).

The original name of Joshua was Hoshea ( הוֹשֵׁע , Saving ) , as appears in  Numbers 13:8;  Numbers 13:16, which was changed by Moses into Jehoshua ( יְהוֹשֻׁעִ , Jehovah is his Salvation ) , as appears in  Numbers 12:16;  1 Chronicles 7:27, being elsewhere Anglicized "Joshua." After the exile he is called by the abridged form of this name, Jeshua ( יֵשׁוּע , Id. ) , whence the Greek name Ι᾿Ησοῦς , by which this is always represented in the Sept. This last Heb. form differs little from the abstract noun from the same root, יְשׁוּעָה , Yeshuah ' , Deliverance, and seems to have been understood as equivalent in import (see  Matthew 1:22 comp. Ecclesiastes 46:1). The "name of Jesus" ( Philippians 2:10) is not the name Jesus, but "the name above every name" ( Philippians 2:9); i.e. the supreme dignity and authority with which the Father has invested Jesus Christ as the reward of his disinterested exertions in the cause of the divine glory and human happiness; and the bowing Ἐν Τῷ Ὀνόματι Ι᾿Ησοῦ is obviously not an external mark of homage when the name Jesus is pronounced, but the inward sense of awe and submission to him who is raised to a station so exalted.

The conferring of this name on our Lord was not the result of accident, or of the ordinary course of things, but was the effect of a direct divine order ( Luke 1:31;  Luke 2:21), as indicative of his saving function ( Matthew 1:21). Like the other name Immanuel (q.v.), it does not necessarily import the divine character of the wearer. This, however, clearly results from the attributes given in the same connection, and is plainly taught in numerous passages (see especially  Romans 1:3-4;  Romans 9:5). for the import and application of the name CHRIST, (See Messiah).

For a full discussion of the name Jesus, including many fanciful etymologies and explanations, with their refutation, see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. 2, 582; Simon. Onom. V. T. p. 519 sq.; Fritzsche, De nomine Jesu (Freiburg, 1705); Clodius, De nom. Chr. et Marioe Arabicis (Lips. 1724); Hottinger, Hist. Orient. p. 153,157; Seelen, Meditat. exeg. 2, 413; Thiess, Krit. Comment. 2, 395; A. Pfeiffer, De nomine Jesu, in his treatise De Talmude Judoeorum, p. 177 sq.; Baumgarten, Betracht. d. Namens Jesu (Halle, 1736); Chrysander, De vera forma atque emphasi nominis Jesu (Rintel. 1751); Osiander, Harmonia Evangelica (Basil. 1561), lib. 1, c. 6; Chemnitius, De nomine Jesu, in the Thes. Theol. Philol. (Amst. 1702), vol. 2, p. 62; Canini, Disquis. in loc. aliq. N.T., in the Crit. Sac. ix; Gass, De utroque J.C. nomine, Dei filii et nominis (Vratistl. 1840); and other monographs cited in Volbeding's Index, p. 6, 7; and in Hase's Leben Jesu, p. 51.

II. Personal Circumstances Of Our Lord . These, of course, largely affected his history, notwithstanding his divinity.

1. General View . The following is a naked statement of the facts of his career as they may be gathered from the evangelical narratives, supposing them to be entitled simply to the credit due to profane history. (For literature, see Volbeding, p. 56; Hase, p. 8.) The founder of the Christian religion was born (B.C. 6) at Bethlehem, near Jerusalem, under the reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, at the time betrothed to the carpenter ( Τέκτων ) Joseph, and descended from the royal house of David ( Matthew 1:1 sq.;  Luke 3:23 sq.; comp.  John 7:42). Soon after his birth he was compelled to escape from the murderous designs of Herod the Great by a hasty flight into the adjacent parts of Egypt ( Matthew 2:13 sq.; according to the tradition at Matarea, see Evangel. infant. Arab. c. 24; apparently a place near old Heliopolis, where is still shown a very old mulberry tree under which Mary is said to have rested with the babe, see Prosp. Alpin, Rer. AEg. 1, 5, p. 24; Paulus, Samml. 3, 256 sq.; Tischendorf, Reisen, 1, 141 sq.; comp. generally Hartmann, Erdbeschr. v. Africa, 1, 878 sq.). (See Egypt); (See Herod).

But immediately after the death of this king his parents returned to their own country, and settled again ( Luke 1:26) in Nazareth (q.v.), in Lower Galilee ( Matthew 2:23; comp.  Luke 4:16;  John 1:46, etc.), where the youthful Jesus so rapidly matured ( Luke 2:40;  Luke 2:52), that in his twelfth year the boy evinced at the metropolis traits of an uncommon religious intelligence, which excited astonishment in all the spectators ( Luke 2:41 sq.). With this event the history of his youth concludes in the canonical gospels, and we next find him, about the thirtieth year of his age (A.D. 25), in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea, at the Jordan, where he suffered himself to be consecrated for the introduction of the new divine dispensation ( Βασίλεια Τοῦ Θεοῦ ) by the symbol of water baptism at the hands of John the Baptist ( Matthew 3:13 sq.;  Mark 1:9 sq.;  Luke 3:21 sq.;  John 1:32 sq.). He now began, after a forty-days' fast (comp.  1 Kings 19:8) spent in the wilderness of Judea ( Matthew 4:1-11;  Mark 1:12 sq.;  Luke 4:1-13) in quiet meditation upon his mission, to publish openly in person this "kingdom of God," by earnestly summoning his countrymen to repentance, i.e. a fundamental reformation of their sentiments and conduct, through a new birth from the Holy Spirit ( John 3:3 sq.).

He repeatedly announced himself as the mediator of this dispensation, and in pursuance of this character, in correction of the sensual expectations of the people with reference to the long hoped for Redeemer (comp.  Luke 4:21), he chose from among his early associates and Galilaean countrymen a small number of faithful disciples (Matthew 10), and with them traveled, especially at the time of the Paschal festival and during the summer months, in various directions through Palestine, seizing every opportunity to impress pure and fruitful religious sentiments upon the populace or his immediate disciples, and to enlighten them concerning his own dignity as God's legate ( Υἱὸς Τοῦ Θεοῦ ), who should abolish the sacrificial service, and teach a worship of God, as the. common Father of mankind, in spirit and in truth ( John 4:24). With these expositions of doctrine, which all breathe the noblest practical spirit, and were so carefully adapted to the capacity and apprehension of the hearers that in respect to clearness, simplicity, and dignified force they are still a pattern of true instruction, he coupled, in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets, and as his age expected from the Messiah, wonderful deeds, especially charitable cures of certain diseases at that time very prevalent and regarded as incurable, but to these he himself appears to have attributed a subordinate value. By this means he gathered about him a considerable company of true adherents and thankful disciples, chiefly from the middle class of the people ( John 7:49; and even from the despicable publicans,  Matthew 9:9 sq.  Luke 5:27 sq.); for the eminent and learned were repelled by the severe reproofs which he uttered against their corrupt maxims ( Mark 12:38 sq.), their sanctimonious ( Luke 12:1;  Luke 18:9 sq.) and hypocritical punctiliousness ( Luke 11:39 sq.;  Luke 18:9 sq.), and against their prejudices, as being subversive of all true religion ( John 8:33;  John 9:16), as well as by the slight regard which (in comparison with their statutes) he paid to the Sabbath ( John 5:16); and as he in no respect corresponded to their expectations of the Messiah, full of animosity, they made repeated attempts to seize his person ( Mark 11:18;  John 7:30;  John 7:44). At last they succeeded, by the assistance of the traitor Judas, in taking him prisoner in the very capital, where he had just partaken of a parting meal in the familiar circle of his friends (the Passover), upon which he engrafted the initiatory rite of a new covenant; and thus, without exciting any surprise on his part, in surrendering him into the hands of the Roman authorities as a popular insurrectionist. He was sentenced to death by crucifixion, as he had often declared to his disciples would be his fate, and suffered himself, with calm resignation, to be led to the place of execution between two malefactors (on their traditional names, see Thilo, Apocryph. 1, 580 sq.; comp. Evang. infant. Arab. c. 23); but he arose alive on the third day from the grave which a grateful disciple had prepared for him, and after tarrying forty days in the midst of his disciples, during which he confidently intrusted the prosecution of the great work into their hands, and promised them the divine help of a Paraclete ( Παράκλητος ), he finally, according to one of the narrators, soared away visibly into the sky (A.D. 29). (See Volbeding, p. 6.)

2 . Sources Of Information. The only trustworthy accounts respecting Jesus are to be derived from the evangelists. (See Volbeding, p. 5.) (See Spurious Gospels). They exhibit, it is true, many chasms (Causse, De Rationibus Ob Quas Non Plura Quam Quoe Extant Ad J.C. Vitam Pertinentia Ab Evang. Literis Sint Consignata, Franckf. 1766), but they wear the aspect of a true, plain, lively narrative. Only two of these derive their materials from older traditions, doubtless from the apostles and companions of Jesus; but they were all first written down a long time after the occurrences: hence it has often been asserted that the historical matter was even at that time no longer extant in an entirely pure state (since the objective and the subjective, both in views and opinions, are readily interchanged in an unscientifically formed style); but that after Jesus had been so gloriously proved to be the Messias, the incidents were improved into prodigies, especially through a consideration of the Old Testament prophecies (Kaiser, Bibl. Theol. 1, 199 sq.).

Yet in the synoptical gospels this could only be shown in the composition and connection of single transactions; the facts themselves in the respective accounts agree too well in time and circumstances, and the narrators confine themselves too evidently to the position of writers of memoirs, to allow the supposition of a (conscious) transformation of the events or any such developments from Old Testament prophecy: moreover, if truth and pious poetry had already become mingled in the verbal traditionary reports, the eyewitnesses Matthew and John would have known well, in a fresh narration, how to distinguish between each of these elements with regard to scenes which they had themselves passed through (for memory and imagination were generally more lively and vigorous among the ancients than with us) (Br. ub. Rationalismus, p. 248 sq.; compare Heydenreich, Ueb. Unzulassigkeit d. myth. Auffassung des Histor. im N.T. und im Christenth. Herborn, 1831-5; see Hase, p. 9). Sooner would we suppose that the fertile-minded John, who wrote latest, has set before us, not the pure historical Christ, but one apprehended by faith and confounded with his own spiritual conceptions (Br. Ü ber Rational. p. 352). But while it is altogether probable that even he, by reason of his individuality and spiritual sympathy with Jesus, apprehended and reflected the depth and spirituality of his Master more truly than the synoptical evangelists, who depict rather the exterior phenomena of his character, at the same time there is actually nothing contained in the doctrinal discourses of Jesus in John, either in substance or form, that is incompatible with the Christ of the first three evangelists (see Heydenreich, in his Zeitschr fur Predigermiss. 1, pt. 1 and 2); yet these latter represent Jesus as speaking comparatively seldom, and that in more general terms, of his exaltation, dignity, and relation with the Father, whereas that Christ would have explained himself much more definitely and fully upon a point that could not have remained undiscussed, is of itself probable (see Hase, p. 10). Hence also, although we cannot believe that in such representations we are to understand the identical words of Christ to be given (for while the retention of all these extended discourses in the memory is improbable, on the other hand a writing of them down is repugnant to the Jewish custom), yet the actual sentiments of Jesus are certainly thus reported. (See further, Bauer, Bibl. Theol. N.T. 2, 278 sq.; B. Crusius, Bibl. Theol. p. 81; Fleck, Otium theolog. Lips. 1831; and generally Krummacher, Ueber den Geist und die Form der evang. Gesch. Lpz. 1805; Eichhorn, Einleit. 1, 689 sq.; on the mythicism of the evangelists, see Gabler, Neuest. theol. Journ. 7, 396; Bertholdt, Theol. Journ. 5, 235 sq.)

In the Church fathers, we find very little that appears to have been derived from clearly historical tradition, but the apocryphal gospels breathe a spirit entirely foreign to historical truth, and are filled with accounts of petty miracles (Tholuck, Glaubwurdigkeit, p. 406 sq.; Ammon, Leb. Jesu, 1, 90 sq.; compare Schmidt, Einl. ins N.T. 2, 234 sq., and Biblioth. Krit. u. Exegese, 2, 481 sq.). The passage of Josephus (Ant. 18, 3, 3; see Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. § 24), which Eusebius (Hist. Ecclesiastes 1, 11; Demonstr. Ev. 3, 7) was the first among Christian writers to make use of, has been shown (see Hase, p. 12), although some have ingeniously striven to defend it (see, among the latest, Bretschneider, in his Diss. capita theolog. Jud. dogmat. e Josepho collect. Lips. 1812; Bohmert, Ueber des Jos. Zeugniss von Christo, Leipz. 1823; Schodel, Fl. Joseph. de J. Chr. testatus, Lips. 1840), to be partly, but not entirely spurious (see Eichstadt, Flaviani de Jesu Christo testimonii Αὐθεντία Quo Jure Nuper Rursus Defensa Sit, Jena, 1813; also his 6 Progr. m. einenz auctar, 1841; Paulus, in the Heidelberg Jahrb. 1813, 1, 269 sq.; Theile, in the N. kritisch. Journ. d. theolog. Lit. 2, 97 sq.; Heinichen, Exc. 1 zu Euseb. H.E. 3, 331 sq.; also Suppl. notarius ad Eusebium, p. 73 sq.; Ammon, Leben Jesu, 1, 120 sq.). (See Josephus). (See Volbeding, p. 5.) The Koran (q.v.) contains only palpable fables concerning Jesus (Hottinger, Histor. Or. 105 sq.; Schmidt, in his Bibl. F. Krit. U. Exegese, 1, 110 sq.; D'Herbelot, Biblioth. Orientale, 2, 349 sq.; compare Augusti, Christologioe Koran lineam. Jena, 1799), and the Jewish History of Jesus ( תּוֹלְדוֹת יְשׁוּע , edit. Huldrici, Lugd. Bat. 1703; and in Wagenseil, Tela ign. Satan. Altdorf, 1681) betrays itself as an abortive fabrication of Jewish calumny, destitute of any historical value (see Ammon, Bibl. Theol. 2, 263), while the allusions to Jesus in the Talmud and the Rabbins have only a polemical aim (see Meelfuhrer, Jesus in Talmude, Altdorf, 1699, 2, 4; Werner, Jesus in Talmude Stadae, 1731; comp. Bynaeus, De natali J.C. 2, 4). (See Volbeding, p. 5.) The genuine Acts of Pilate ("Acta Pilati," Eusebius, Chron. Arm. 2, 267; compare Henke, Opusc. p. 199 sq.) are no longer extant, (See Pilate); what we now possess under this title is a later fabrication (see Ammon, 1, 102 sq.). In the Greek and Roman profane authors, Jesus is only incidentally named (Tacitus, Annal. 15, 44, 3; Pliny, Epist. 10, 97; Lamprid. Vit. Alex. Sev. c. 29, 43; Porphyry, De philosoph. ex. orac. in Euseb. Demonstr. Evang. 3, 7; Liban. in Socr. Hist. Ev. 3, 23; Lucian, Mors peregr. c. 11, 13). On Suidas, s.v. Ιησοῦς see Walter, Codex In Suida Mendax De Jesu (Lips. 1724). Whether by Chrestus in Suetonius (Claud. p. 25) is to be understood Christ, is doubted by some (comp. Ernesti and Wolf, ad loc.; (See Claudius) ), but the unusual name Christus might easily undergo this change (see also Philostr. Soph. 2, 11) in popular reference (see generally Eckhard, Non-Christianor. De Christo Testimonia, Quedlinb. 1737; Koecher, Hist. Jesu Christo ex scriptorib. profan. eruta, Jena, 1726; Meyer, Versuche Vertheid. u. Erlaut. der Geschichte Jesu u. d. Apostol. a. griech. u. rom. Profanscrib. Hannov. 1805; Fronm Ü ller, in the Studien der wurtemb. Geistl. 10, 1. On the Jesus of the book of Sirach, 43, 25, see Seelen, De Jesu in Jesu Sirac. frustra quoesito, Lubec. 1724; also in his Medit. exeg. 1, 207 sq.).

3. The scientific treatment of the life of Jesus belongs to the modern period of theological criticism. Among earlier contributions of a critico- chronological character is that of Offerhaus ( De Vita J. C. Privata Et Publica, in his Spicil. Histor. Chronol. Groningen, 1739). Greiling (Halle, 1813) first undertook the adjustment in a lively narrative, of the recent (rationalistic) exposition that has resulted, to the actual career of Christ. An independent but, on the whole, unsatisfactory treatise is that of Planck (Gesch. d. Christenth. in der Periode seiner ersten Einfuhr. in die Welt durch Jesum u. die Apostel, G Ö ttingen, 1818). Kaiser has attempted an analysis (Bibl. Theol. 1, 230 sq.). Still more severe in his method of criticism is Paulus (Das Leben Jesu als Grundlage einer reinen Gesch. d. Urchristenth. Heidelb. 1828), and bold to a degree that has alarmed the theological world is D.F. Strauss (Leben J. krit. bearbeit. Tubing. 1835, and since). The latter anew reduced the evangelical histories (with the exception of a few plain transactions) to a mythical composition springing out of the Old Test. prophecies and the expectations of the Messiah in the community, and, in his criticism upon single points, generally stands upon the shoulders of the preceding writers. In opposition to him, numerous men of learning and courage rose up to defend the "historical Christ," some of them insisting upon the strictly supernatural interpretation (Lange; Harless; Tholuck, Glaubwurdigkeit der evangel. Gesch. Hamb. 1838; Krabbe, Vorles. Ü ber das Leben Jesu, Hamb. 1839), while others concede or pass over single points in the history (Neander, Leben J. Chr. Hamburg, 1837). Into this controversy, which grew highly personal, a philosophical writer (Weisse, Evang. Geschichte Krit. u. philosoph. Bearbeitung, Leipz. 1840) became involved, and attempted, by an ingenious but decidedly presumptuous criticism, to distinguish the historical and the unhistorical element in the evangelical account. At the same time, Theile (Zur Biographie Jesu, Leipzig, 1837) gave a careful and conciliatory summary of the materials of the discussion, but Hase has published (in the 4th ed. of his Leben Jesu, Leipz. 1840) a masterly review, showing the gradual rejection of the extravagances of criticism since 1829. The substance of the life of Jesus has thus now become established in general belief as historical truth; yet Bauer (Krit. der evangel. Gesch. d. Synoptiker, Leipz. 1841), after an analysis of the gospels as literary productions, calls the original narrative concerning Jesus "a pure creation of the Christian consciousness," and he pronounces the evangelical history generally to be "solved." Thenius has met him with a proof of the evangelical history, drawn from the N. Test. epistles, in a few but striking remarks (Das Evang. ohne die Evangelien, Leipz. 1843), but A. Ebrard (Viss. Krit. d. evang. Gesch. Frankf. 1842) has fully refuted him in a learned but not unprejudiced work (see also Weisse, in the Jen. Lit.-Zeit. 1843, No. 7-9, 13-15). But this heartless and also peculiarly insipid criticism of Bauer which, indeed, often degenerates into the ridiculous appears to have left no impression upon the literary world, and may therefore be dismissed without further consideration (comp. generally Grimm, Glaubwurdigkeit d. evangel. Gesch. in Bezug auf Strauss und Bauer, Jena, 1845). Lately, Von Ammon (Gesch. d. Leb. Jesu; Leipz. 1842) undertook, in his style of combination, carefully steering between the extremes, a narrative of the life of Jesus full of striking observations. Whatever else has been done in this department (Gfrorer, Geschichte des Urchristenth. Stuttg. 1838; Salvador, Jesus Christ et sa doctrine, Par. 1838) belongs rather to the origin of Christianity than to the data of the life of Jesus. In Catholic literature little has appeared on this subject (Kuhn, Leben Jesus wissensch. bearbeitet, Mainz, 1838; of a more general character are the works of Francke, Leipz. 1838, and Storch, Leipz. 1841). (On the bearing of subjective views upon the treatment of the gospel history, there are the monographs cited in Volbeding, p. 6.) See literature below, and compare the art. (See Christology).

4 . Chronological Data.

a. The year of Christ's birth (for the general condition of the age, see Knapp, De Statu Temp. Nato Christo, Hal. 1757; and the Church histories of Gieseler, Neander, etc.; on a special point, see Masson, Jani Templ. Christo Nascente Reseratum, Rotterdam, 1700) cannot, as all investigations on this point have proved (Fabricii Bibl. Antiquar. p. 187 sq., 342 sq.; Thiess, Krit. Comment. 2, 339 sq.; comp. especially S. van Tilde, De Anno, Mense Et Die Nati Chr. Lugd. Bat. 1700, praef. J.G. Walch, Jena, 1740; K. Michaeles, Ueber Das Geburts- U. Sterbejahr J.C. Wien, 1796, 2, 8), be determined with full certainty (Reccard, Pr. In Rationes Et Limites Incertitudinis Circa Temp. Nat. Christi, Reg. 1768); yet it is now pretty generally agreed that the vulgar era (Hamberger, De Epochoe Dionys. Ortu Et Auctore, Jen. 1704; also in Martini Thes. Diss. 3, 1, 341 sq.), of which the first year corresponds to 4714 of the Julian Period, or 754 (and latter part of 753; see Jarvis, Introd. to Hist of the Church, p. 54, 610) of Rome (Sanclemente, De vulg. oeroe emendat. Rom. 1793; Ideler, Chronol. 2, 383 sq.), has assigned it a date too late by a few years (see Strong's Harm. and Expos. Append. 1), since the death of Herod the Great ( Matthew 2:1 sq.), according to Josephus (Ant. 17, 8, 1; comp. 14, 14, 5; 17, 9, 3), must have occurred before Easter in B.C. 4 (see Browne's Ordo Soeclorum, p. 27 sq.). Hence Jesus may have been born in the beginning of the year of Rome 750, four years before the epoch of our era, or even earlier (Uhland, Christum anno ante oer. Vulg. 4 exeunte nature esse, Tubing. 1775; so Bengel, Anger, Wieseler, Jarvis), but in no case later (comp. also Offerhaus, Spicileg. p. 422 sq.; Paulus, Comment. 1, 206 sq.; Vogel, in Gabler's Journ. f. auserl. theolog. Lit. 1, 244 sq.; and in the Studien der wurtemberg. Geistlichk. 1, 1, 50 sq.). A few passages (as  Luke 3:1;  Luke 3:23;  Matthew 2:2 sq.) afford a closer determination, (See Cyrenius); the latter gave occasion to the celebrated Kepler to connect the star of the Magi with a planetary conjunction (of Jupiter and Saturn), and more recent writers have followed this suggestion (Wurm, in Bengel's Archiv. 2, 1, 261 sq.; Ideler, Handb. D. Chronol. 2, 399 sq., and Lehrb. D. Chronol. p. 428 sq.; compare also Munter, Stern Der Weisen, Copenh. 1827; Klein's Oppositionsschr. 5, 1, 90 sq.; Schubert, Lehrb. d. Sternkunde, p. 226 sq.), fixing upon B.C. 6 as the true year of the nativity. (See Nativity).

But  Matthew 2:16 seems to state that the Magi, who must have arrived at Jerusalem soon after the birth of Jesus, had indicated the first appearance of the phenomenon as having occurred a Long time previously (probably not exactly two years before), and on that view Jesus might have been born earlier than B.C. 6, the more so inasmuch as the accession of Mars to the same conjunction, occurring in the spring of B.C. 6, according to Kepler, may have first excited the full attention of the Magi. Lately Wieseler (Chronolog. Synopse, p. 67 sq.) has brought down the nativity to the year B.C. 4, and in additional confirmation of this date holds that a comet, which, according to Chinese astronomical tables, was visible for more than two months in this year, was identical with the star of the wise men, at the same time adducing  Luke 2:1 sq.;  Luke 3:23, as pointing to the same year. But if the Magi had first been incited to their journey by the appearance of that comet, they could not well have designated to Herod as the Messianic star the planetary conjunction of A.U.C. 747 or 748, then almost two years ago, seeing this was an entirely distinct phenomenon. Under this supposition, too, Herod would have made more sure of his purpose if he had put to death children three years old. According to this view, then, we should place Christ's birth rather in B.C. 7 than B.C. 4. Some uncertainty, however, must always attend the use of these astronomical data. (See Star In The East).

As an element in determining the year of the nativity,  Luke 3:1, comp. 23, must also be taken into the account. Jesus is there positively stated to have entered upon his public ministry at thirty years of age, and indeed soon after John the Baptist, whose mission began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, so that by reckoning back about thirty years from this latter date (August, 781, to August, 782, of Rome, A.D. 28-29), we arrive at about B.C. 3 as the year of Christ's birth, which corresponds to the statements of Irenaeus (Hoeret. 3, 25), Tertullian (Adv.  Judges 1:8), and Eusebius (Hist. Ev. 1, 5), that Jesus was born in the year 41 (42) of the reign of Augustus, i.e. 751 of Rome, or B.C. 3 (Ideler, Chronolog. 2, 385). As Luke's language in that passage is somewhat indefinite ("about," Ώαεί ), we may presume that Christ was rather over than under thirty years of age; and this will agree with the computation of the fourth year before the Dionysian era, i.e. 750 of Rome. If, however, we suppose (but see Browne, Ordo Soeclorum, p. 67) the joint reign of Tiberius with Augustus, i.e. his association with him in the government especially of the provinces (Vell. Paterc. Hist. Rom. 2, 121; Sueton. 3, 20, 21; Tacitus, Annal. 1, 3; Dio Cass. Hist. Rom. 2, 103), three and a half years before his full reign (Janris, Introd. p. 228-239), to be meant, we shall again be brought to about B.C. 6, or possibly 7, as the year of the nativity. The latest conclusion of Block (Das wahre Geburtsjahr Christi, Berl. 1843), that Jesus was born in the year 735 of Rome, or nineteen years before the beginning of the vulgar era, based upon the authority of the later Rabbins, does not call for special examination (yet see Wieseler, Chronol. Synopse, p. 132). (See Advent).

The month and day of the birth of Christ cannot be determined with a like degree of approximation, but it could not, at all events, have fallen in December or January, since at this time of the year the flocks are not found in the open fields during the night ( Luke 2:8), but in pens (" the first rain descends the 17th of the month Marchesvan [November], and then the cattle returned home; nor did the shepherds any longer lodge in huts in the fields," Gemara, Nedar. 63); moreover, a census ( Ἀπογραφή ), which made traveling necessary ( Luke 2:2 sq.), would not have been ordered at this season. We may naturally suppose that the month of March is the time for driving out cattle to pasture, at least in Southern Palestine (Suskind, in Bengel's Archiv. 1, 215; comp. A.J. u. d. Hardt, De Momenteis Quibusd. Hist. Et Chron. Ad Determin. Chr. Diem Natal. Helmst. 1754; Korner, De Die Natali Servatoris, Lips. 1778; Funck, De die Servat. natali, Rint. 1735; also in his Dissert. Acad. p. 149 sq.; Minter, Stern der Weisen, Copenh. 1827, p. 110 sq.). If we can rely upon a statement of the Jewish Rabbins, that the first of the twenty-four courses of priests entered upon their duties in the regular cycle the very week in which the Temple was destroyed by the Romans (Mishna, 3, 298, 3), we are furnished with the means, by comparison with the time of the service of Zachariah ( Luke 1:5;  Luke 1:8), who belonged to the eighth division ( 1 Chronicles 24:10), of determining with considerable certainty (Browne's Ordo Soeclorum, p. 33 sq.) the date of the nativity as occurring, if in B.C. 6, about the month of August (Strong's Harm. and Expos. Append. 1, p. 23). The attempts of Scaliger and Bengel to determine the month of the nativity from this element (compare Maurit. De sortit. p. 334 sq.) are unsatisfactory (see Van Til, ut sup. p. 75 sq.; Allix, Diatr. de anno et mense J.C. nat. p. 44 sq.; Paulus, Comment. 1, 36 sq.). Lately Jarvis (Introd. p. 535 sq.) has endeavored to maintain the traditionary date of Christmas of the Latin Church; and Seyffarth has anew adopted the conclusion (Chronoloq. Sacra, p. 97 sq.) that John the Baptist was born on the 24th of June, and consequently Jesus on the 25th (22d in his Summary of recent Discoveries in Chronology, N. York, 1857, p. 236) of December, based on the supposition that the Israelites reckoned by solar months: this pays no regard to  Luke 2:8 (see Hase, p. 67). (See Christmas).

b. The year of Christ's Crucifixion is no less disputed (comp. Paulus, Comment. 3, 784 sq.). The two extreme limits of the date are the above- mentioned 15th year of Tiberius, in which John the Baptist began his career ( Luke 3:1), i.e. Aug. 781 to Aug. 782 of Rome (A.D. 28-29), and the year of the death of that emperor, 790 of Rome (A.D. 37), in which Pilate had already left the province of Judaea. Jesus appears to have begun his public teaching soon after John's entrance upon his mission; for the message of the Sanhedrim to John, which is placed in immediate connection with the beginning of Christ's public ministry ( John 1:19; comp.  John 2:1), and comes in just before the Passover ( John 2:12 sq.), must have been within a year after John's public appearance. This being assumed, a further approximation would depend upon the determination of the number of Passovers which Jesus celebrated during his ministry; but this itself is quite a difficult question (see under No. 5, below). It is now generally conceded that he could not well have passed less than three Paschal festivals, and probably not more than four (i.e. one at the beginning of each of Christ's three years, and a fourth at the close of the last); thus we ascertain as the terminus a quo of these festivals the year A.D. 28, and as the probable terminus ad quem the year A.D. 32; or, on the supposition (as above) that the joint reign of Tiberius is meant, we have as the limits of the Passovers of Jesus A.D. 25-29. This result would be rendered more definite and certain if we could ascertain whether in the last of these series of years (A.D. 29 or 32) the Jewish Passover fell on a Friday (Thursday evening and the ensuing day), as this was the week day on which the death of Christ is generally held to have taken place. There have been various calculations by means of lunar tables (Linbrunn, in the Abhandlung der bayerschen Akademie der Wiss. vol. 6; Wurm, in Bengel's Archiv. 2, 1, 292 sq.; Anger, De temporumn in Act. Apost. ratione ciss. 1, Lips. 1830, p. 30 sq.; Browne, Ordo Soeclorum. Lond. 1844, p. 504), to determine during which of the years of this period the Paschal day must have occurred on Friday (see Strong's Harm. and Exposit. Append. 1, p. 8 sq.); but the inexactness of the Jewish calendar makes every such computation uncertain (Wurm, ut sup. p. 294 sq.). Yet it is worthy of notice that the two most recent investigations of Wurm and Anger both make the year A.D. 31, or 784 of Rome, to be such a calendar year as we require. Wieseler, Chronol. Synops. p. 479), on the other hand, protests against the foregoing computations, and insists that in A.D. 30 alone the Paschal day fell on Friday. According to other calculations, A.D. 29 and 33 are the only years of this period in which the Paschal eve fell on Thursday (see Browne, Ordo Soeclorum, p. 55), while so great discrepancy prevails between other computations (see Townsend's Chronological N.T. p. *159) that little or no reliance can be placed upon this argument (see Strong's Harm. and Exposit. Append. 1, p. 8 sq.). (See Passover).

The opinion of some of the ancient writers (Irelenus, 2, 22, 5), that Jesus died at 40 or 50 years of age (compare  John 8:57), is altogether improbable (see Pisanski, De errore Irenoei in determinanda oetate Christi, Regiom. 1777). The most of the Church fathers (Tertull. Adv.  Judges 1:8; Lactantius, Institut. 4, 10; Augustine, Civ. dei, 18, 54; Clem. Alex. Stromn. 1, p. 147, etc.) assign but a single year as the duration of Christ's ministry, and place his death in the consulship of the two Gemini (VIII Cal. April. Coss. C. Rubellio Gemino et C. Rufio Gemino), i.e. 782 of Rome, A.D. 29, the 15th year of Tiberius's reign, which Ideler (Chronology, 2, 418 sq.) has lately (so also Browne, Ordo Soeclorum, p. 80 sq.) attempted to reconcile with  Luke 3:1 (but see Seyffarth, Chronol. Sacra, p. 115 sq.; Eusebius, in his Chronicles Armen. 2, p. 264, places the death of Jesus in the 19th year of Tiberius, which Jerome, in his Latin translation, calls the 18th; on the above reckoning of the fathers, see Petavius, Animadvers. p. 146 sq.; Thilo, Cod. Apocr. 1, 497 sq.). On the observation of the sun at the crucifixion ( Matthew 27:45;  Mark 15:33;  Luke 23:44), (See Eclipse), (On the chronological elements of the life of Jesus, see generally Hottinger, Pentas Dissertat. Bibl.-Chronol. p. 218 sq.; Voss, De Annis Christi dissertat. Amst. 1643; Lupi, De notis chronolog. anni mortis et nativ. J.C. dissertat. Rom. 1744; Horix, Observat. hist. chronol. de annis Chr. Mogunt. 1789; compare Volbeding, p. 20; Hase, p. 52.) (See Chronology).

5. The two family registers of Jesus (Matthew 1 and Luke 3), of which the first, is descending and the latter ascending, vary considerably from each other; inasmuch as not only entirely different names of ancestors are given from Joseph upwards to Zerubbabel and Salathiel ( Matthew 1:12 sq.;  Luke 3:27), but also Matthew carries back Joseph's lineage to David's son Solomon ( Luke 3:6 sq.), while Luke refers it to another son Nathan ( Luke 3:31). Moreover, Matthew only goes back as far as Abraham (as he wrote for Jewish readers), but Luke (in agreement with the general scope of his gospel) as far as Adam (God). This disagreement early engaged the attention of the Church fathers (see Eusebius, Hist. Ev. 1, 7), and later interpreters have adopted various hypotheses for the reconcilement of the two evangelists (see especially Surenhus. Βίβλος Καταλλαγῆς , p. 320 sq.: Rus, Harmon. Evang. 1, 65 sq.; Thiess, Krit. Commentar, 2, 271 sq.; Kuinol, Proleg. In Matt. § 4). There are properly only two general representations possible. For the history of Christ's parents, (See Joseph); (See Mary).

(a) Matthew traces the lineage through Joseph, Luke gives the Maternal descent (comp. also Neander, p. 21); so that the person called Eli in  Luke 3:23, appears to have been the father of Mary (see especially Helvicus, in Crenii Exercitat. Philol. Hist. 3, p. 332 sq.; Spanheim, Dubia Evang. 1, 13 sq.; Bengel, Heumann, Paulus, Kuinol, in their Commentaries; Wieseler, in the Studien U. Krit. 1845, p. 361 sq.; on the contrary, Bleek, Beitrage Z. Evangelienkrit. p. 101 sq.). But, in the first place, in that case Luke would hardly have written so expressly "the son of Eli" ( Τοῦ ᾿Ηλί ), since we must understand all the following genitives to refer to the actual Fathers and not to the fathers-in-law (the appeal to  Ruth 1:11 sq., for the purpose of showing that a daughter-in-law could be called daughter among the Hebrews, is unavailing for the distinction in question); although, in the second place, we need not understand the Salathiel and Zerubbabel named in one genealogy to have been both different persons from those mentioned in the other (Paulus, Comment. 1, 243 sq.; Robinson, Gr. Harmony, p. 186), which is a very questionable expedient (see especially Hug, Einleitung, 2:266; Methodist Quarterly Review, Oct. 1852, p. 602 sq.). Aside from the fact that Luke does not even mention the mother of Jesus (but only  Matthew 1:16), and from the further fact that the Jews were not at all accustomed to record the genealogies of women ( Baba Bathra, f. 110, "The father's family, not the mother's, is accounted the true lineage;" compare Wetstein, 1, 231), we might make an exception in the case of the Messiah, who was to be descended from a Virgin (compare also Paulus, Leben J. 1, 90). A still different explanation (Voss, Ut Sup.; comp. also Schleyer, in the Theol. Quartalschr. 1836, p. 403 sq., 539 sq.), namely, that Eli; although the father of Mary, is here introduced as being the grandfather of Joseph (according to the supposition that Mary was an heiress,  Numbers 27:8), proceeds upon an entirely untenable interpretation (see Paulus, Comment. 1, 243, 261). Notwithstanding the foregoing objection to the view under consideration, it meets, perhaps better than any other, the difficulties of the subject. (See Genealogy).

(b) Some assume that the proper father of Joseph was Eli: he, as a brother, or (as the difference of the names up to Salathiel necessitates) as the nearest relative (half-brother?), had married Mary, the wife of the deceased childless Jacob, and according to the Levirate law (q.v.) Joseph would appear as the son of Jacob, and would, in fact, have two fathers (so Ambrosius); or conversely, we may suppose that Jacob was the proper father of Joseph, and Eli his childless deceased uncle (comp. Julius Afric. in Eusebius, Hist. Ev. 1, 7; Calixtus, Clericus). This hypothesis, which still conflicts with the Levirate rule that only the deceased is called father of the posthumous son ( Deuteronomy 25:6), Hug ( Einl. 2, 268 sq.), has been so modified as to presume a Levirate marriage as far back as Salathiel, by which the mention of Salathiel and Zerubbabel in both lists would be explained; and Hug also introduces such a marriage between the parents of Joseph, and still another among more distant relatives. This is ingenious, but too complicated (see generally Paulus, ut sup. p. 260). If a direct descent of Jesus could have been laid down from David, there remains no reason why, when the natural extraction of the Messiah straight from David was so important, the very evangelist who wrote immediately for Jewish readers should have traced the indirect lineage. But if so many as three Levirate marriages had occurred together (as Hug thinks), we should suppose that Matthew, on account of the infrequency of such a case, would have given his readers some hint, or at least not have written ( Deuteronomy 25:16) "begat" ( Ἐγέννησε ) in a manner quite calculated to mislead. Moreover, this hypothesis of Hug rests upon an interpretation of  1 Chronicles 3:18 sq., which that scholar himself could only have chosen in a genealogical difficulty. (See Levirate Law)

(c) If both the foregoing explanations be rejected, there remains no other course than to renounce the attempt to reconcile the two family lines of Jesus, and frankly acknowledge a discrepancy between the evangelists, as some have done (Stroth, in Eichhorn's Repert. 9, 131 sq.; Ammon, Bibl. Theol. 2, 266; Thiess, Krit. Comment. 2, 271 sq.; Fritzsche, Ad Matthew p. 35; Strauss, 1, 105 sq.; De Wette, B. Crusius, Alford, on Luke 3). In the decayed family of Joseph it might not have been possible, especially after so much misfortune as befell the country and people, to recover any written elements for the construction of a family register back to David. Were the account of Julius Africanus (in Eusebius, 1, 7; compare Schottgen, Hor. Hebr. p. 885), that king Herod had caused the family records of the Jews to be burned, correct, the want of such information would be still more evident (but see Wetstein, 1, p. 232; Wieseler, in the Stud. u. Kritik. 1845, p. 369). In that case, after the need of such registers had arisen, persons would naturally have set themselves to compiling them from traditional recollections, and the variations of these may readily have resulted in a double lineage. But even on this view it has been insisted that both lines present the descent of Joseph and not of Mary, since it was unusual to exhibit the maternal lineage, and the Jews would not have regarded such an extraction from David as the genuine one. There are, at all events, but two positions possible: either the supernatural generation of Jesus by the Holy Spirit was admitted, or Jesus was considered a son of Joseph ( Luke 3:33). In the latter case a family record of Joseph entirely sufficed for the application of the O.T. oracles to Jesus; in the former case it has been conceived that such a register would have been deemed superfluous, and every natural lineage of Jesus from David ( Romans 1:3) would have thrown his divine origin into the background. This has been alleged as the reason why John gives no genealogy at all, and generally says nothing of the extraction of Jesus from the family of David (see Von Ammon, Leb. Jes. 1, 179 sq.). The force of these arguments, however, is greatly lessened by the consideration that the early Christians, in meeting the Jews, would be very anxious, if possible, to prove Christ's positive descent from David through both his reputed and his real parent; the more so, as the former was avowed to be only nominally such, leaving the whole actual lineage to be made out on the mother's side. (See generally Baumgarten, De genealogia Chr. Hal. 1749; Durr, Genealogia Jesu, Gott. 1778; Busching's Harmon. d. Evang. p. 187 sq., 264 sq.) (See Genealogy Of Christ).

6. The wonderful birth of Jesus through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, which only the synoptical gospels relate ( Luke 1:26 sq.;  Matthew 1:18 sq.; the apocryphal gospels, in order to remove all idea of the conception of Mary by Joseph, make him to have been absent a long time from home at work, Histor. Josephi, c. 5; Hist. de Nativ. Marics, c. 10), has been imagined by many recent interpreters (Ammon, Biblic. Theol. 2, 251 sq., and Comm. in narrationum de primordus J.C. fontes, incrementa et nexum c. rel. Chr. Gott. 1798; also in his Nov. Opusc. p. 25 sq.; Bauer, Theol. N.T. 1, 310 sq.; Briefe Ü ber Rationalismus, p. 229 sq.; Kaiser, Bibl. Theolog. 1, 231 sq.; Greiling, p. 24 sq.) to have been a myth suggested by the O. Test. prophecies ( Isaiah 7:14), and they have held Joseph to be the proper father of Jesus (as it is well known that many in the earliest Church, and individuals later, from time to time, have done, Unschuld. Nachr. 1711, p. 622 sq.; Walther, Vers. Eines Schriftmass. Beweisse Dass Joseph Der Wahre Vater Christi Sei, Berl. 1791; on the contrary, Oertel, Antijosephismus Oder Kritik Des Schriftm. Bew., etc., Germ. 1793; Hasse, Josephum Verum Patrem E Scriptura Non Fuisse, Reg. 1792; Ludewig, Histor. Untersuch. Ü Ber Die Versch. Meinungen V. D. Abkunft Jes. Wolfenbuttel, 1831; comp. also Korb, Anticarus Oder Histor.-Krit. Beleuchtung Der Schrift; " Die Naturl. Geburt Jesu U. S. W. " Leipzig, 1831) on the following noways decisive grounds:

(a) "John, who stands in so near a relation to Jesus, and must have known the family affairs, relates nothing at all of this wonderful birth, although it was very apposite to his design." But this evangelist shows the high dignity of Jesus only from his discourses, the others from public evidences and a few astonishing miracles; moreover, his prologue (1, 1-18) declares dogmatically pretty much the same thing as the synoptical gospels do historically in this respect. (Compare also the deportment of Mary,  John 2:3 sq.; see Neander, p. 16. sq.) (b) "Neither Jesus nor an apostle ever appeals in any discourse to this circumstance. Paul always says simply that Jesus was born of the seed of David' ( Romans 1:3;  2 Timothy 2:8); once ( Galatians 4:4), more definitely, of a woman' ( Ἐκ Γυναικός , not Παρθένου ) . " It must be admitted, however, that an appeal to a fact which only One individual could positively know by experience would be very ineffectual; and an apostle would be very likely to subject himself to the charge of irrelevancy if he resorted to such an appeal (comp. Niemeyer, Pr. Ad Illustrand. Plurimor. N.T. Scriptorum Silentium De Primordiis Vitoe J.C. Halle, 1790). But this would be laying as improper an emphasis upon the word Γυνή ( Galatians 4:4) as that of the older theologians upon עִלְמָה ( Isaiah 7:14).

(c) "Mary calls Joseph, without qualification, The Father Of Jesus ( Luke 2:48), and also among the Jews Jesus was generally called Joseph's son ( Matthew 13:55;  Mark 6:3;  Luke 3:23;  Luke 4:22;  John 1:46;  John 6:42)." This last argument is wholly destitute of force; but Mary might naturally, in common parlance, call Joseph Jesus' father, just as, in modem phrase, a foster-father is generally styled father when definiteness of expression is not requisite.

(d) "The brothers of Jesus did not believe in him as the Messiah ( John 7:5), which would be inexplicable if the Deity had already indicated him as the Messiah from his very birth." Yet these brothers had not themselves personally known the fact; and it is, moreover, not uncommon that one son in a family who is a general favorite excites the ill will of the others to such a degree that they even deny his evident superiority, or that brothers fail to appreciate and esteem a mentally distinguished brother.

(e) "History shows in a multitude of examples that the birth of illustrious men has been embellished with fables (Wetstein, N.T. 1, p. 236); especially is the notion of a birth without connection with a man ( Παρθενογενής ) wide spread in the ancient world (Georgi, Alphabet. Tibet. Rom. 1762, p. 55 sq., 369 sq.), and among the Indians and Chinese it is even applied to the founders of religion (Paul. a Bartholom. System. Brahman. p. 158; Du Halde, Beschr. d. Chines. Reichs, 3, 26)." In case it is meant by this that a wonderful generation of a holy man, effected immediately by the Spirit of God, was embraced in the circle of Oriental belief (Rosenm Ü ller, in Gabler's Journ. ausserl. theol. Liter. 2, 253 sq.), this argument might make the purely historical character of the doctrine in question dubious, were it capable of proof that such an idea also harmonizes with the principles of the Israelitish monotheism, or could it be made probable (Weisse, Leben Jesu, 1, 176 sq.) that this account of the birth of Jesus is a heathen production (see, on the contrary, Neander, p. 12 sq.). On the other hand, however, this statement stands so isolated in the Christian tradition, and so surpasses the range of the profane conceptions, that we can hardly reject the idea that it must have operated to enhance the estimate of Christ's dignity. It has been suggested as possible (Paulus, Leben Jesu, 1, 97 sq.) that the hope had already formed itself in the soul of Mary that she would become the mother of the Messiah (which, however, is contradicted by her evident surprise and difficulty at the announcement,  Luke 1:29;  Luke 1:34), and that this had drawn nourishment from a vision in a dream, as the angelic annunciation ( Luke 1:26 sq.) has been (but with the greatest violence) interpreted (see, however, Van Oosterzee, De Jesu E Virgine Nato, Utr. 1840). (See Conception).

Bethlehem, too (Wagner, De loco nat. J. Chr. Colon. Brandenb. 1673), as the place of Christ's birth, has been deemed to belong to the mythical dress of the narrative (comp.  Micah 5:1; see Thess, Krit. Comment. 2, 414), and it has therefore been inferred that Jesus was not only begotten in Nazareth, but also born there (Kaiser, Bibl. Theol. 1, 230) which, nevertheless, does not follow from  John 1:46. That Jesus was born in Bethlehem is stated in two of the evangelical accounts ( Matthew 2:1;  Luke 2:4), as may also be elsewhere gathered from the events which follow his birth. But a more direct discrepancy between Matthew and Luke (Hase, p. 44), respecting Joseph's belonging to Bethlehem ( Matthew 2:22-23;  Luke 1:26;  Luke 2:4), cannot be substantiated (compare generally Gelpe, Jugendgesch. d. Herrn, Berne, 1841.) (See Bethlehem).

7. Among the Relatives of Jesus, the following are named in the N. Test.:

(a) Mary, Jesus' mother's sister ( John 19:25). According to the usual apprehension of this passage, (See Salome), she was married to one Clopas or Alphaeus (q.v.), and had as sons James (q.v.) the younger ( Acts 1:13) and Joses ( Matthew 27:56;  Mark 15:40). (See Mary).

(b) Elizabeth, who is called the relative ( Συγγενής , "cousin") of Mary ( Luke 1:36). Respecting the degree of relationship, nothing can be determined: it has been questioned (Paulus, Comment. 1, 78) whether she was of the tribe of Levi, but this appears certain from  Luke 1:5. In a fragment of Hippo

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Je´sus Christ, The ordinary designation of the incarnate Son of God, and Savior of mankind. This double designation is not, like Simon Peter, John Mark, Joses Barnabas, composed of a name and a surname, but, like John the Baptist, Simon Magus, Bar-Jesus Elymas, of a proper name, and an official title. Jesus was our Lord's proper name, just as Peter, James, and John were the proper names of three of his disciples. The name seems not to have been an uncommon one among the Jews . To distinguish our Lord from others bearing the name, he was termed Jesus of Nazareth (, etc.), and Jesus the son of Joseph (, etc.).

The conferring of this name on our Lord was not the result of accident, or of the ordinary course of things, there being 'none of his kindred,' so far as we can trace from the two genealogies, 'called by that name' . It was the consequence of a twofold miraculous interposition. The angel who announced to his virgin mother that she was to be 'the most honored of women,' in giving birth to the Son of God and the Savior of men, intimated also to her the name by which the holy child was to be called: 'Thou shall call his name Jesus' . And it was probably the same heavenly messenger who appeared to Joseph, and, to remove his suspicions and quiet his fears, said to him, 'That which is conceived in thy wife Mary is of the Holy Ghost, and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus' . The pious pair were 'not disobedient to the heavenly vision.' 'When eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb' .

The precise import of the name has been a subject of doubt and debate among interpreters. As to its general meaning there is all but an unanimous concurrence. It was intended to denote that he who bore it was to be a Deliverer or Savior. But while some interpreters hold that it simply signifies 'he shall save,' others hold that it is a compound word equivalent to 'The Salvation of the Lord,' or 'The Lord the Savior.' It is not a matter of vital importance.

The 'name of Jesus' is not the name Jesus, but 'the name above every name' , i.e. the supreme dignity and authority with which the Father has invested Jesus Christ, as the reward of his disinterested exertions in the cause of the divine glory and human happiness; and the bowing 'at the name of Jesus' is obviously not an external mark of homage when the name Jesus is pronounced, but the inward sense of awe and submission to him who is raised to a station so exalted.


This is not, strictly speaking, a proper name, but an official title. Jesus Christ, or rather, as it generally ought, to be rendered, Jesus the Christ, is a mode of expression of the same kind as John the Baptist, or Baptizer. In consequence of not adverting to this, the force and even the meaning of many passages of Scripture are misapprehended. When it is stated that Paul asserted, 'This Jesus whom I preach unto you is Christ' , that he 'testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ' , the meaning is, that he proclaimed and proved that Jesus was the Christ, or Messiah—the rightful owner of a title descriptive of a high official station which had been the subject of ancient prediction. When Jesus himself says that 'it is life eternal to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent' , he represents the knowledge of himself as the Christ, the Messiah, as at once necessary and sufficient to make men truly and permanently happy. When he says, 'What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?' , he does not mean, What think ye of me, or of my descent? but, What think ye of the Christ—the Messiah—and especially of his paternity. There can be no doubt that the word, though originally an appellative, and intended to bring before the mind a particular official character possessed by him to whom it is applied, came at last, like many other terms of the same kind, to be often used very much as a proper name, to distinguish our Lord from other persons bearing the name Jesus. This is a sense, however, of comparatively rare occurrence in the New Testament.

Proceeding, then, on the principle that Christ is an appellative, let us inquire into its origin and signification as applied to our Lord. Christ is the English form of a Greek word, corresponding in meaning to the Hebrew word Messiah, and the English word Anointed. 'The Christ' is just equivalent to 'the Anointed One.' The important question, however, remains behind, What is meant, when the Savior is represented as the Anointed One? To reply to this question satisfactorily, it will be necessary to go somewhat into detail.

Unction, from a very early age, seems to have been the emblem of consecration, or setting apart to a particular, and especially to a religious, purpose. Under the Old Testament economy high-priests and kings were regularly set apart to their offices, both of which were, strictly speaking, sacred ones, by the ceremony of anointing, and the prophets were occasionally designated by the same rite. This rite seems to have been intended as a public intimation of a Divine appointment to office. Thus Saul is termed 'the Lord's anointed' David, 'the anointed of the God of Israel' and Zedekiah, 'the anointed of the Lord' . The high-priest is called 'the anointed priest' .

From the origin and design of the rite, it is not wonderful that the term should have, in a secondary and analogical sense, been applied to persons set apart by God for important purposes, though not actually anointed. Thus Cyrus, the King of Persia, is termed 'the Lord's anointed' the Hebrew patriarchs, when sojourning in Canaan, are termed 'God's anointed ones' and the Israelitish people receive the same appellation from the prophet Habakkuk .

In the prophetic Scriptures we find this appellation given to an illustrious personage, who, under various designations, is so often spoken of as destined to appear in a distant age as a great deliverer. The royal prophet David seems to have been the first who spoke of the great deliverer under this appellation (;; ). In all the passages in which the great deliverer is spoken of as 'the anointed one,' by David, he is plainly viewed as sustaining the character of a king.

The prophet Isaiah also uses the appellation, 'the anointed one,' with reference to the promised deliverer, but, when he does so, he speaks of him as a prophet or great teacher. He introduces him as saying, 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord God hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them who are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn,' etc. (, etc.).

Daniel is the only other of the prophets who uses the appellation 'the anointed one' in reference to the great deliverer, and he plainly represents him as not only a prince, but also a high-priest, an expiator of guilt .

During the period which elapsed from the close of the prophetic canon till the birth of Jesus, no appellation of the expected deliverer seems to have been so common as the Messiah or Anointed One; and this is still the name which the unbelieving Jews ordinarily employ when speaking of him whom they still look for to avenge their wrongs and restore them to more than their former honors.

Messiah, Christ, Anointed, is, then, a term equivalent to consecrated, sacred, set apart; and as the record of Divine revelation is called, by way of eminence, The Bible, or book, so is the Great Deliverer called The Messiah, or Anointed One, much in the same way as he is termed The Man, The Son of Man.

The import of this designation as given to Jesus of Nazareth may now readily be apprehended.—( 1.) When he is termed the Christ it is plainly indicated that He is the great deliverer promised under that appellation, and many others in the Old Testament Scriptures, and that all that is said of this deliverer under this or any other appellation is true of Him. No attentive reader of the Old Testament can help noticing that in every part of the prophecies there is ever and anon presented to our view an illustrious personage destined to appear at some future distant period, and, however varied may be the figurative representations given of him, no reasonable doubt can be entertained as to the identity of the individual. It is quite obvious that the Messiah is the same person as the 'seed of the woman' who was to 'bruise the head of the serpent' 'the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed' the great 'prophet to be raised up like unto Moses,' whom all were to be required to hear and obey the 'priest after the order of Melchizedek;' 'the rod out of the stem of Jesse, which should stand for an ensign of the people to which the Gentiles should seek' ; the virgin's son whose name was to be Immanuel 'the branch of Jehovah' 'the Angel of the Covenant' 'the Lord of the Temple,' etc. etc. (ib.). When we say, then, that Jesus is the Christ, we in effect say, 'This is He of whom Moses, in the law, and the prophets did write' and all that they say of Him is true of Jesus.

Now what is the sum of the prophetic testimony respecting him? It is this—that he should belong to the very highest order of being, the incommunicable name Jehovah being represented as rightfully belonging to him; that 'his goings forth have been from old, from everlasting' that his appropriate appellations should be 'Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God' that he should assume human nature, and become 'a child born' of the Israelitish nation of the tribe of Judah , of the family of David that the object of his appearance should be the salvation of mankind, both Jews and Gentiles that he should be 'despised and rejected' of his countrymen; that he should be 'cut off, but not for himself;' that he should be 'wounded for men's transgressions, bruised for their iniquities, and undergo the chastisement of their peace;' that 'by his stripes men should be healed;' that 'the Lord should lay on him the iniquity' of men; that 'exaction should be made and he should answer it;' that he should 'make his soul an offering for sin;' that after these sufferings he should be 'exalted and extolled and made very high;' that he should 'see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied, and by his knowledge justify many' (Isaiah 53 passim ); that Jehovah should say to him, 'Sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool' that he should be brought near to the Ancient of Days, and that to him should be given 'dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages should serve him—an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away,—a kingdom that shall not be destroyed' . All this is implied in saying Jesus is the Christ. In the plainer language of the New Testament 'Jesus is the Christ' is equivalent to Jesus is 'God manifest in the flesh' ,—the Son of God, who, in human nature, by his obedience, and sufferings, and death in the room of the guilty, has obtained salvation for them, and all power in heaven and earth for himself, that he may give eternal life to all coming to the Father through him.

(2.) While the statement 'Jesus is the Christ' is thus materially equivalent to the statement 'all that is said of the Great Deliverer in the Old Testament Scriptures is true of Him,' it brings more directly before our mind those truths respecting him which the appellation 'the Anointed One' naturally suggests. He is a prophet, a priest, and a king. He is the great revealer of divine truth; the only expiator of human guilt, and reconciler of man to God; the supreme and sole legitimate ruler over the understandings, consciences, and affections of men. In his person, and work, and word, by his spirit and providence, he unfolds the truth with respect to the divine character and will, and so conveys it into the mind as to make it the effectual means of conforming man's will to God's will, man's character to God's character. He has by his spotless, all-perfect obedience, amid the severest sufferings, 'obedience unto death even the death of the cross,' so illustrated the excellence of the divine law and the wickedness and danger of violating it, as to make it a righteous thing in 'the just God' to 'justify the ungodly,' thus propitiating the offended majesty of heaven; while the manifestation of the divine love in appointing and accepting this atonement, when apprehended by the mind under the influence of the Holy Spirit, becomes the effectual means of reconciling man to God and to his law, 'transforming him by the renewing of his mind.' And now, possessed of 'all power in heaven and earth,' 'all power over all flesh,' 'He is Lord of All.' All external events and all spiritual influences are equally under his control, and as a king he exerts his authority in carrying into full effect the great purposes which his revelations as a prophet, and his great atoning sacrifice as a high-priest, were intended to accomplish.

(3.) But the full import of the appellation the Christ is not yet brought out. It indicates that He to whom it belongs is the anointed prophet, priest, and king—not that he was anointed by material oil, but that he was divinely appointed, qualified, commissioned, and accredited to be the Savior of men. These are the ideas which the term anointed seems specially intended to convey. Jesus was divinely appointed to the offices he filled. He did not ultroneously assume them, 'he was called of God as was Aaron' . He was divinely commissioned: 'The Father sent him' . He is divinely accredited . Such is the import of the appellation Christ.

If these observations are clearly apprehended there will be little difficulty in giving a satisfactory answer to the question which has sometimes been proposed—when did Jesus become Christ? when was he anointed of God? We have seen that the expression is a figurative or analogical one, and therefore we need not wonder that its references are various. The appointment of the Savior, like all the other divine purposes, was, of course, from eternity. 'He was set up from everlasting' he 'was foreordained before the foundation of the world' . His qualifications, such of them as were conferred, were bestowed in or during his incarnation, when 'God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power' . His commission may be considered as given him when called to enter on the functions of his office. He himself, after quoting, in the synagogue of Nazareth, in the commencement of his ministry, the passage from the prophecies of Isaiah in which his unction to the prophetical office is predicted, declared 'This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.' And in his resurrection and ascension, God, as the reward of his loving righteousness and hating iniquity, 'anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows' , i.e. conferred on him a regal power, fruitful in blessings to himself and others, far superior to that which any king had ever possessed, making him, as the Apostle Peter expresses it, 'both Lord and Christ' . As to his being accredited, every miraculous event performed in reference to him or by him may be viewed as included in this species of anointing—especially the visible descent of the Spirit on him in his baptism.

These statements, with regard to the import of the appellation 'the Christ,' show us how we are to understand the statement of the Apostle John, 'Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God' , i.e. is 'a child of God,' 'born again,' 'a new creature;' and the similar declaration of the Apostle Paul, 'No man can say that Jesus is the Lord,' i.e. the Christ, the Messiah, 'but by the Holy Ghost' . It is plain that the proposition,' Jesus is the Christ,' when understood in the latitude of meaning which we have shown belongs to it, contains a complete summary of the truth respecting the divine method of salvation. To believe that principle rightly understood is to believe the Gospel—the saving truth, by the faith of which a man is, and by the faith of which only a man can be, brought into the relation or formed to the character of a child of God; and though a man may, without divine influence, be brought to acknowledge that 'Jesus is the Lord,' 'Messiah the Prince,' and even firmly to believe that these words embody a truth, yet no man can be brought really to believe and cordially to acknowledge the truth contained in these words, as we have attempted to unfold it, without a peculiar divine influence.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [15]

E . the anointed Divine Saviour), the Son of God and the hope of Israel, Saviour of mankind, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary four years before the commencement of the Christian era, and who suffered death on the cross for the salvation of His people in A.D. 33, after a life of sorrow over the sins of the world and an earnest pleading with men to turn from sin unto God as revealed in Himself, in the life He led, the words He spoke, and the death He died, and after leaving behind Him a Spirit which He promised would guide those who believed in Him unto all truth, a Spirit which was and would prove to be the spirit of His manifestation in the flesh from birth onwards to death, and through death to the very grave. See Christianity.