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Contributions to Early Christianity. Greek Contributions 1. Greek Culture 2. Greek Language 3. Greek Philosophy and Education. Jewish Contributions 1. Concept of Monotheism 2. The Jewish synagogue 3. The Dispersion 4. Scripture 5. Essenes. Roman Contributions

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Greek Contributions

1. Greek Culture

2. Greek Language

3. Greek Philosophy and Education

Jewish Contributions

1. Concept of Monotheism

2. The Jewish synagogue

3. The Dispersion

4. Scripture

5. Essenes

Roman Contributions

1. Law and order

2. Cosmopolitan character

3. Roman roads and transportation

4. Roman qualities of character

5. Roman Religion


A Life of Jesus

I. Birth & Ancestry

Luke goes back to Adam in attempt to connect Jesus to all of humanity

Matthew goes back to the Davidic line

They do not agree!


II. Baptism

Real history begins with the baptism

“Thou Art My Son”--beginning of ministry and messianic consciousness

Some say the “Spirit” of God came upon Jesus at this time


III. The Temptation Experience

What kind of ministry will Jesus have?

1. A person of authority--messianic acts

2. He overcame disease and the demonic

3. Authority to deal with sinners

4. Authority to redefine the law

5. Entering the Kingdom


6. Coming of the Kingdom

a. Realized Eschatology--C. H. Dodd--the kingdom is already here--the church

b. Consistent Eschatology--the kingdom is coming in the future--Schweitzer


IV. The Parables of the Kingdom

1. Seed and soil (Mt. 13:18)--way Jesus’ words are preached and accepted

2. Growing seed (Mark 4:26-29)--God’s kingdom will come without help of humanity

3. Mustard seed (Mt. 113:24-53; Mark 4:3-30)--begins small and becomes large


V. The Journey to Jerusalem

John has 2 journeys-Synoptics only one--it occurs in final week of Jesus’ ministry

Luke 9:51--shows his determination to go to Jerusalem--this passage prepares for the climatic event of the cross


VI. Triumphal Entrance

Using Zechariah 9:9 he seems to consciously fulfills a prophecy of the Messiah entering Jerusalem of a king


VIII. The Last Supper

Two ways of understanding:

1. A solemn act--patterned after Jewish Passover celebration; instituted as a memorial celebration of Jesus’ impending death

2. A joyous celebration of fellowship, with focus on the eschatological fulfillment climaxing in the Kingdom of God


VII. The Temple incident

This incident begins his problems in Jerusalem--intentionally setting himself up against the authorities: he prophesized that the temple will be destroyed


IX. Chronology of Holy Week

Synoptics indicate that the Last Supper took place on Thursday evening--should have been 24 hours before the Sabbath.

John places it on the Day of Preparation, one day before--none of the essential elements of Passover seems to be there--bitter herbs and recital of passover stories

Threefold Ministry of Christ—Prophet-Priest-King
    • First found in Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs
    • Assume recognition with Calvin
    • Today terms are used to refer to the earthly and heavenly mission of Jesus
B. Jesus as Prophet is due to Deut 18:15-19, which reads I will raise up for them [the people of Israel] a prophet like you from among their brethren, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him.

1. The prophet was to be a second Moses

2. Jesus seems to fulfill this role as he redefines the law for the new covenant

3. Some see the prophet as the suffering servant of Isaiah

4. Some see the prophet as an incarnation of the prophet Elijah or Enoch

5. Samaritans believed it referred to the reincarnation of Moses

C. Some see the prophet as John the Baptist

D. Some contemporaries of Jesus saw him as a prophet

1. Jesus as a prophet among many, Luke 7—finds reference to a great prophet has come

2. The eschatological prophet—Elijah coming to life (Mark 6:15)

E. Acclamation of crowd on Psalm Sunday may be interpreted as This is Jesus, the Prophet, From Nazareth of Galilee (Matt. 21:11)


Concept of Jesus as prophet disappeared with the disappearance of Jewish Christianity

  • We can say that Jesus was a prophet in that he fulfilled the role model of a prophet
A. Jesus never uses the term, although he refers to the concept in his teaching

B. The term is one of the oldest titles used by the first century Christians to define the person of Jesus

C. Title is uniquely Jewish

D. We find it in Isaiah, chs. 42, 49, 50, and 52-53

E. Some Jews believed term referred to a person already dead—Hezekiah; others see the nation of Israel itself

F. In later Judaism a connection wasmade between “suffering servant” and “messiah”

1. Used as “my servant” five times in Ezekiel

2. Used in some spurious works of the later period

  • But concept of the “suffering” servant had not yet been transferred to the glorious and triumphant Messiah.
  • Thus, when Jesus uses the term to refer to himself it is a unique interpretation
I. Writers of Gospels utilized the concept in relationship to the vicarious suffering and death of Jesus

J. John seems to referring to it when he used the words “lamb of God”—an Aramaic equivalent of the term

K. Book of Acts makes reference to the servant of Yahweh

L. Paul uses the motif in two instances, 1 Cor. 15:3 and Romans 5:12 where Jesus is fulfilling the task of the servant of God

A. Best identified title for Jesus

B. A transliteration of Hebrew Mashach, which simply means to anoint

C. Term refers specifically to the king of Israel, the “Anointed One of Yahweh”

1. Term is used 39 times in Hebrew Scriptures and designates the kings of Judah and Israel

2. Messianic is connected with David; 2 Sam. 7:12 God promises that David’s kingdom would last forever

D. Since David’s kingdom was not forever in this life, the Jews developed an eschatological interpretation to the term

E. Biblical passages referring to the “messiah”

1. Gen. 49:1-12— “Until he comes”

2. Num. 24:15-19—promise of a war-like king

3. Num. 24:10-17—the Immanuel prophecy, impending birth of Messiah

4. Isa. 7:10-17—messianic expectation is fully developed

5. Isa. 11:9—metaphor of the Messianic shoot from David—spirit of Yahweh will abide in his as a permanent force

6. Micah 5:2-5a—origin and birth of the Messiah

7. Jeremiah 23:5-6—righteous branch, a wise and just king, appointed by Yahweh he provides for the welfare and safety of Israel

8. Ezekiel 34:23-24; 27:22, 24-25—promise that Yahweh will bring back a united people to Palestine and appoint the shepherd David over them—reign does not extend beyond Israel
9. Haggai 2:21—Yahweh would bring about a great revolution in the immediate future—a son of David would be the messianic ruler in the last days.

10. Zech. 6:9-14—prophet, acting symbolically, was crowned as the coming Messiah for Zerubbabel

a. “Branch” had become a messianic name of honor

b. High priest Joshua was to receive the crown as a sign that the messiah would come in the future

11. Intertestament Period

a. Concept of a coming eschatatological and military Messiah comes largely from the period between Malachi and the Gospel

b. Came to play an important role in the deliverance of Israel

c. Some tried to use formulas to calculate the time frame which would bring the Messiah


d. Messiah would come when the wickedness of the world has reached its peak

e. When Messiah comes there will be woes—war, pestilence, famine

f. He will destroy the hostile power then in force and will establish Zion as his glorious kingdom

G. Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs celebrates the raising of a new priest—his star would rise in heaven like that of a king, he will bring peace on earth, knowledge will come to the Gentiles and sin will come to an end
12. Contemporary with Jesus

a. Elijah would come

b. Birth-pangs usher in a new age

c. Complete disintegration where normal standards will become disorder

d. A time of judgment

e. Ingathering of the dispersion

13. Jesus neither rejects nor accepts the title

14. Mark 9:41 where word is used as a title, not a proper noun

15. Mark 12:35 where Jesus does not accept the title, but is asking what type of person the Messiah would be

16. Final usage was before the high priest; where he accepted the title, but qualified the idea through the use of the term “Son of Man”

A. Perhaps no title is more familiar today, but does not seem to have the same type of prominence in the NT

B. Never used by Jesus

C. Mentioned once in Luke 2:11 and once in John 4:42

D. Even in Pauline epistles it is used sparingly; Phil 3:20 and Eph 5:23

E. Great change in the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles—10 times—2 Tim 1:10, Titus 1:4, Titus 3:6, 2 Peter 1:l, 11, 2:20, 3:2, 18 and in 1 John 4:14

F. In these epistles God is referred to as savior 7 times


In the Hebrew Scriptures, no other savior is mentioned besides Yahweh (Isa 43:11; 45:21; Hosea 13:14

  • When Messiah is mentioned, he is not savior but one who serves as God’s agent of salvation
  • The Intertestamental period emphases a savior
  • Concept of individual salvation developed along with concept of resurrection
K. In Enoch, Apocalypse of Baruch, and the Assumption of Moses we see the scene of an expected salvation which is laid beyond this world of time and history in a transcendent future—salvation has become completely otherwordly
L. A look at the word “savior”

1. In the Septuagint “soter” is sometimes applied to humanity

2. Many of the judges are called saviors (Judges 3:9, 15 and Neh. 9:27)

3. Word “soteria”-salvation---has a long history in Judaism—can mean peace, preservation in safety, help and assistance; only later would come to mean rescue from sin

M. NT emphasizes that Jesus fulfills the concept of salvation—emphasizes God’s role in history

1. Luke writes that Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost, Luke 19:10”

2. This salvation is offered to sinners— not part of rabbinic Judaism

A. One of the most popular titles Jesus used, yet is one of most confusing and complex in the NT

B. It has a background in Jewish apocalyptic literature and the motif is found in many of the near-eastern religons

C. Phrase “son of man” is translated from the Aramaic Bar Nasha and Greek uio tou anthropou

D. First time we see it in apocalyptic literature is in Daniel 7:13—the person accepts the office of rule conferred to him by the Ancient of Days at a heavenly enthronement scene—emphasis is that from then on the Kingdom of God and his ruler will dominate in place of the demonic worldwide kingdoms


The term may be influenced by a a half-divine Urmensch (primal man)

  • Title is used frequently in Ezekiel when it occurs more than 90 times—consensus is that he is referring to humanity and those attributes of humanity, contrasted with the strength and might of God
  • In IV Ezra 13 has a “figure like a man”
  • 1. It depicts a continuous series of actions brought to an end prior to the reign of the messiah

2. The section tells of 2 different destructions—first against the cosmic power and second against human foes

3. Son of Man here has sovereignty, power and honor—inherent in him from the beginning and not bestowed on him by God

4. Events take place on a miraculously modified earth

H. In the Similtudes of I Enoch is a more detailed account of “that man”

1. Book predicts the coming of an Elect or Chosen One in whose days righteousness shall prevail and in whose the righteous and elect will remain forever

2. At the resurrection he chooses the righteous and holy and sits on the throne of God

3. Book tends to identify the Son of Man with the Elect One

4. The Son of Man will remove kings from their thrones

5. Mighty will suffer travail pangs “when they see that Son of Man sitting on the throne of His glory—close parallel to Mt. 25:31

6. All judgment is given to the Son of Man

I. Philo attempted to correlate the Jewish “Son of Man’ with a belief in the Hellenistic “heavenly or primal man”

1. He saw 2 Adams being creatd—Gen 1:27; 2:7

2. The idea Heavenly Man disappeared after Gen. 2:7

3. God created the second Adam who became the transgressor of God’s commands


Term is used 82 in the NT, all but one in the Gospels and all but one it is used by Jesus to refer to Himself

  • What Jesus meant by the term is open to different interpretations
  • One theory suggests when he uses Son of Man he is referring to his human nature; when he uses Son of God he is referring to his divine nature
  • One scholar thinks Jesus used the term to have him representing the “representative man’
N. Another believes Jesus used the title with the background of Ezekiel and Psalm 8

1. Ezekiel speaks of the frailty and humiliation of humanity

2. Psalm I speaks to the divinity of humanity

A. This title was central to the thought of the early church, Mark 1:1—The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of


B. The Ethiopian in Acts confesses that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

C. Gospel of John write: If a man acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he dwells in God

D. Origin of title came from ancient oriental religions

1. In Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria the kings were thought to be sons of God

2. In the Greek world, the term represented anyone who was believed to possess some kind of divine power—all miracle workers were sons of god

E. In the Hebrew Bible, the title was used in three ways

1. King

2. Angels and Messiah

3. Israel

4. Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7-Psalm 29:8, 82:6, 89:7

F. By time of Jesus it was assumed that Ps. 2:7 was interpreted Messianic in some quarters

G. In the Gospels the term is used quite frequently

1. In Q the title is used twice in the temptation story

2. Jesus is seen as the Son at his baptism and transfiguration

3. John 20:3—Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

H. Used in Mark in several ways

1. God proclaims Jesus as His Son

2. To be the Son of God is also to be the Son of Man

3. Son of God is used as a title for the Messiah

4. Son of God is the title given Jesus by demons and pagans

5. Term suggest the filial relationship of Jesus who obeys God even to his death

A. Many scholars believe that no title is more richer than Lord

B. In New Testament it is generally a divine title

C. One of the earliest titles used by early Christians

D. Title has background in the Hebrew Bible

1. Several words can be translated Lord

a. Adon or adonia—used as a substitution for the tetragrammaton— the holy name of God

b. Baal—sometimes used in reference to human leaders; also used for Canaanite nature gods

c. Thus, word is not used in reference to God

E. Greek word which translates adonai is kurios (kyrios)

F. Used for God, Jesus, and even while addressing an angel—sometimes used as a term of respect

G. Word can also mean master, owner, workmen

H. In religious world of Jesus the term has special meaning

1. Used in Caesar worship—used to refer to Ptolemy, Herod the Great, Agrippa I and II, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and Domitian

2. In the mystery religions it was used to refer to Isis, Artemis of Ephesu, and the great Mother, Cybele

I. One reference is found in Mark and Matthew where it could mean simply master

J. Luke uses it 15 times

K. John uses the title as a post-resurrection title

L. In early church the word was used quite frequently in combinations such as the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus Christ, and Our Lord Jesus Christ

A. Used frequently by many church fathers

B. In the New Testament we find only in the Johannine literature

C. Term seemed to have begun with Heraclitus in the 6th century BCE and used extensively by Stoics and other Greek philosophers

1. Used to refer to the divine principle that penetrates, creates, and governs the cosmos

2. Plato used it to refer to the intelligible cosmos and the first creature of God

D. Gnostics thought that the Logos was an intermediary being between the divine and humanity

E. In Judaism the term had two meanings:

1. The latter Jewish form which conceived the word as a personified mediator

2. Term was used in Genesis to refer to the word of God (debar Yahweh)

3. In later Judaism there is a greater emphasis on the Memra, word of God—this word would become a substitute for the name and action of God

4. Concept of the Word was united with the concept of personified Wisdom

F. Philo helped bring the logos principle into Judaism—he uses it over 1200 times

1. The logos is the image of God and is the bridge between God and humanity

2. It is God’s agent of creation

G. John used the term as a means of uniting Jesus with various concepts

1. To the rabbis the term would represent the agent of God’s creation

2. To the Gnostics who denied a real creation, he emphasized that the logos became flesh