Jesus Christ is the originator and focus of the Christian faith based on the teaching of the Holy Bible. He is the eternal second person of the Triune God who took on humanity at his incarnation, being born of the virgin Mary. He is uniquely the God-man, both God and man united in his one person, who came to fully reveal God and accomplish the redemption of mankind through his sacrificial atoning death on the cross. On the third day following his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, according to the Scriptures.

His incarnation, earthly ministry, death, and resurrection are specifically recorded in the four Gospels of the New Testament. The study of Jesus Christ is called Christology.


Jesus the Christ

The name 'Jesus' is derived from the Latin form of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Jeshua, or Joshua, meaning "Jehovah is salvation. "

The title 'Christ', from the Greek Christos, is the equivalent of the Hebrew Messias, meaning "anointed one. " Thus, the term Christ is a title rather than a proper name and identifies Jesus as the anticipated Messiah of the Old Testament.

To believe that 'Jesus is the Christ' is to believe that he is the Anointed, the Messiah of the prophets, the Saviour sent of God, that he was, in a word, what he claimed to be. This is to believe the gospel, by the faith of which alone men can be brought unto God. That Jesus is the Christ is the testimony of God, and the faith of this constitutes a Christian (1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 John 5:1). [1]

Jesus' pre-existance

Scripture presents Jesus as the second person of the Trinity who existed prior to his incarnation. Christ was involved in the Creation (John 1:1-3) and is denoted as having existed before all things were created (see Col.1:16-17; cf. John 17:5).

See main pages: Pre-existence of Jesus, Eternal Sonship of Jesus, Eternal generation of the Son, Deity of Jesus

The Word became flesh

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Although Jesus pre-existed as the Son of God, Scripture teaches that he took on flesh and was born in the likeness of men in human form (Philippians 2:7-8; cf. 1 John 4:2-3). This has traditionally been understood as his incarnation. Jesus was born of a virgin, a doctrine well attested in the NT and found deep in the beliefs of the early church fathers.

The Fourth Gospel may give answers to three groups: Jews, Gnostics, and followers of John the Baptist.

  • Jews. To the rabbis who spoke of the Torah (Law) as preexistent, as God's instrument in creation, and is the source of light and life, John replied that these claims apply rather to the Logos.
  • Gnostics. To the Gnostics who would deny a real incarnation, John's answer was most emphatic: "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14).
  • Followers of John the Baptist. To those who stopped with John the Baptist, he made it clear that John was not the Light but only witness to the Light (John 1:1-6ff).

Although the term Logos is not retained as a title beyond the prologue, the whole book of John presses these basic claims. As the Logos, Jesus Christ is God in self-revelation (Light) and redemption (Life). He is God to the extent that he can be present to man and knowable to man. The Logos is God (John 1:1), and the risen Christ is worshiped by Thomas, who fell at his feet saying, "My Lord and my God" (20:28). Yet the Logos is in some sense distinguishable from God, for "the Logos was with God" (John 1:1). God and the Logos are not two beings, and yet they are also not simply identical. In contrast to the Logos, God can be conceived (in principle at least) also apart from his revelatory action─although we must not forget that the Bible speaks of God only in his revelatory action. The paradox that the Logos is God and yet it is in some sense distinguishable from God is maintained in the body of the Gospel. That God as he acts and as he is revealed does not "exhaust" God as he is, is reflected in sayings attributed to Jesus: I and the Father are one" (John 10:30), and also, "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). The Logos is God active in creation, revelation, and redemption. Jesus Christ not only gives God's Word to us humans; he is the Word (John 1:14, 14:6). He is the true word─ultimate reality revealed in a Person. The Logos is God, distinguishable and thought yet not separable in fact.

Frank Stagg, New Testament Theology. [2]

See main pages: Incarnation of the Son of God, Virgin birth of Jesus, Humanity of Jesus, Genealogy of Jesus

Jesus' life and ministry

"When he was about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23), Jesus was baptized, signifying the beginning of his ministry. He was then tempted by the devil, and remained obedient unlike the disobedience of Israel in the midst of their temptations. Throughout his ministry he performed many miracles, healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing many "signs" (cf. Gospel of John). He told parables, and the NT (especially the Gospels) are full of his teachings. Furthermore, Jesus lived a sinless life, fulfilling the law and completely obeying the will of God.

See main pages: Baptism of Jesus, Life of Jesus, Miracles of Jesus, Obedience of Jesus, Parables of Jesus, Sinlessness of Jesus, Teachings of Jesus, Temptation of Jesus

The person of Jesus

Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Furthermore, he has been traditionally understood as Prophet, Priest, and King (his "offices"). Scripture also presents him as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), and the Second Adam (Rom.5:12-21; 1 Cor.15:20-22). Who Jesus was (his person) is closely linked to what he did (his works).

See main pages: Deity of Jesus, Humanity of Jesus, Two natures of Jesus, Communicatio idiomatum, Offices of Jesus, Jewishness of Jesus, Jesus as the Suffering Servant, Jesus as the second Adam

The culmination of Jesus' life

Jesus' life culminated in his substitutionary death, resurrection and ascension. Scripture teaches that Jesus died, was buried, and rose on the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4; cf. Acts 2:32). In this, he revealed the glory he had with the Father before the world existed (John 17:5), being exalted to the right hand of God and given the name above all names (Phil 2:9).

See main pages: Atonement of Christ, Resurrection of Jesus, Ascension of Jesus

Jesus' return

Jesus will return to judge both believers and unbelievers (see Matt 24-25; cf. 1 Thess). Known as the parousia, Christians call this the Second Coming.

See main pages: Second Coming, Millennium

Other issues in Christology


Traditionally, Christology has been approached "from above" and "from below. " While these are not the only methods, they have remained the current methods for doing theology.

What did Jesus actually say and do?

Groups and organizations like the Jesus Seminar have questioned the reliability of the Gospels and thus their presentation of the biblical Jesus. Did the Jesus of scripture really exist? If he did, what did he say and did he really perform miracles? These are some of the questions involved in this ongoing discussion.

See main pages: Historicity of Jesus and Jesus Seminar

Could Jesus have sinned?

Many have questioned whether or not Jesus was able to sin. Since Jesus is God, those who say he could have sinned are criticized for implying that God could sin. Those who deny that Jesus could have sinned find critique in that this makes Jesus somehow less human, and although he knew temptation, it was not similar the temptation that the rest of humanity faces.

See main page: Impeccability of Jesus

Old Testament Prophecy

The Old Testament is ripe with prophecy that points to the Messiah, setting conditions in which believers could identify the Christ, in addition to His complete fulfillment of the Law. The fulfillment of the Law is very important, as Christ had to be the "spotless Lamb" in order to redeem humanity.

See main pages: Messianic prophecy, Jesus and the Law

Further reading


  1. Christ, Easton Bible Dictionary
  2. Frank Stagg, New Testament Theology, Broadman, 1962. ISBN: 978-0805416138

See also

External links

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