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While I’ve lately been pretty distracted finishing up Benefit of the Doubt (Baker, 2013), my goal is to sprinkle in posts that comment on the distinctive commitments of ReKnew a couple of times a week. I’m presently sharing some thoughts on the second conviction of ReKnew, which is that Jesus Christ is the full and final revelation of God. Jesus is thus not to be placed alongside of other portraits of God in Scripture, which is what Christians have tended to do throughout history. Rather, everything in Scripture should be read through the lens of Christ and, more specifically, through the lens of the cross, for as I’ve argued, everything Jesus is about is summed up, and woven together, around the cross.
John 1:1 teaches us that Jesus is “the Word” who was “in beginning with God” and who is himself “God.” While scholars nuance it differently, all agree that the concept of the “Word” (logos), as John uses it, refers to God’s self-communication. As John Robinson put it, Jesus is “the face of God.” And notice the definite article. Jesus is the Word. God doesn’t having many Words. He has one, and it’s Jesus Christ. Whenever God speaks or presents himself to us, John is saying, he looks like Jesus.
So far as I can see, this means it is illegitimate to ever think we can supplement or qualify what we learn about God in Jesus Christ with other words in Scripture. Scripture’s words are only the Word of God insofar as they agree with, and in fact point to, the revelation of God in Christ. In fact, Jesus himself reflects this conviction when he chastises the religious leaders of his day saying they study Scripture while failing to see that it all “testifies about me” (Jn 5:39). So too, the resurrected Jesus chided two of his disciples for being “slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken” about him. “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” he asked. (Lk 24:25-26). And then, Luke says,” beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Lk 24:27).
It is apparent that Jesus is the Word of the words of Scripture. God “breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16) all Scripture for the ultimate purpose of “breathing” his Word, Jesus. In this light, the last thing we should ever do is try to supplement, let alone qualify, the revelation of God in Christ with other words.
How can you believe Matthew’s report about the Jewish cover up of the resurrection?
Question: In Matthew it’s reported that Jewish authorities tried to cover up the resurrection of Jesus by saying the disciples stole the body while the guards were sleeping. I don’t buy it. How would Matthew know about this story, since it was a secret conversation the authorities had with the guards? And how could they…
Why Bart Ehrman Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Christmas (Or Your Faith) Part 3
This is the third of several videos Greg put together to refute Bart Ehrman’s claims published in the article What Do We Really Know About Jesus? If you missed the first two installments you can find them here and here.
Jesus, the New Israel
The Gospels present Jesus and the Kingdom he inaugurated as the fulfillment of Israel’s story. For example, Jesus’ birth fulfills Israel’s longing for a Messiah; his return from Egypt as a child mirrors their Exodus out of Egypt; his temptations in the desert allude to Israel’s temptations in the desert; his twelve disciples recall the…
Finding an Alternative Jesus
The “Newly Discovered” Jesus One of the most common, and most disturbing, refrains heard in the media’s coverage of contemporary radical views of Christ is that New Testament scholars have recently “discovered” new sources of information about Jesus that contradict the Bible’s own view of Jesus. It is claimed that works such as the Gospel…
Jesus and His Father
Greg addresses a question from a reader about the nature of the Godhead. If Jesus is the exact representation of the Father, what does this mean about the Trinity, if there are indeed three distinct persons?
The Call to a Cruciform Life
Jesus repeatedly taught that following him meant that one had to be willing to “pick up their cross daily and follow [him]” (Lk 9:23; 14:27). Picking up our cross is the centerpiece of following Jesus because this was the centerpiece of what Jesus was all about. The thematic centrality of the cross is also illustrated…