"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised
on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the
Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time,
most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then
to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."
(1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
THE OFFICES OF CHRIST
Jesus existed before creation - Micah 5:2; John 8:58, 17:24; Hebrews 7:3; Revelation 22:13.
He was intimately involved in the creation of the world - John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians
3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1, 2
OT prophets were God's representatives (Hebrews 1:1-3). "Prophet" meant one who
"spoke/told forth"; God's spokesmen. Also foretold (ie predicted). ¼ of the Bible is prophecy.
Jesus a "Prophet like Moses"
Moses was the major OT prophet. He promised that God would raise up another prophet like
him (Deuteronomy 18:15). The Jews of Jesus' time were awaiting this prophet, who would come
with God's message (the scribes of Jesus' day thought John the Baptist must be the promised
prophet, however he pointed to Jesus, John 1:21; as did Philip after meeting Jesus for the first
time, John 1:45). After the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, some believed Jesus was the
fulfilment (John 6:14).
Jesus was very much like Moses:
- both were delivered from violent death as infants;
- both were recognised as prophets;
- both performed miracles;
- both were leaders;
- both were intermediaries between God and people;
- Moses "gave" the Israelites manna; Jesus gave them spiritual bread (John 6:31-33);
- Moses offered to die, if necessary, if God would forgive the sins of the people (Exodus
- Jesus did die for our sins, so that we could enter the Kingdom of Heaven;
- Jesus spoke prophetically, but took Moses' message to a new level (eg compare "old" and
"new" in the Sermon on the Mount).
Peter declared that Moses' prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Acts 3:18-23).
So did Stephen, before he was martyred (Acts 7:37-38)
Jesus was recognised as a prophet: Mark 1:27, 6:4; John 4:19, 6:14, 7:40, 9:17. He spoke with
authority on God's behalf and confirmed His message with miraculous power and signs. His
denunciation of sin and false religion, the authoritative way he challenged the establishment of
His day, His uncompromising call to repentance, reminded the people of the OT prophets
Jesus challenged the leaders of His day: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he
wrote about me." (John 5:46, cf Luke 24:26).
- Proclaimed Salvation
God anointed Jesus (Christ = anointed) with the Holy Spirit, to preach the Gospel to the poor
(Luke 4:18), to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13; Luke 19:10). Jesus alluded to Himself
as a prophet (Luke 4:24).
- Proclaimed the Kingdom of God
Jewish people were awaiting a Messiah, whom they assumed would establish a political kingdom.
Some wanted to crown Him as their king, but Jesus would have none of it (John 6:15). Jesus did
preach the coming of a Kingdom (Matthew 4:17, 6:33; Mark 1:15; Luke 9:11), but the Kingdom
of God is a spiritual entity first and foremost (John 17:21). He was never going to raise an army
or lead a political movement (cf John 18:36). See 3. below.
- Predicted the Future
- His own betrayal and death - Matthew 16:21, 20:10 (even in the face of disbelief on the
part of the disciples)
- the site of the last supper - Mark 14:13-15
- His resurrection -Matthew 12:40, 26:32; Mark 9:10; John 2:19, 21
- the fall of Jerusalem - Matthew 23:34-39
- conditions at the end of the world - Matthew 24, 25
Priests in the Old Testament were appointed to:
- stand between God and the people - Christ is our sole mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews
- go before the people - Hebrews 6:20
- represent the "humanness" of the people - Jesus experienced our humanity (warts and
all), so that He could empathize and legitimately represent us - Hebrews 2:17, 3:1
- offer sacrifices - Hebrews 8:3; not for Himself (Hebrews 7:27); He was offered to take
away our sin (Hebrews 9:14, 26)
- present the blood of the sacrifice to God - Hebrews 9:13, 14
- model the kind of behaviour God expected from His people
Jesus' sacrifice is good for all times, for all people (Hebrews 7:27). His priesthood is
unchangeable (Hebrews 7:23, 28). He did away with the Levitical priesthood of the Old
Testament, that existed only as a "type" of His ministry. He was a priest "after the order of
Melchizedek", who preceded Moses and the Law. Psalm 110:4 reflects this relationship.
The Levitical priesthood (restricted to the tribe of Levi) and High Priest role (confined to
descendants of Aaron) established during Israel's wilderness wanderings were temporary.
Christians are part of a new "priesthood of believers", who have the privilege of entering the
presence of God unimpeded, offering sacrifices of worship and representing Him to the world.
Jesus is our "Great High Priest", who has gone before us.
The Kingdom He proclaimed would be ruled by Him.
- Melchizedek = King of Salem (Peace) and Priest of the Most High God - Genesis 14:18, 19;
Hebrews 7:1-3, cf Psalm 110:1-4; Hebrews 1:8
- King of Israel (Acts 2:30)
- Jesus was the descendent of King David, whose throne would last forever. This king
would usher in a period of peace, prosperity and righteousness (Isaiah 11:1-9; Psalm 72).
Jesus was first recognised as King by:
- the wise men - Matthew 2:2
- Nathanael - John 1:49
- ordinary people who met Jesus - Matthew 21:5 (prophesied by Zechariah 9:9)
- the dying thief on the cross next to Him during the crucifixion - Luke 23:42
Jesus declared to Pontius Pilate that He was born to be king. Pilate misunderstood, thinking He
was referring to an earthly kingdom - John 18:36.
He spoke of Himself as King - Matthew 25:34 (predicted a period when He would come as king -
Matthew 25:31). Now He has all power in heaven and on earth - Matthew 28:18. He has been
crowned in heaven - Ephesians 1:20-22; Revelation 3:21. One of the central themes of the
Revelation is "the King and His Kingdom" (11:5, 12:10, 19:16).
Not an earthly Kingdom (cf Rousas John Rushdoony, April 25, 1916 - February 8, 2001, Calvinist
philosopher, historian, and theologian, father of Christian Reconstructionism) and other
ALSO: healer & baptiser in the Holy Spirit
THE WORK OF CHRIST
1. His Earthly Ministry
See notes for Christology (1)
2. His Death
Jesus was born to be our Saviour - Matthew 1:21
To take away the sins of the world - John 1:29
The cross is central to God's plan. Isaiah spoke of the Suffering Servant who would make many
righteous. The Messianic Psalms also pointed to the suffering of Christ, eg Psalm 22.
The cross is foolish to the world (1 Corinthians 1:18), but Jesus said that taking up our cross and
following Him is central to Christian discipleship.
See "Counting the True Cost of Discipleship" at Relevant-Christianity.com for a message
about the application of Luke 14:25-35
The cross is the legal basis for:
- Jesus' victory over Satan - Colossians 2:15
- cancellation of the codified regulations that were set against us - Colossians 2:14
- victory in the Christian life, as we "reckon" (count, calculate) ourselves and our desires
dead with Christ - Romans 6:11; Galatians 2:20, 24. Sin and Satan cannot exercise power
over someone who is dead. The Devil's condemnation has no basis.
- typified in baptism - Romans 6:1-10
God has taken the initiative. Christ died for us, when we did not know about, did not deserve it,
did not ask for it. To bring us back into full fellowship with God and give us eternal life. Jesus
took our sins in His body - 1 Peter 2:24. He was "made sin for us" = 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Being made sin for us and experiencing separation from the Father were worse than
the physical sufferings, which is often emphasised instead.
These themes will be dealt with in greater detail under "Soteriology" (Salvation)
3. His Resurrection
(a) Fact of the Resurrection
The resurrection was written/reported by eyewitnesses (read 1 Corinthians 15). The earliest
documentary evidences of those statements have been dated to within 20 years of the events.
If the resurrection had not occurred (Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15:12-29):
- our preaching is pointless
- the faith of all Christians is in vain
- God's ministers are liars
- we are still in the legal and actual clutches of sin
- Christians who have already died are "lost" for eternity - the salvation they hoped
(and often suffered) for was not true
- we should give up living right and abandon ourselves to sin as there is no "tomorrow"
- it is all a figment of our imagination and there is no rationale for "living right"
- we are to be pitied more that everyone else
"Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Revelation 1:17, 18)
(b) Evidences of the Resurrection
Six theories used to "explain away" the resurrection.
|Theory of Reimarus:|
The entire affair centred on
the theft of the body of Jesus
and a made-up story on the
part of Jesus and His friends
This theory is not plausible.|
The central characters are the same men and women who
scattered when Jesus was arrested. They were disillusioned and
depressed. They would have put themselves at too great a risk
to steal the body of Jesus, let along construct an elaborate hoax
along the lines of the resurrection account.
The theory suggests the disciples agreed on a course of
deception, lived the rest of their lives as hypocrites, preaching a
lie, without letting the story out.
Plenty of other religious followers have died for their faith
(many, arguably, in worse physical circumstances than
crucifixion), but the crucial point of Reimarus proposition is that
the disciples would have known it was a lie, if they had stolen
the body or made up the story. They all would have died for
what they knew was a lie.
Suggests they went to their deaths proclaiming comfort in the
risen Christ, in spite of the fact they knew the story to be false.
Why did they not admit the fraud.
Moral issues: Presupposes that a group of liars committed
themselves to spreading a religion based on love, fear of God,
righteousness, morality, insisting absolute truth (in the face of
judgement for sin) and in so doing established a world-wide
network of moral, ethical teaching based on a deliberate
Legal issues: why did the Jewish leaders or Roman authorities
(who had major stakes in the outcome) not produce the body to
debunk the claims of the disciples? If the body was stolen, as
they claimed, why were the soldiers not punished (they reported
that they had been asleep at the time)?
Logical issues: why would the disciples do it, in the face pf
obstacles, every indication was that they usually vacillated, so
why not abandon the quest after the final defeat (Jesus' death).
Why were the leading priests (and later Paul, a member of the
powerful Sanhedrin) converted to Christ, if they knew the story
was a hoax? Why was a search for the missing body not
organised? Even Josephus acknowledges Christians believed
Christ had risen from the dead, but did not suggest he had any
evidence to the contrary. Why were the disciples transformed
from fear to boldness?
Jesus did not die, but merely
swooned (fainted) on the
cross; he revived in the cool
of the tomb, made his exit
and was seen by a few
friends (including Paul)
before he died in obscurity
and his body was quietly
|Presupposes that a person exhausted, half-dead, with wounded
head, hands, feet and penetrated side (probably pericardium)
managed to escape from his role of grave clothes, roll away the
stone, overpower the Roman guards posted outside the tomb,
evade his enemies, walk to where the disciples were (in hiding),
convince them that he was an "overcomer" (victor over death).
If He was dying (or even badly wounded) his image would have
been one of defeat. Also presupposes that the Roman soldiers
(who were accomplished executioners) did not do their job
during the crucifixion (given serious pressures from the religious
leaders to ensure his death). He was certified as dead.
Furthermore, the lie would be at odds with the character of
From Renan, a French writer.
The appearances of Christ
were purely subjective; they
were not real. The disciples
were distraught over Jesus'
death. They were desperate
to see Him again and believe
in His mission, so they "saw"
Him, or believed they did.
All they experienced were
The problem is how the disciples managed to maintain the
illusion years after the event. The theory reduces the disciples
to a company of gullible, emotionally unreliable men and
women, not moral leaders.|
In fact, the initial reaction of the disciples was one of disbelief.
The "hallucinations" did not continue, however there were a
few unique appearances (eg Paul in prison and en route to
Roma). Paul records that more than five hundred people saw
Jesus on one occasion. He ate in front of the disciples,
specifically to demonstrate that He was not an illusion. He had
flesh and bones and ate real food. (Luke 24:37-43).
Large groups of people do not experience group hallucinations in
the manner described.
Jesus' appearance to the
Apostle Paul was a vision, an
illusion. Paul may have had
epilepsy. The record
indicates he was probably
prone to visions.
|Paul started out violently opposed to the Gospel. He was a well
educated, influential man, but he did not tolerate the Christians
or their beliefs.|
Also, the appearances of Jesus were not to Paul alone.
What the disciples saw was
not Jesus' body, but His
glorified spirit, sending them
a message of comfort (like an
email from "beyond", letting
them know that all was
|See above responses.|
Apart from anything else, those who put forward this theory, and
others like it, do not address one simple question. Why did
Jesus' enemies not simply produce His body and put and end to
all discussions about resurrection.
|Talk about "resurrection"
was the disciples' way of
describing His ongoing
influence in their lives.|
|See above responses.|
The New Testament writers recorded the resurrection as a
literal, observable, historical event, involving the same body
that was placed =in the tomb (now "glorified"). The faith of the
first Christians was predominantly one anchored in the reality of
People devise elaborate theories to explain away the account of the resurrection rather than
submit to Christ.
New Testament Witnesses
Jesus was seen alive after His death by:
- Mary Magdalene - John 20:11-18
- other women - Matthew 28:9, 10
- Peter - Luke 24:33-35
- two disciples on the road to Emmaus - Luke 24:13-32
- ten disciples on the evening of the resurrection - John 20:19-23
- eleven disciples the following week - John 20:26-28
- seven disciples in Galilee - John 21:1-15
- apostles and others in Galilee - Matthew 28:16-20
- more than five hundred Christians at the same time - 1 Corinthians 15:6
- James, His brother - 1 Corinthians 15:7
- Paul, in subsequent experiences - 1 Corinthians 15:8, etc.
- John, on the Island of Patmos (Revelation1)
(c) Meaning of the Resurrection
- gave the disciples joy, confidence, because it confirmed the reality of all Jesus said; gave
them hope for eternity, for which they were prepared to die (and many did)
- made them bold in declaring the message, because Jesus was alive - Acts 2:22-24
- confirmed the Lordship and deity of Jesus Christ
- confirmed the effect of the death of Christ for sinners - Romans 4:25; 10:9, 10; Acts 5:30, 31
- we cannot be genuine Christians without believing in the resurrection - Romans 8:11
- Christ offers us "resurrection" power beyond ourselves, that is able to make us "alive" now,
as well as prepared for eternity - Romans 8:11
- confirmed there is life beyond the grave
- superior to the resurrections Jesus carried out (and those elsewhere in the Bible), where
all who were raised from the dead went on to die again
- gives hope of a personal resurrection for Christians - 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 15; 2
Corinthians 4:4; John 14:19; 1 Peter 1:3
- sets Jesus Christ apart from every other human religious founder - Buddha, Mohammed and
others are all dead; the grave of Jesus is empty
- "Because He lives, we will live also" - John 14:19; 1 Corinthians 6:14
- evidence that there will one day be a resurrection for all men and women - Acts 17:31
4. His Ascension and Present Ministry
(a) Christ in Heaven
Jesus ascended to heaven in front of His disciples - Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9.
Scripture says that He entered heaven (Hebrews 9:4), "led captivity captive and gave gifts to
men" - Psalm 68:18; Ephesians 4:8
Too often we see Jesus in terms of His earthly ministry. However, this was only a brief interlude
in history. Jesus is eternal, the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End. He is not limited to His
bodily shape (read Revelation Chapter One). After the resurrection He had a spiritual body (cf 1
Corinthians 15:44). This is how He was able to appear/disappear, pass through closed doors, etc.
Just because we cannot see Him does not mean He is not with us.
(b) He has been Exalted
And given all power in Heaven and on earth - Matthew 28:18.
(c) He is Sovereign
- He is seated in heavenly places, far above all principalities, powers, might and dominion -
Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 2:10; Revelation 5:12
- He is the head of every man - 1 Corinthians 11:3
- seated at the right hand of the Father - Colossians 3:1
- angels, principalities and powers are subject to Him - 1 Peter 3:22; Romans 14:9
- He has been given a name that is above every name; at His name every knee will bow and
every tongue confess that He is Lord - Philippians 20, 11
- we are seated together with Him - Ephesians 2:6
- we are subject / submitted to Him - Ephesians 5:22-33 (marriage analogy)
(d) He is preparing the Way for Us
He has gone ahead of us - Hebrews 6:19, 20
so that we will be with Him - John 12:26
He is preparing a place for us - John 14:2, 3
(e) He is Our Intercessor
Jesus mediates/intercedes for us (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34). John tells us
that He is our "advocate" (lawyer) when we sin (1 John 2:1). John 17 contains some key
elements of Jesus' intercession for the church.
(f) He is Omnipresent
- He is not geographically bound "I am with you always" - Matthew 28:18
- He is with believers when we gather in His name - Matthew 18:20
- He lives in our heart by faith" (Ephesians 3:17)
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even
greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in
my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. (John 14:12-14, NIV)
Seeing Jesus as He really is
In Genesis, He is the Seed of the Woman.
In Exodus, He is Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus, He is our High Priest.
In Numbers' He is our Pillar of Cloud by day and our Pillar of Fire by night.
In Deuteronomy, He is the Prophet like Moses.
In Joshua, He is the Captain of our salvation.
In Judges, He is our Lawgiver.
In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer.
In First and Second Samuel, He is our Trusted Prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King.
In Ezra, He is our Advocate.
In Job, He's our Ever-Living Redeemer.
In Psalms, He is the Lord, our Shepherd, so we shall not want.
In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes, He is our Goal!
In Song of Solomon, He is our Lover and our Bridegroom.
In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace.
In Jeremiah and Lamentations, He is the Weeping Prophet.
In Ezekiel, He is the Wonderful Four-faced Man.
In Daniel, He is the 4th Man in the burning, fiery furnace.
In Hosea, He is the Eternal Husband, forever married to the backslider.
In Joel, He is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit.
In Amos, He is our Burden-bearer.
In Obadiah, He is our Savior.
In Jonah, He is the Great Foreign Missionary.
In Micah, He is the Messenger with beautiful feet.
In Nahum, He is our Avenger.
In Habakkuk, He is the Evangelist pleading for revival.
In Zephaniah, He is the Lord, mighty to save.
In Haggai, He is the Restorer of the lost heritage.
In Zechariah, He is the Fountain springing up with everlasting life.
In Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness, rising with healing in His Wings.
In Matthew, He is the Messiah.
In Mark, He is the Wonder Worker.
In Luke, He is the Son of Man.
In John, He is the Son of God.
In Acts, He is the giver of the Holy Ghost, moving among men.
In Romans, He is the Justifier.
In 1st & 2nd Corinthians, He is the Sanctifier.
In Galatians, He is the Redeemer from the curse of the law.
In Ephesians, He is the Christ of unsearchable riches.
In Philippians, He is the God who supplies ALL of our needs.
In Colossians, He is the fullness of the godhead bodily.
In 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, He is our Soon-coming King.
In 1st & 2nd Timothy, He is the Mediator between God and man.
In Titus, He is the Faithful Pastor.
In Philemon, He is the Friend of the oppressed.
In Hebrews, He is the Blood of the everlasting covenant.
In James, He is the Lord who raises the sick.
In 1st & 2nd Peter, He is the Chief Shepherd, who shall soon appear.
In 1st, 2nd & 3rd John, He is Love.
In Jude, He is the Lord coming with ten thousand of His saints.
In Revelation, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
He is Abel's sacrifice and Noah's rainbow. He is Abraham's ram and Isaac's well. He is Jacob's
ladder and Ezekiel's burden. He is Judah's scepter, Moses' rod, David's slingshot, and
Hezekiah's sundial. He is the Church's Head and is risen from the dead. He is Husband to the
widow and a Father to the orphan.
To those travelling by night, He is the Bright and the Morning Star. To those in the lonely
valley, He is the Lily of the Valley, the Rose of Sharon, the Honey in the Rock and the Staff of
Life. He is the Pearl of Great Price. He is the Rock in the weary land. He is the Counselor.
He is the Everlasting Father. The government is upon His shoulders. He is Peter's shadow,
John's pearly white city. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the Living God.
He is the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is the One who split the Red Sea. He
is the One who took the children of Israel out of Egypt in to the Promised Land. He is the One
who humbled Himself, came to earth, healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers,
opened the eyes of the blind, and turned the water into wine.
He is the One who fed the 5,000, walked on water, and cast out devils. He is the One who
humbled Himself, once again, and became obedient to death - even the death of the cross. He
is the One who died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of the Father,
and ever lives to make intercession for us. And He is coming back very, very soon. He is Jesus
Christ of Nazareth, King of kings and Lord of lords.
(From The Fourth Man
, by US Evangelist Oral Roberts)