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The Identity of Christ General audience of January 7, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior General audience of Janua PowerPoint Presentation
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The Identity of Christ General audience of January 7, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior General audience of Janua

The Identity of Christ General audience of January 7, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior General audience of Janua

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The Identity of Christ General audience of January 7, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior General audience of Janua

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  1. The Identity of Christ General audience of January 7, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior General audience of January 14, 1987 Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin Mary General audience of January 28, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old Covenant General audience of February 4, 1987 Jesus Christ, Messiah King General audience of February 11, 1987 Jesus Christ, Messiah Priest General audience of February 18, 1987 Jesus Christ, Messiah and Prophet General audience of February 25, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of Man General audience of April 29, 1987 Jesus Christ, Son of God General audience of May 13, 1987 Jesus Christ, the Son Sent by the Father General audience of June 24, 1987 Jesus' Awareness of His Unique Relationship to the Father General audience of July 1, 1987

  2. The Identity of ChristGeneral audience of January 7, 1987 "Who do you say that I am?" (Mt 16:15). In beginning this reflection on Jesus Christ, which is of fundamental importance for the faith and Christian life, we are faced with the same question which the Master addressed Peter and the disciples who were with him about two thousand years ago.

  3. The Identity of ChristGeneral audience of January 7, 1987 The Gospel of Matthew relates that in that decisive moment, "When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do men say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'" (Mt 16:13-15). We know Peter's frank and impetuous response: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16).

  4. The Identity of ChristGeneral audience of January 7, 1987 Each one of us must let ourselves be touched personally by the question: "And you, who do you say that I am? You who hear me spoken of, answer me. What do I really mean for you?" Peter's divine illumination and response of faith came after a long period of living close to Jesus, hearing his words and observing his life and ministry (cf. Mt 16:21-24).

  5. The Identity of ChristGeneral audience of January 7, 1987  In our case in order to make a more conscious profession of faith in Jesus Christ • We must, like Peter, listen attentively and carefully. • We must follow in the school of the first disciples who had become his witnesses and our teachers. • We must accept the experience and testimony of no less than twenty centuries of history marked by the Master's question and enriched by the immense chorus of responses of the faithful of all times and places. Today we are called to give with renewed joy the response which God inspires and awaits from us, as if for a new birth of Jesus Christ in our history.

  6. The Identity of ChristGeneral audience of January 7, 1987 We shall consider four central points: 1) Jesus in his historical reality and in his transcendent messianic character, son of Abraham, Son of Man and Son of God; 2) Jesus in his identity as true God and true man, in profound communion with the Father and animated by the power of the Holy Spirit as he is presented to us in the Gospel; 3) Jesus as seen by the eyes of the Church which with the assistance of the Holy Spirit has elucidated and investigated the data of revelation by giving us, especially in the ecumenical councils, precise formulations of the Christological faith; 4) Jesus in his life and in his works, Jesus in his redemptive passion and in his glorification, Jesus in our midst and within us, in history and in his Church until the end of the world (cf. Mt. 28:20).

  7. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 Following the earliest creeds of the Christian faith, the Apostles' Creed proclaims: "I believe...in Jesus Christ, His [God's] only Son." The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, after having defined with still greater precision the divine origin of Jesus Christ as Son of God, continues with the declaration that this Son of God "for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven...and became man." The central nucleus of the Christian faith is constituted by the twofold truth that Jesus Christ is Son of God and Son of Man (the Christological truth), God the Father brought about the salvation of man in him, his Son and Savior of the world (the soteriological truth).

  8. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 Salvation means liberation from evil, especially from sin. The revelation contained in Sacred Scripture, beginning with the Protoevangelium (Gen 3:15), opens us to the truth that only God can free us from sin and from all the present evil of human existence. While revealing himself as Creator of the world and its guiding Providence, God at the same time reveals himself as Savior, as the one who frees from evil, in particular from sin caused by the free will of the creature. This is the apex of the creative project put into effect by divine Providence, in which the world (cosmology), the human race (anthropology) and God the Savior (soteriology) are closely linked. As the Second Vatican Council recalls, Christians believe that the world "has been created and sustained by the love of its maker, that it has been freed from the slavery of sin by Christ, who was crucified and rose again..." (GS2).

  9. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 Considered etymologically, the name "Jesus" means "Yahweh saves.” Before the Babylonian captivity it was expressed in the form "Jehosua," a theophoric name which contains the root of the most holy name of Yahweh. After the exile in Babylon it took the abbreviated form "Jeshua," which the Septuagint translation transcribed as "Jesoûs," from which comes the English "Jesus."

  10. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 The name was quite widespread both at the time of the old covenant and of the new. • For example, it is the same as the name Joshua, who after the death of Moses led the Israelites into the promised land: "He became, in accordance with his name, a great savior of God's elect...so that he might give Israel its inheritance" (Sir 46:1). • Jesus, son of Sirach, was the compiler of the Book of Sirach (50:27). • In the genealogy of the Savior contained in Luke's Gospel we find listed "Er, son of Jesus" (Lk 3:28-29). • Among the collaborators of St. Paul there is a certain Jesus "who is called Justus" (cf. Col 4:11). At the beginning of Jesus' public ministry his name was understood by the people in the usual meaning of that time.

  11. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Thus Philip said to Nathanael who replied: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1:45-46). This question indicates that Nazareth was not highly esteemed by the children of Israel. Yet Jesus was called a "Nazarene" or "Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee" (cf. Mt 2:23, 21:11), an expression which Pilate himself used in the inscription which he had placed on the cross: "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews" (Jn 19:19).  The people called Jesus "the Nazarene" from the name of the place where he resided with his family until he reached the age of thirty.

  12. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 The name Jesus never had that fullness of meaning which it would come to have in the case of Jesus of Nazareth According to tradition, parents always named their children. But in the case of Jesus, son of Mary, the name was chosen and assigned from on high already before his birth, as indicated by the angel to Mary in the Annunciation (cf. Lk 1:31) and to Joseph in a dream (cf. Mt 1:21). "He was called Jesus," the evangelist Luke emphasizes, because that was "the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb" (Lk 2:21).

  13. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 According to the disposition of divine Providence, Jesus of Nazareth bears a name which alludes to salvation, "God sets free," because he is what in fact his name indicates, that is, the Savior. This is confirmed by some phrases in the so-called infancy Gospels of Luke: "For you is born...a Savior" (Lk 2:11), and of Matthew: "for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21).

  14. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 These expressions reflect the truth revealed and proclaimed by the whole of the New Testament. "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Kyrios, Adonai), to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:9-11). The reason for the exaltation of Jesus is found in the witness rendered to him by the apostles who courageously proclaimed: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

  15. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 We know that Jesus' birthplace was not Nazareth but Bethlehem, a locality of Judea to the south of Jerusalem. The evangelists Luke and Matthew stated this. In particular, Luke noted that because of the census ordered by the Roman authorities, "Joseph went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem...to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered" (Lk 2:4-6).

  16. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 As is the case with other biblical places, Bethlehem also assumes a prophetic value. Referring to the prophet Micah (cf. 5:1-3), Matthew recalled that this little town had been indicated as the birthplace of the Messiah: "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel" (Mt 2:6). The prophet added "whose origin is from of old, from ancient days" (Mic 1).

  17. Jesus Christ, Son of God and SaviorGeneral audience of January 14, 1987 The priests and scribes referred to this text when Herod consulted them in order to reply to the wise men from the East who had asked where the Messiah was to be born. The text of Matthew's Gospel which states: "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king" (Mt 2:1), refers back to the prophecy of Micah, to which is referred also the question in the fourth Gospel: "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" (Jn 7:42). From this we conclude that Jesus is the name of a historical person who lived in Palestine.

  18. Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin MaryGeneral audience of January 28, 1987 is proclaimed by the creeds of the faith, the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. It was taught by the Fathers of the Church and the councils, according to which Jesus Christ, eternal Son of God, is "born in the world of his mother's substance" (Creed Quicumque, DS76). The Church then professes and proclaims that Jesus Christ was conceived and born of a daughter of Adam, a descendant of Abraham and of David, the Virgin Mary.

  19. Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin MaryGeneral audience of January 28, 1987 The first moment of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God is identified with the miraculous conception which took place by the power of the Holy Spirit when Mary uttered her "yes": "Be it done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38). Luke's Gospel states that Mary conceived the Son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, not knowing man (cf. Lk 1:34 and Mt 1:18, 24-25). Mary was therefore a virgin before the birth of Jesus, and she remained a virgin in giving birth and after the birth.

  20. Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin MaryGeneral audience of January 28, 1987 That is the truth presented by the New Testament texts, and expressed both by the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinopole in 553, which spoke of Mary as "ever virgin," and by the Lateran Council in 649, which taught that "the mother of God...Mary...conceived (her Son) through the power of the Holy Spirit without human intervention, and in giving birth to him her virginity remained uncorrupted, and even after the birth her virginity remained intact" (DS 503).

  21. Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin MaryGeneral audience of January 28, 1987 The Gospel witness to the virginal conception of Jesus on the part of Mary is of great theological importance. It constitutes a particular sign of the divine origin of Mary's Son. The fact that Jesus did not have an earthly father because he was generated "without human intervention" sets out clearly the truth that he is the Son of God, so much so that even when he assumed human nature his Father remained exclusively God.

  22. Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin MaryGeneral audience of January 28, 1987 The revelation of the intervention of the Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus, indicates the beginning of the history of the man of the new "spiritual generation" which has a strictly supernatural character (cf. 1 Cor 15:45-49). In this way the Triune God "is communicated" to the creature through the Holy Spirit. It is the mystery to which the words of the Psalmist may be applied: "Send forth your Spirit, and they are created, and you renew the face of the earth" (Ps 104:30).

  23. Jesus Christ, Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin MaryGeneral audience of January 28, 1987 In the economy of this self-communication of God to the creature, the virginal conception of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is a central and culminating event. It initiates the "new creation." In this way God enters decisively into history to activate our supernatural destiny in Christ. It is the definitive expression of God's salvific love for the human race.

  24. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987  Of the two genealogies of Jesus Matthew's Gospel (cf. 1:1-17) is made out in a descending order It lists the ancestors of Jesus, son of Mary, beginning from Abraham. The other in St. Luke's Gospel, (cf. 3:23-38) is in ascending order, beginning with Jesus and going back to Adam. While Luke's genealogy links Jesus with the whole of humanity, Matthew's genealogy makes evident the fact that he was of the offspring of Abraham. Jesus is fully a member of the great human family as a son of Israel, God's Chosen People in the old covenant.

  25. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Jesus was born among this people; he grew up in their religion and culture. He was a true Israelite who thought and expressed himself in Aramaic according to the conceptual and linguistic categories of his contemporaries. He followed the customs and usages of his surroundings. As an Israelite he was a faithful heir of the old covenant.

  26. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Shortly after his birth Jesus was circumcised according to the ritual prescriptions of the Mosaic law, thus becoming officially a member of the people of the covenant: "At the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus" (Lk 2:21). The Infancy Gospel, however scarce in details concerning the first part of Jesus' life, mentions that "his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover" (Lk 2:41), an indication of their fidelity to the law and tradition of Israel.

  27. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 "When he [Jesus] was twelve years old, they went up according to custom" (Lk 2:42). "When they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, without his parents knowing it" (Lk 2:43). After searching for three days "they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions" (Lk 2:46). Superimposed on the joy of Mary and Joseph were his words which they did not understand: "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Lk 2:49).

  28. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Apart from this event, the whole period of the infancy and youth of Jesus is passed over in silence in the Gospel. It is the period of his "hidden life," summarized by Luke in two simple statements: Jesus "went down with them [Mary and Joseph] and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them" (Lk 2:51); and "He progressed steadily in wisdom and age and grace before God and men" (Lk 2:52).

  29. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 We learn from the Gospels that Jesus lived in his own family, in the house of Joseph, who took the place of a father in regard to Mary's son by assisting and protecting him and gradually training him in his own trade of carpenter. The people of the town of Nazareth regarded him as "the carpenter's son" (cf. Mt 13:55). When he began to teach, his fellow citizens asked with surprise: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?" (Mk 6:3).

  30. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Besides his mother they mentioned also his "brothers" and his "sisters," that is, those members of his kin ("cousins"), who lived at Nazareth. It was they who, as the evangelist Mark mentions, sought to dissuade Jesus from his activity of teaching (cf. Mk 3:21). Evidently they did not find in him anything to justify the beginning of a new activity. They thought that Jesus was just like any other Israelite, and should remain such.

  31. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Jesus' public ministry began at the age of thirty when he held his first discourse at Nazareth: "He went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was handed to him the book of the prophet Isaiah..." (Lk 4:16-17). Jesus read the passage beginning with the words: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor..." (Lk 4:18). Jesus then turned to those present and announced: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Lk 4:21).

  32. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 In his teaching, which began at Nazareth and extended to Galilee and to Judea as far as the capital, Jerusalem, Jesus made use of the rich religious tradition of Israel. He penetrated it with a new insight, revealed its key values and set out its prophetic perspectives. He did not hesitate to condemn deviations from the plan of the God of the covenant. In this way he brought about, within the scope of the one and the same divine revelation, the transition from the "old" to the "new," not by abolishing the law but by bringing it to fulfillment (cf. Mt 5:17).

  33. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 It is with this thought that the Letter to the Hebrews opens: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son..." (Heb 1:1). This transition from the "old" to the "new" characterizes the whole teaching of the "prophet" of Nazareth.

  34. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 A particularly clear example is the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew's Gospel. Jesus says: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill....' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment" (Mt 5:21-22). "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:27-28). "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Mt 5:43-44).

  35. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Teaching in this way, Jesus states at the same time: "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Mt 5:17). This "fulfillment" is a key word which refers not only to the teaching of the truth revealed by God, but also to the whole history of Israel, or of the people of which Jesus is a son. This extraordinary history, guided from the very beginning by the powerful hand of the God of the covenant, finds its fulfillment in Jesus.

  36. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 The plan which the God of the covenant had inscribed from the very beginning in this history, making it the history of salvation, was ordered to the "fullness of time" (cf. Gal 4:4) which is realized in Jesus Christ. The prophet of Nazareth did not hesitate to speak of it from his very first discourse delivered in the synagogue of his own town.

  37. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 Jesus' words recorded in John's Gospel are particularly eloquent, when he said to his opponents: "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day..." and in the face of their incredulity: "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus again more explicitly asserted: "Truly, truly, I say to you before Abraham was, I am" (cf. Jn 8:56-58).

  38. Jesus Christ, Son of Israel, Chosen People of the Old CovenantGeneral audience of February 4, 1987 It is evident that Jesus affirmed not only that he is the fulfillment of God's salvific plan, inscribed in the history of Israel from the time of Abraham, but that his existence precedes the time of Abraham, even to the point of identifying himself with "He who is" (cf. Ex 3:14). Precisely for this reason, he, Jesus Christ, is the fulfillment of the history of Israel, because he transcends this history by his mystery.  

  39. Jesus Christ, Messiah KingGeneral audience of February 11, 1987 Matthew concludes his genealogy of Jesus, Son of Mary, with the words "Jesus who is called Christ" (Mt 1:16). The term "Christ" is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word "Messiah," which means "Anointed." Israel, God's chosen people, had lived for generations in expectation of the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah, whose coming was prepared by the history of the covenant. The Messiah, that is, the "Anointed" sent by God, was to bring to fulfillment the call of the people of the covenant. Through revelation Israel was granted the privilege of knowing the truth about God himself and about his plan for salvation.

  40. Jesus Christ, Messiah KingGeneral audience of February 11, 1987 The name "Christ" was attributed to Jesus of Nazareth. This testifies to the fact that the apostles and the primitive Church recognized that the plans of the God of the covenant were realized in Christ, along with the expectations of Israel. Peter proclaimed this on the day of Pentecost when, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he spoke for the first time to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the pilgrims who had come up for the feast: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified" (Acts 2:36).

  41. Jesus Christ, Messiah KingGeneral audience of February 11, 1987 The word "Messiah," including the idea of anointing, can be understood only in connection with the anointing with oil which was used in Israel, and which passed from the old covenant to the new. In the history of the old covenant, this anointing was received by those called by God to the office and dignity of king, priest or prophet. The truth about the Christ-Messiah must be understood in the biblical context of this threefold office, which in the old covenant was conferred on those who were destined to guide or to represent the people of God.  

  42. Jesus Christ, Messiah KingGeneral audience of February 11, 1987 When the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of the Savior, he spoke to her of the kingship of her son: "The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Lk 1:32-33). These words correspond to the promise made to King David: "When your days are fulfilled...I will raise up your offspring after you...and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son" (2 Sam 7:12-14).

  43. Jesus Christ, Messiah KingGeneral audience of February 11, 1987 It can be said that this promise was fulfilled to a certain extent in Solomon, the son and immediate successor of David. But the full meaning of the promise goes well beyond the confines of an earthly kingdom and regards not only a distant future, but even a reality that goes beyond history, time and space: "I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever" (2 Sam 7:13). In the Annunciation, Jesus is presented as he in whom the ancient promise is fulfilled. In this way the truth about Christ the king is situated in the biblical tradition of the messianic king (the Messiah-King). In this form it is frequently found in the Gospels which speak to us of the mission of Jesus of Nazareth and transmit his teaching to us.

  44. Jesus Christ, Messiah PriestGeneral audience of February 18, 1987 The Old Testament embraces the profound unity of the royal and priestly mission. This unity has its earliest expression as a prototype and an anticipation in Melchizedek, king of Salem, the mysterious figure in the Old Testament at the time of Abraham. We read of him in the Book of Genesis that in going out to meet Abraham, "He offered bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth'" (Gen 14:18-19).

  45. Jesus Christ, Messiah PriestGeneral audience of February 18, 1987 The figure of Melchizedek, king and priest, entered into the messianic tradition especially through Psalm 110 (the messianic psalm). Here God-Yahweh addresses "my Lord" (i.e., the Messiah) with the words: "'Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.' The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes!" (Ps 110:1-2).

  46. Jesus Christ, Messiah PriestGeneral audience of February 18, 1987 This expression leaves no doubt about the royal character of the one addressed by Yahweh, it is followed by the announcement: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek'" (Ps 110:4). As is evident, the one whom God-Yahweh addresses by inviting him to sit "at his right hand," will be simultaneously king and priest according to the order of Melchizedek. In the history of Israel the institution of the Old Testament priesthood traces its origin to Aaron, the brother of Moses, and it was hereditary in the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

  47. Jesus Christ, Messiah PriestGeneral audience of February 18, 1987 In this regard, it is significant that we read in the Book of Sirach: "(God) exalted Aaron, the brother of Moses...of the tribe of Levi. He made an everlasting covenant with him and gave him the priesthood of the people" (Sir 45:6-7). "[The Lord] chose him out of all the living to offer sacrifice to the lord, incense and a pleasing odor as a memorial portion, to make atonement for the people. In his commandments he gave him authority in statutes and judgments to teach Jacob the testimonies, and to enlighten Israel with his law" (Sir 45:16-17). From these texts we deduce that selection as a priest is for the purpose of worship, for the offering of sacrifices of adoration and atonement, and that worship in its turn is linked to teaching about God and his law.

  48. Jesus Christ, Messiah PriestGeneral audience of February 18, 1987 The paschal events revealed the true meaning of the "Messiah-King" and of the "king-priest after the order of Melchizedek" which —present in the Old Testament— found its fulfillment in the mission of Jesus of Nazareth. It is significant that during his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus replied to the high priest who asked him if he was "the Christ, the Son of God," by saying, "You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of God..." (Mt 26:63-64). It is a clear reference to the messianic Psalm 110 which expresses the tradition of the king-priest.

  49. Jesus Christ, Messiah PriestGeneral audience of February 18, 1987 Using the analogies of the ritual of worship, of the ark and of the sacrifices of the old covenant, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of all the figures and promises of the Old Testament, ordained "to serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary" (Heb 8:5). Christ, however, a merciful and faithful high priest (cf. Heb 2:17; 3:2-5), bears in himself a "priesthood that continues for ever" (Heb 7:24), having offered "himself without blemish to God" (Heb 9:14).

  50. Jesus Christ, Messiah and ProphetGeneral audience of February 25, 1987 During the trial before Pilate, on being questioned whether he was a king, Jesus at first denied that he was a king in the earthly and political sense. Then on being asked a second time, he replied: "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth" (Jn 18:37). This reply links the royal and priestly mission of the Messiah with the essential characteristic of the prophetic mission.