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Who is Jesus?: Searching in the New Testament and Beyond. Chapter 1. Who do you say that I am?. In Luke 9:18-21, Jesus asks His disciples who do you say that I am They respond by saying John the Baptist and Elijah Peter answered Messiah Messiah: anointed one. The Power of the Cross.

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Who do you say that i am
Who do you say that I am?

  • In Luke 9:18-21, Jesus asks His disciples who do you say that I am

  • They respond by saying John the Baptist and Elijah

  • Peter answered Messiah

  • Messiah: anointed one

The power of the cross
The Power of the Cross

  • Christianity essentially starts at the Cross

  • Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, Christianity does not take hold

  • The resurrection is the most pivotal moment for Christians


  • Christology: the study of Christ

  • logy: means “the study of”

  • Christians: followers of Christ

  • First place Christians were called Christians was at Antioch (Acts 11:26)

The titles of jesus
The “titles” of Jesus

  • Jesus was called: teacher, rabbi, prophet

  • However, after his death and resurrection the titles he received were Lord, Redeemer, Savior, the Christ, Son of God

Jesus of nazareth
Jesus of Nazareth

  • A historical figure who lived 2,000 years ago

  • Was a Palestinian Jew

  • Jesus of History: the divine Son of God who walked on the earth in the person of Jesus

  • Christ of Faith: the Savior who was raised from the dead and brought to new life

Three questions to be explored in this course
Three questions to be explored in this course

  • Who was the Jesus of History, the man who lived nearly 2,000 years ago in a place called Palestine?

  • Why was this man, Jesus, the crucified one, so quickly recognized by the early Christians as the Christ of Faith, the anointed one sent by God to free them from all evil?

  • How did the Church come to recognize Jesus as the Son of God who offered salvation to all of humanity?

Knowing jesus the christ
Knowing Jesus the Christ

  • What are ways we know who Jesus is?

  • Biblical scholars: those men and women who concentrate on studying the Bible

  • Theologians: those who study the history, beliefs and teachings of the Church

  • Best place to start is by turning to Scripture

    • Primary source


  • Scripture is comprised of the Old and New Testament

  • Testament: means covenant—a solemn promise between two people

Old testament
Old Testament

  • Comprised of 46 books

  • Discusses the covenant God made with the people of Israel

  • Central to the Jewish faith and OUR faith

New testament
New Testament

  • New Testament is God’s new covenant through Jesus the Christ

  • It is comprised of 27 books

  • The NT is central to OUR faith


  • Inspired Texts: writings whose authors, prompted by the Holy Spirit, convey God’s revealed truth using their own abilities, words and styles

  • It is important to know that these writers were influenced by the world around them


  • Comprised of Matthew, Mark Luke and John

  • The Gospels give us a detailed account of Jesus’ life and ministry

  • Gospel means “Good News”


  • Was a Jewish historian

  • Mentioned Jesus roughly 60 years after Jesus’ death

  • He refers to Jesus as, “a wise man…a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure”

  • He also notes Jesus’ crucifixion


  • A Roman historian who noted Jesus when discussing the “Great” fire of Rome that Nero blamed on Christians in 64 AD

  • Tacitus’ writings are called into question regarding Nero’s reaction

Pliny the younger
Pliny the Younger

  • Pliny the Younger was a Roman governor who asked the Emperor Trajan how to deal with the Christians

  • It was written around 110 AD


  • A Roman historian and lawyer who wrote around 120 AD

  • Even at 120 AD Suetonius notes that Christians were still referred to as Jews

How the new testament came about
How the New Testament Came About

  • Written over a period of 50 years

  • Actual canon was decided upon about 150 years after Jesus’ death and Resurrection

  • Canon: comes from the Greek word for “rule” or “standard”

Acts of the apostles
Acts of the Apostles

  • Written by the Gospel writer Luke

  • Details the early days of the Christian community under the leadership of St. Peter

  • Focuses on the missionary work of St. Paul

  • Acts is the second part of a two volume work

Pauline epistles
Pauline Epistles

  • There are 13 Pauline Epistles

  • Epistle: mean’s letter

  • Dispute over whether or not Paul actually wrote every epistle

  • Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians is considered the first New Testament writing written around 50 AD

The letter to the hebrews
The Letter to the Hebrews

  • Early on was thought to have been one of Paul’s epistles

  • However, it is not in letter form and is more like a sermon

The catholic epistles
The Catholic Epistles

  • Letters attributed to: James, Peter (two letters), John (three letters) and Jude

  • Called Catholic because they are general or universal epistles

The book of revelation
The Book of Revelation

  • Often referred to as the Apocalypse—in Greek Apocalypse means “revelation”

  • Written during the late First Century

Why are they faith sources
Why are they faith sources?

  • Objectivity: the reporting of facts alone, without interpreting through a personal viewpoint

  • Different perspectives of the Gospel writers

  • All historical events are recorded during the eyes or perspective of the person doing the reporting

Gospels faith source
Gospels: Faith Source

  • Gospel derives from the Middle English word godspell or good news

  • In Greek gospel comes from the word evangelion meaning “the proclamation or announcement of good news”

  • Thus, Gospels are testimonies of faith

Religious truth
Religious Truth

  • Biblical writers are not concerned so much with historical fact as they are with the religious message

  • Because we believe the Holy Spirit guided their writings, we believe they contain the essential truth of Jesus the Christ

The different perspectives
The Different Perspectives

  • Biblical writers tell us the essential truth of who the Son of God is

  • The Son of God: the one who fully reveals to humanity the very nature of God in his person

  • Each writer provides a much fuller account of who Jesus was

Catholicism and tradition
Catholicism and Tradition

  • The Holy Spirit not only guided biblical writers but it continues to lead Church leaders

  • Tradition: official teachings and practices of the Catholic Church

  • Thus, Scripture and Tradition guide what we hold to be true

Stage 1 jesus of nazareth and his disciples
Stage 1: Jesus of Nazareth and His Disciples

  • Gospels are centered on the historical Jesus

  • Certain facts about Jesus:

    • A Jew born sometime around 5 BC in the town of Nazareth

    • Around the age of 30 he began his public ministry

    • His public ministry angered many Jewish leaders and Roman officials

    • Around 30 AD he was found guilty under Roman laws and was executed

The resurrection
The Resurrection

  • Pivotal for Christians

  • Became the identifying mark for all Christians—their belief that Jesus is the Lord and Savior

  • By calling Jesus Lord it was a HUGE assertion

  • “If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.”

What does christ mean
What Does Christ Mean?

  • Many around the Christians felt Jesus was nothing more than a carpenters son who preached a radical message and paid for it with his life

  • Jesus’ name was not uncommon for Jewish males—Jesus translates to Yeshua in Hebrew

  • Greek word Christos means messiah in Hebrew

Stage 2 the disciples and the early community of faith
Stage 2: The Disciples and the Early Community of Faith

  • “And we bring you the Good News that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus”

  • Jesus’ words and works were handed down via oral tradition

  • Oral Tradition: history handed down via word of mouth

Stage 3 the early community of faith and the evangelists
Stage 3: The Early Community of Faith and the Evangelists

  • Oral tradition regarding Jesus was not put into writing until about 70AD with Mark’s Gospel

  • Reasons to put oral tradition into writing: the passage of time and the need for continued inspiration

The passage of time and continued instruction
The Passage of Time and Continued Instruction

  • As early Christians recognized that they were becoming a new “church” and that Jesus was not returning anytime soon, they felt a need to preserve the message of Jesus

  • Gospel writers then preserved that message writing in a way that would inspire future Christians

Synoptic gospels
Synoptic Gospels

  • Gospels that present Jesus’ public life in similar ways

  • Synoptic = similar

  • 3 of 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)

  • Q Source: another source believed to have existed that contributed to writing Matthew and Luke

Mark s portrait the human jesus
Mark’s Portrait: The Human Jesus

  • No one knows for sure who wrote Mark’s Gospel

  • Possible writer is a companion of the early Apostles named John Mark

  • Written around 70 AD and is the earliest Gospel

  • Mark references suffering a lot in his Gospel; many believe that this could be in response to early persecution

Who was mark s audience
Who was Mark’s Audience?

  • Mark’s Gospel was written for the Church established in Rome and the Gentiles

  • Gentile: non-Jewish

  • Emphasized the human suffering of Jesus during the crucifixion—relating to the human suffering of the early Christians

Why show jesus humanity
Why Show Jesus’ Humanity?

  • Early Christians debated the humanity and divinity of Christ

  • Mark may have been trying to counter the divinity movement

Luke s portrait jesus as the compassionate savior
Luke’s Portrait: Jesus as the Compassionate Savior

  • Luke is the first of a two-volume history of early Christianity (Acts of the Apostles is the second volume)

  • Luke is known as the Gospel of Jesus

  • Acts is considered the Acts of the Holy Spirit

Who is luke
Who is Luke?

  • There are debates as to who Luke is

  • Many scholars believe that Luke was a companion of St. Paul

  • The companion to St. Paul named Luke was a medical doctor

  • Patron: someone who supports others with money

  • Others believe he was writing for a wealthy patron—possibly Theophilus

Who was he writing to
Who was he writing to?

  • Writing to other Christians to help them understand their faith better

  • Luke emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit

  • Stresses Jesus’ mercy and compassion

  • Stresses the importance of reaching out to the social outcasts of society

Mathew s portrait jesus the messiah of the jews
Mathew’s Portrait: Jesus the Messiah of the Jews

  • Early scholars believed that he was the Apostle Matthew

  • Problem with this theory is that the author relies so much on Mark and Luke

  • If he was an “eyewitness” why would he rely on other accounts?

Who was it written for
Who was it written for?

  • Structure is very different from other three synoptic Gospels

  • Matthew is an Old Testament scholar

  • He is writing primarily to the Jews

  • Known as the “Church Gospel” because it deals with the structure of the Church

John s portrait jesus as the divine son of god
John’s Portrait: Jesus as the Divine Son of God

  • Early Church leaders believed that the writer of John was the Apostle John

  • Others believe that he is the mysterious “Beloved Apostle” of Jesus

  • Today, they believe he was a student of the “Beloved Apostle”

  • Late date makes it impossible to be a companion of Jesus

Who was it written for1
Who was it written for?

  • John drives home hard the point that Jesus is the Divine Son of God

  • Very prayerful and most commonly used in prayer ceremonies

  • Author also could have written the Book of Revelation