TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  General

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Chapter 3  Part I

General

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The NT makes remarkable claims about aspects of Jesus Christ’s being and his character. In doing so it shows Jesus Christ’s nature to mirror that of God, and so points to his deity (his “God nature”). The NT also often refers to Jesus Christ’s “name”, making it a further concept that is important to grasp.

Jesus Christ’s Eternity

Jesus Christ is alive

See also:

Acts 1:3  He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. ▤ 

Rom 6:10  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. ▤ 

2Cor 13:4  For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God. ▤ 

Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ▤ 

1Pet 2:4  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, … ▤ 

This portrays Jesus as God’s chosen “stone” (v. 4), the chosen “cornerstone” on which believers depend (cf. v. 6). These terms are references to OT prophecy (cf. vv. 6-8).

Jesus Christ existed in the beginning . . .

See also:

John 1:1-2  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. ▤ 

“In the beginning” has the sense “before all time” (AMP). The title “the Word” refers to Jesus Christ (cf. 1Jn 1:1 ).

1Jn 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— ▤ 

As made clear by the remainder of the verse, the first clause refers to Jesus Christ, speaking of him as being “from the beginning”. For further comment see Jesus Christ is self-existing – he is “the life”.

1Jn 2:13a  I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. ▤ 

Heb 1:10  And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; … ▤ 

This quotation from Psalm 102:25 – where it refers to God – is here applied to Jesus Christ.

Heb 7:3  He [Melchizedek] is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. ▤ 

This indicates that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had no beginning, indicative of the fact that he existed in the beginning.

Rev 22:13  [Jesus Christ:] I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. ▤ 

Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet, here used together to depict Jesus Christ as spanning all time – as do the subsequent pairings in the verse.

. . . Jesus Christ was before all things

See also:

Col 1:17  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ▤ 

The first clause appears to mean that Jesus Christ existed before all things (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV, NLT).

John 17:5, 24  [Jesus:] And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. ▤ 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ▤ 

John 1:15  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) ▤ 

John 8:58  Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” ▤ 

2Tim 1:9  … who saved us and called us toy a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,z … ▤ 

y Or with

z Greek before times eternal

This suggests that Jesus Christ existed “before the ages began”.

  • Jesus Christ is from ancient times:

Mic 5:2  a But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. ▤ 

a Ch 5:1 in Hebrew

The reference is understood by some to be to an eternal origin of the Messiah.

Further references to Jesus Christ existing prior to his advent

See also:

John 6:38, 62  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. ▤ 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? ▤ 

John 16:28  I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father. ▤ 

John 12:41  Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. ▤ 

The preceding verse quotes Isaiah 6:10 and suggests that here John may be correlating Isaiah seeing Jesus’ glory with the vision of God’s glory that Isaiah had when he recorded these words (cf. Isa 6:1-10). As such it can be inferred that this verse is implying Jesus Christ existed in Isaiah’s day. For further comment see . . . Other OT references to God are applied to Jesus Christ.

1Cor 10:4b, 9  For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. ▤ 9We must not put Christb to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, … ▤ 

b Some manuscripts the Lord

Particularly if the rendering in the text – “Christ” (CEV, NCV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV) – is to be preferred to that in the text note – “the Lord” (cf. AMP, GNT, NASB, NIV) – v. 9 would be speaking of the Israelites testing Christ in Numbers 21:4-6. Thus along with v. 4b this would appear to indicate that Christ accompanied the Israelites during their journey through the desert (cf. Jude 1:5 ), perhaps as the angel closely associated with God (cf. Ex 23:20-23; Gen 16:9-10 ). (For further comment on v. 4 see God satisfies his people’s spiritual hunger and thirst.)

2Cor 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. ▤ 

Heb 11:26  He [Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. ▤ 

On face value this suggests that Moses was conscious of Christ’s existence – hence its inclusion here. However, it may simply be meaning that Moses acted with the Messiah in view. A further possibility is that the writer is identifying Christ with the people of Israel.

Jude 1:5  Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who savedc a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. ▤ 

c Some manuscripts although you fully knew it, that the Lord who once saved

Most other modern translations follow the alternative translation in the text note which uses “Lord” instead of Jesus (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV).

  • The “angel of the Lord”:

Gen 16:9-10  The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” ▤ 

A number of times in the OT an angel is closely identified with God (cf. Note: “The angel of the Lord” is identified with God). This is such an occurrence, with the angel speaking on behalf of God in the first person (v. 10). These occurrences may concern the same angel – particularly as the title “the angel of the Lord” is often used. Some commentators think this angel may be the pre-incarnate Christ.

Jesus Christ will be alive forever

See also:

Rom 6:9  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. ▤ 

Here Paul asserts that Jesus Christ cannot die again because he has already died and risen from death. In conjunction, as he is without sin, death has no claim on Jesus Christ. Note that death’s previous “claim” on him was only due to Jesus Christ taking upon himself the sins of the world.

Eph 3:21  … to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

This implies that Jesus Christ will exist forever.

Heb 1:8, 10-12  But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. ▤ 10And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.d But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” ▤ 

d Some manuscripts omit like a garment

Heb 7:3, 15-17, 24-25  He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he [Melchizedek] continues a priest forever. ▤ 15This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” ▤ 24but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermoste those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. ▤ 

e That is, completely; or at all times

Melchizedek was king of Salem – probably Jerusalem – and a “priest of God Most High” (Gen 14:18; cf. v. 1). There is no record of his genealogy, birth or death. The writer uses this absence of any information about his death to suggest that his priesthood continues forever, and as such prefigures the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Rev 1:17-18  When I saw him [Jesus Christ], I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. ▤ 

The significance of the title “the living one” (v. 18a) is explained by the rest of the sentence (cf. comment on John 1:25 ).

Rev 22:13  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. ▤ 

Ps 72:5  May they fear youf while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! ▤ 

f Septuagint He shall endure

This is understood to be messianic, speaking of Jesus Christ, as is Isa 9:6-7 immediately below. This suggests that like fear of him should endure forever, so shall he endure (cf. NIV).

Isa 9:6-7  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upong his shoulder, and his name shall be calledh Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ▤ 

g Or is upon

h Or is called

Note that the use of “Father” (v. 6) in reference to the Messiah, probably points to his paternal care of his people.

Jesus Christ is self-existing – he is “the life”

See also:

John 5:26  For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. ▤ 

The Father has enabled Jesus Christ “to have life in Himself and be self-existent” (AMP). The implication in this verse’s context is that – like the Father – Jesus is “the source of life” (GNT) with “the power to give life” (CEV). (This implication is reflected in the following references, as commented below.)

John 11:25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.i Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, … ▤ 

i Some manuscripts omit and the life

Descriptions of Jesus Christ as “the life” (cf. John 14:6 ; 1Jn 1:2 ) reflect that he has life inherent (cf. John 5:26 ) as part of his essential nature, and so is self-existing. Primarily they point to Jesus Christ as the source of life – the one who gives life – as the latter part of this verse suggests.

John 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ▤ 

1Jn 1:1-3  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. ▤ 

The references to it being seen (vv. 1, 3) and “touched” (v. 1) along with being heard, imply that “the word of life” (v. 1) refers to Jesus Christ. In conjunction, he is “the life” that was “made manifest, and … seen” (v. 2). Being the manifestation of this life, he is the one in whom it is revealed. The suggestion is that through him this life may be partaken of by us, involving fellowship not only with others who share in this life but also with the Father and Christ himself (v. 3).

  • Jesus lives because of the Father:

John 6:57  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. ▤ 

Possibly Jesus is referring to his life as a man on earth; but he could be speaking more generally. One could conclude that Jesus “has life in himself” (5:26), but he has it because of the Father.

Jesus Christ remains the same

Heb 1:12  … like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.j But you are the same, and your years will have no end. ▤ 

j Some manuscripts omit like a garment

Heb 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ▤ 

2Tim 2:13  … if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. ▤ 

Jesus Christ remains the same not only in his ongoing existence but also in his character. He cannot be but “true to himself” (NIrV®).

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Christ’s Pre-Eminence

See also:

Jesus Christ is greater than all people

See also:

John 3:31  He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. ▤ 

“He who comes from above” refers to Jesus Christ, who came from heaven above. The phrase “above all” is akin to “greater than all” (GNT, NCV; cf. NLT).

Ps 89:27  And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. ▤ 

This is understood to be messianic, as is Micah 5:4 below.

Mic 5:4  And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. ▤ 

This suggests that the Messiah’s greatness will surpass that of all others, with all people all over the earth acknowledging his greatness (cf. GNT).

Matt 12:41-42  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. ▤ 

The comparisons with people – Jonah (v. 41) and Solomon (v. 42) – suggest that the “something” is in part at least a reference to “someone” (cf. AMP, NCV, NIV, NLT), i.e. Jesus himself.

Luke 1:32a  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. ▤ 

Being called “the Son of the Most High” suggests that his aforementioned greatness would be far more than that of all others.

John 1:15, 27  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) ▤ 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” ▤ 

John refers to the concept – more marked in ancient times – that an older person was considered worthy of more honor than a younger one, and so generally considered to be greater. In saying that Jesus – who was younger than John – was “before” him and so ranked before him (v. 15), John appears to be pointing to the fact that Jesus existed before him, from all eternity. Jesus seems to make a similar point about himself in regard to Abraham in John 8:53, 57-58 below.

John 8:53, 57-58  Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” ▤ 57So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”k 58Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” ▤ 

k Some manuscripts has Abraham seen you?

Quite possibly Jesus’ reply (v. 58) to the Jews’ skepticism may have also been alluding to their earlier questions (v. 53), implying that he indeed was greater than Abraham.

Rom 8:29  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ▤ 

Here the term “firstborn” (cf. Ps 89:27 ; Col 1:15 ; Heb 1:6 ) most likely refers to Christ’s pre-eminence “among” God’s people and/or to him being the firstborn from the dead (cf. Rev 1:5).

Heb 3:3-6  For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4(For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.l … ▤ 

l Some manuscripts insert firm to the end

This implies that Jesus Christ is the builder of God’s house, which probably refers to the household of God’s people. Thus he is greater even than Moses who was just a servant in the house.

Jesus Christ is greater than all things

Matt 12:6  I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. ▤ 

As per the comment on vv. 41-42 in the previous subsection, Jesus may be referring to himself as the “something”. If so, he may well have meant that he had authority higher than that of the temple and the regulations associated with it and the Sabbath (cf. vv. 1-8). Another possible implication was that as the center and focus for worship of God, the temple had been superseded by the coming of God’s kingdom with its King, Jesus himself.

Eph 1:19-21  … and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ▤ 

Verse 21 speaks of Christ’s authority and power (cf. CEV, GNT) over all other powers – spiritual as well as human – as pointed to by his position of authority at God’s right hand (v. 20).

Col 1:15-19  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For bym him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, … ▤ 

m That is, by means of; or in

In v. 15, “firstborn” (cf. Ps 89:27 ; Rom 8:29 ; Heb 1:6 ) points to Christ’s existence before creation and in particular to his supremacy over it, alluding to the privileged status of a firstborn son in a Jewish family. In v. 18 the term has a different usage, speaking of him being the first to be raised from the dead.

Heb 1:3-9, 13  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? 6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” 8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” ▤ 13And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? ▤ 

In regard to “name” (v. 4), see comment on v. 4 in Note: God has given Jesus Christ a name that is superior to all others. In vv. 5-6 Paul applies OT passages to Jesus Christ to illustrate Christ’s supremacy; the first two are clearly messianic. In v. 9, “loved righteousness and hated wickedness” quite possibly has Jesus’ life on earth in view, with the latter part of the verse then probably speaking of his exaltation to God’s right hand, with the joy associated with this “anointing”. In the context, “companions” (v. 9) may well refer to angels, though some consider that his people are in view. In v. 9, “has anointed you… beyond your companions” implies that God set Jesus Christ above these companions (cf. AMP, GNT, NCV, NIV).

  • “Christ is all, and in all”:

Col 3:11  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,n free; but Christ is all, and in all. ▤ 

n Greek bondservant

“Christ is all” indicates that Jesus Christ surpasses all other things or matters in importance. The phrase “in all” may simply refer to him being in all believers (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT) – but it may have a more far-reaching sense, meaning that Christ permeates everything everywhere (cf. AMP).

Jesus Christ has divine glory

See also:

Matt 25:31  When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. ▤ 

John 1:14  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 and others saw Jesus’ glory demonstrated through his miracles (cf. John 2:11 ), his transfiguration, and his death and resurrection.

John 2:11  This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. ▤ 

In turning water into wine (cf. vv. 1-10) Jesus “manifested his glory”. As such Jesus “displayed His greatness and His power openly” (AMP), pointing to his divine nature.

John 12:41  Isaiah said these things because he saw his [Jesus’] glory and spoke of him. ▤ 

For comment on this verse see the comment on John 12:37-41 – under . . . Other OT references to God are applied to Jesus Christ.

John 17:5, 24  [Jesus:] And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. ▤ 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ▤ 

In v. 5 Jesus has in view his return to the Father and the glorified state that he had before his incarnation. In v. 24 Jesus is speaking of his followers being with him in the afterlife, where they will see his glory.

1Cor 2:8  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ▤ 

The title as “the Lord of glory” points to Jesus’ glory being far above that of all others. Note that the phrase is also used in James 2:1 – “… our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”

2Cor 4:4, 6  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ▤ 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Jesus Christ’s glory is such that he reflects the glory of God (cf. Heb 1:3a ).

Phil 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ▤ 

2Thes 1:9  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away fromo the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, … ▤ 

o Or destruction that comes from

Heb 1:3a  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. ▤ 

Heb 7:26  For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. ▤ 

This points to the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ in his glory, speaking of him being set apart from sinful people and exalted above all things – “given the highest place of honor” (NLT; cf. CEV).

2Pet 1:16  For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. ▤ 

Jesus Christ’s majesty is indicative of and can be associated with his glory. Note that Peter is referring to Jesus’ transfiguration (cf. Luke 9:28-32, 34-35 ).

John 16:14  [Jesus:] He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. ▤ 

This is speaking of Jesus Christ being glorified or receiving glory, rather than to the glory that is an essential aspect of his nature (this subsection’s theme and which appears to be in view in the above verses). However, in a sense, it does at least point to his glory. The verse speaks of the Holy Spirit bringing glory by taking Jesus Christ’s “message” (CEV, cf. GNT, NCV) – particularly that regarding his person and work – and making it (and Jesus Christ) known to Jesus Christ’s followers. Such revelation – and the manifestation of it in the lives of his followers – is glorifying to Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus’ transfiguration, manifesting his glory:

Luke 9:28-32, 34-35  Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,p which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. ▤ 34As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One;q listen to him!” ▤ 

p Greek exodus

q Some manuscripts my Beloved

Moses and Elijah’s appearance with Jesus “in heavenly glory” (CEV, GNB) supplemented and reflected Jesus’ own glory. Note that the parallel passage in Mark 9 further emphasizes the brightness of Jesus’ appearance: “And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.”

Visions of Jesus Christ, indicative of his surpassing greatness and glory

Acts 7:55-56  But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” ▤ 

God’s right hand side is the ultimate “place of honor and power” (CEV text note; cf. NLT).

Acts 26:13-16, 19  At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,r ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, ▤ 19“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, … ▤ 

r Or the Hebrew dialect (that is, Aramaic)

The “light from heaven, brighter than the sun” (v. 13) was a manifestation of Jesus Christ’s glory.

Rev 1:12-18  Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. ▤ 

In v. 16, the “seven stars” are “angels” of the churches (cf. vv. 20; 2:1) that Jesus Christ subsequently addresses (cf. chs 2-3). The “sharp two-edged sword” (v. 16; cf. Rev 19:15 ) represents Jesus Christ’s power to execute judgment. Holding the keys of death and the place of the dead (v. 18b), is indicative of Jesus Christ’s total authority over their domain.

Rev 5:1-14  Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 11Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. ▤ 

The “Lamb” (vv. 6, 8, 12, 13) is a name for Jesus Christ, alluding to his sacrificial death which in a number of aspects mirrored the offering of a lamb at Passover and/or as a sin offering. For further comment see Revelation 5:1-7 in God works in all eras through Jesus Christ, impacting all things everywhere.

Rev 19:11-16  Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in a robe dipped ins blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. ▤ 

s Some manuscripts sprinkled with

This depicts Jesus Christ on his return. Note that a “diadem” (cf. v. 12) is a jeweled headpiece signifying sovereignty, e.g. a crown.

Jesus Christ has mighty, sovereign power

See also:

Mark 13:26  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. ▤ 

Eph 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. ▤ 

2Thes 1:9  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away fromt the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, … ▤ 

t Or destruction that comes from

John 10:28  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. ▤ 

No one has the power to snatch Jesus Christ’s followers away from him. This illustrates that his authority and power is supreme or sovereign, which is also indicated by Philippians 3:20-21, Hebrews 1:3 and Isaiah 11:4b below – and reflected at least by the other references below.

Phil 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ▤ 

Heb 1:3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, … ▤ 

Jesus Christ’s power over all things is evident in him upholding or sustaining all things. In conjunction, his position at the right hand of God is one of surpassing power and influence.

2Pet 1:16  For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. ▤ 

Various other passages indicate that this power Jesus Christ will display on his return will be an all-surpassing power.

Ps 45:3-4  Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! 4In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! ▤ 

This psalm is understood to be messianic, which Isaiah 11:4b below clearly is. Particularly in view of what proceeds it, the last clause appears to speak of the Messiah performing awesome deeds – in conjunction with victory over forces opposed to “truth and meekness and righteousness” (v. 4a) and indicative of his great might (v. 3).

Isa 11:4  … but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. ▤ 

  • Opposing or resisting Jesus Christ is detrimental:

Acts 26:14  And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,u ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ ▤ 

u Or the Hebrew dialect (that is, Aramaic)

The final statement was apparently a common saying alluding to oxen, speaking of how detrimental and futile it is to oppose God. Here it is applied by Jesus Christ to one opposing himself.

Jesus Christ has superlative knowledge and wisdom

See also:

Isa 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponv his shoulder, and his name shall be calledw Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ▤ 

v Or is upon

w Or is called

The term “Wonderful Counselor” points to the Messiah’s wisdom as being superb, even supreme.

Luke 21:15  [Jesus:] … for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. ▤ 

Jesus Christ has wisdom far superior to that of any adversary that believers may encounter.

John 16:30  Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God. ▤ 

Acts 1:24  And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen … ▤ 

Note that an earlier reference to the “Lord Jesus” (v. 21) makes it most likely that Jesus Christ is being referred to here as “Lord”, rather than God.

Col 2:2-3  … that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ▤ 

This is often understood to indicate that Jesus Christ himself possesses all the treasures of divine wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Paul may more specifically be saying that these things can be found in the message about him, the mystery of God revealed in the gospel. But even so, this is still suggestive of Christ possessing these things.

Rev 2:10, 19, 23b  Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. ▤ 19“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. ▤ 23… And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. ▤ 

Verse 10 illustrates Jesus Christ’s knowledge of the future – in addition to his knowledge of all people’s deeds (v. 19) and thoughts (v. 23b).

Rev 5:12  … saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” ▤ 

In saying that Jesus Christ – “the Lamb” – is worthy to receive the things listed, the implication may be that the worshippers are also ascribing or attributing to him these things – including marvelous wisdom.

  • Jesus Christ is the power and wisdom by which God saves:

1Cor 1:24  … but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ▤ 

Through or in Jesus Christ, God’s power and wisdom to bring salvation (cf. v. 21) has been realized.

Jesus Christ is everywhere

Matt 18:20  [Jesus:] For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. ▤ 

Matt 28:20b  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. ▤ 

Jesus Christ is with all believers everywhere (cf. Matt 18:20 ) – always.

Eph 1:23  … which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. ▤ 

The last clause quite possibly points to Jesus Christ’s omnipresence, as the one who fills “everything everywhere with his presence” (NLT). But there are other possible translations and interpretations. One is that it means Jesus Christ “completes” (GNT) all things – either referring to his headship or to his sufficiency for the needs or wholeness of all things.

Eph 4:10  He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) ▤ 

Here “all things” encompasses “the whole universe” (CEV, GNT, NIV; cf. NLT).

John 3:13  No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.x ▤ 

x Some manuscripts add who is in heaven

The appropriateness of the inclusion of this verse – spoken by Jesus during his time on earth – is dependent on the additional phrase in the text note (cf. AMP, NKJV). It appears to point to Jesus Christ’s omnipresence – suggesting that even while he was on earth, he was at least in some sense also in heaven.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Christ’s Character

See also:

This section largely does not include references speaking specifically about Jesus’ character during his time on earth. These can be found in Jesus Christ’s Personality (cross-referenced above) in 11. God’s Promised Messiah.

Jesus Christ is holy

See also:

Luke 1:35  And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be borny will be called holy—the Son of God. ▤ 

y Some manuscripts add of you

As well as in the latter part of the verse, Jesus Christ’s holiness is reflected in the key role of the Holy Spirit in his conception as a human being.

Acts 3:14  But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, … ▤ 

Acts 4:27  … for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, … ▤ 

Heb 7:26-28  For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. ▤ 

Along with the earlier descriptions of him in vv. 26-27a, being “made perfect forever” (v. 28) further underlines Jesus Christ’s holiness. Note that references to Jesus Christ being made perfect (cf. 2:10; 5:9) are not indicating that Jesus Christ was ever in any way imperfect. A common view is that they are speaking of him being perfectly molded for his high priestly role – in fully experiencing humanity through his suffering. Alternatively such references may be speaking of Jesus Christ as being perfected in the sense of maturing in his incarnation, through his suffering. When he was very young he was not disobedient, but on the other hand he was still to learn to obey, or to obey in the most trying circumstances.

1Jn 3:3, 5  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. ▤ 5You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. ▤ 

Rev 3:7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. ▤ 

  • Jesus Christ is good:

1Pet 2:3  … if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. ▤ 

The subsequent verse (v. 4) implies that Peter is here referring to Jesus Christ, rather than God.

Jesus Christ is righteous . . .

See also:

Isa 11:5  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. ▤ 

Jer 23:5-6  Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ ▤ 

As with Isaiah 11:5 above, this speaks of the Messiah, highlighting his righteousness.

Acts 7:52  Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, … ▤ 

1Jn 2:1  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. ▤ 

1Jn 3:7  Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. ▤ 

It is Jesus Christ who is being spoken of here as righteous. Note that the phrase “he is righteous” also occurs in 2:29. There it is debatable as to whether it is referring to Jesus Christ or to God.

2Pet 1:1b  To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: … ▤ 

Heb 1:8-9  But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” ▤ 

The quotation is from Psalms 45:5-6, a messianic psalm, in which the preceding verse (45:4) also makes reference to the Messiah’s righteousness – speaking of him acting “for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness”.

John 7:18  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. ▤ 

Eph 6:9  Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Masterz and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. ▤ 

z Greek Lord

In the light of the preceding verses (vv. 6-8), “Master” appears to be referring to Jesus Christ, but God may be in view.

. . . Jesus Christ judges in righteousness and with justice

See also:

Ps 72:2  May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! ▤ 

This is from a messianic passage, understood to be ultimately fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

Isa 11:3b-4  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. ▤ 

In making judgments with righteousness and equity (v. 4), Jesus Christ will not judge just simply on the basis of what is seen and heard (v. 3b; cf. Rev 2:23 ).

Isa 16:5  … then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness. ▤ 

John 5:30  I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. ▤ 

Acts 17:31  … because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. ▤ 

God will judge the world with justice through Jesus Christ – in righteousness.

2Tim 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. ▤ 

Rev 2:23  … and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. ▤ 

Two factors of Jesus Christ’s just judgment are that he knows people’s hearts and minds, and that he repays each person according to their deeds.

Rev 19:11  Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. ▤ 

John 8:16  Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Fathera who sent me. ▤ 

a Some manuscripts he

A key aspect of Jesus Christ’s just judgment is that his decisions are true – which implies that they are “right” (NIV®), “correct” (NLT), “valid” (NRSV). This is in part at least because he is supported in them by the Father – whose will he seeks in making judgments (cf. John 5:30 ).

  • Jesus Christ will establish justice on earth:

Isa 42:1-4  Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4He will not grow faint or be discouragedb till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. ▤ 

b Or bruised

This messianic prophecy is quoted in reference to Jesus in Matthew 12:18-21. Note that Isaiah 11:3b-4 above also speaks of Jesus Christ establishing justice on earth.

Jesus Christ is faithful

See also:

2Thes 3:3  But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.c ▤ 

c Or evil

2Tim 2:13  … if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. ▤ 

Heb 2:17  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. ▤ 

Heb 3:1-2, 6a  Therefore, holy brothers,d you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’se house. ▤ 6but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. ▤ 

d Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12

e Greek his; also verses 5, 6

Rev 1:5a  … and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. ▤ 

The description of Jesus Christ as “the faithful witness” is alluding to Christ’s faithfulness in his testimony to God’s word (vv. 1-2).

Rev 19:11  Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. ▤ 

Isa 11:5  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. ▤ 

Jesus Christ is loving

See also:

John 15:9  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. ▤ 

The fact that Jesus Christ compares his love for his disciples with that of the Father’s love for him, shows the enormity of his love for them. The following references from Ephesians 3:17b-19 and Romans 8:35-39 also highlight the enormity of Jesus Christ’s love – as do the verses in the above cross references.

Eph 3:17-19  … so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ▤ 

Note that in v. 18, “the breadth and length and height and depth” has been interpreted to be speaking of the immensity of either Christ’s love (cf. GNT, NCV, NIV) or God’s love (cf. NLT). It could more generally be referring to the vastness of riches that believers have in their relationship with Christ.

Rom 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ▤ 

Note that vv. 38-39 speak of God’s amazing love expressed to his people in or “through” (GNT) Jesus Christ, rather than the love of Jesus Christ himself. But in light of the earlier reference to Christ’s love – in v. 35 and quite possibly also in v. 37 – it could well be that Paul has Christ’s love in view as the medium of God’s love.

2Thes 2:13  But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruitsf to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. ▤ 

f Some manuscripts chose you from the beginning

  • A reference to Jesus Christ’s affection:

Phil 1:8  For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. ▤ 

Jesus Christ shows grace . . .

John 1:14, 16-17  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. ▤ 16And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ▤ 

This may be implying that the Father’s grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Even so, it points to Jesus Christ’s grace (v. 16). In a similar vein, Romans 5:15 below speaks of the Father’s grace coming through Jesus Christ’s grace.

Rom 5:15  But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. ▤ 

The “gift” primarily refers to the “free gift of righteousness” (v. 17).

Rom 1:7  To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Rom 16:20b  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. ▤ 

Acts 15:11  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. ▤ 

2Cor 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. ▤ 

2Cor 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ▤ 

Gal 1:6  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— ▤ 

The term “the grace of Christ” is referring either to the grace Christ showed in sacrificing himself for the sake of others, or to “the grace that Christ has provided” (NIrV®) whereby people are saved by grace rather than by their own merit. The two alternatives are in any case very much interrelated.

Eph 4:7  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. ▤ 

The reference here is to spiritual gifts, a manifestation of Jesus Christ’s grace.

1Tim 1:14  … and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

2Tim 2:1  You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, … ▤ 

2Pet 3:18a  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ▤ 

. . . and Jesus Christ is merciful

See also:

Heb 2:17  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. ▤ 

1Cor 7:25  Now concerningg the betrothed,h I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. ▤ 

g The expression Now concerning introduces a reply to a question in the Corinthians’ letter; see 7:1

h Greek virgins

Jude 1:21  … keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. ▤ 

1Tim 1:2  To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. ▤ 

1Tim 1:13, 15-16  … though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, ▤ 15The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. ▤ 

The reference to Jesus Christ’s “perfect patience” (v. 16) –a further characteristic of Jesus Christ – suggests that it is Jesus Christ’s mercy in view (vv. 13, 16).

2Tim 1:16, 18  May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, ▤ 18may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. ▤ 

Note that the two references to “the Lord” in v. 18 seem to be speaking of two different entities, i.e. Jesus Christ and God (cf. CEV). As such the reference to mercy – as with that in v. 16 – may be to the God’s mercy.

  • Jesus Christ is sympathetic:

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. ▤ 

Jesus Christ can display anger and jealousy

See also:

Ps 2:11-12  Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. ▤ 

This psalm is understood to be messianic, which is supported by NT quotations from it – and thus applicable to Jesus Christ. The references to anger and wrath are possibly speaking of the Son – hence the verse’s inclusion in this subsection. But as the context indicates, they may well instead refer to the Lord (cf. CEV).

Rev 6:16-17  … calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” ▤ 

1Cor 10:21-22  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? ▤ 

Jesus Christ is jealous for his people’s faithfulness to him.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Christ’s ‘Name’

In biblical times, a person’s name represented or embodied their whole person – including their nature, authority and significance or purpose. This concept is in view in references to the “name” of a person.

Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies Jesus Christ himself

John 3:18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. ▤ 

The phrases “believes in him” and “believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” are equivalent – as are “call on him” and “calls on the name of the Lord” in Romans 10:12-13 immediately below. As such, these verses strongly suggest that Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies Jesus Christ himself.

Rom 10:12-13  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ▤ 

2Thes 1:12  … so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Here the connection between “the name of our Lord Jesus” and “you”, and the reversal of the connection in the subsequent clause – “you in him” – correlates “the name” of Jesus Christ with Jesus Christ himself.

John 2:23  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. ▤ 

The phrase “believed in his name” is equivalent to “believed in him” (GNT, NCV, cf. CEV), indicative of the fact that Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies Jesus Christ himself.

Acts 9:14  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name. ▤ 

To call on Jesus Christ’s name (cf. v. 21) is to call on Jesus Christ himself (cf. Rom 10:12-13 ). Note that the verse appears to be speaking of calling on him in terms of expressing allegiance to Jesus Christ as the one whom one worships (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV). To call on him also suggests turning to him for help, as the one we look to and worship as our helper and deliverer (cf. 2:21).

  • God sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ’s name, in his place:

John 14:26  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ▤ 

Jesus said the Father would send the Holy Spirit in his name – “in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf” (AMP; cf. CEV, NLT, 16:7 below). As such the Holy Spirit would represent Jesus Christ’s interests and continue his work, doing such things as reminding his followers of everything Jesus Christ had said to them.

Jesus Christ’s “name” is correlated with his authority and power

See also:

Note that in addition to the above cross references, the verses in the following two subsections also allude to Jesus Christ’s name being correlated with his authority and power, as they attribute aspects of salvation being appropriated on account of his name – often by believing in it.

Matt 18:20  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. ▤ 

To meet in Jesus Christ’s “name” involves seeking to act in accordance with his will and by his authority, in recognition of who he is.

1Cor 5:4-5  When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.i ▤ 

i Some manuscripts add Jesus

Acts 4:30  … while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus. ▤ 

The disciples are effectively asking God to perform such miraculous acts “through the authority and by the power of the name of… Jesus” (AMP; cf. NCV).

Mark 9:38-40  John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,j and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40For the one who is not against us is for us. ▤ 

j Some manuscripts add who does not follow us

Luke 10:17-19  The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. ▤ 

Bringing demons to submission in Jesus’ “name” (v. 18) was an example of the use of the authority Jesus spoke of in v. 19, which presumably was to be exercised in his “name”.

Acts 3:6-7, 16  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. ▤ 16And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesusk has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. ▤ 

k Greek him

Peter gave the command in the “name” or by the authority of Jesus Christ, his name representing or incorporating his authority and power – “By the power of Jesus Christ” (NCV™).

Acts 4:10  … let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. ▤ 

Acts 16:18  And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. ▤ 

Matt 7:22  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ ▤ 

Note that while this clearly correlates Jesus Christ’s “name” with his authority and power, Jesus subsequently says that he will say to the people quoted here that he never knew them (cf. v. 23). Some commentators think that their claims to have done such things in his “name” may well be true, while others think that any power they may have exercised was actually of an evil source.

  • The attempt of some Jews to drive out spirits by Jesus Christ’s “name”:

Acts 19:13-17  Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered alll of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. ▤ 

l Or both

Jesus Christ’s “name” cannot be invoked by just anyone as if it was some magical formula. To do anything in Jesus Christ’s “name” one has to be a committed follower of Christ. Furthermore not all Christians are given the gift/s to perform powerful deeds.

Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies him in his attainment of forgiveness of sins

See also:

The following verses all associate Jesus Christ’s “name” with his attainment of the forgiveness and removal of sins. Correspondingly, they show that people can be forgiven through or on account of the authority of his “name”. (A similar comment can be made for the following subsection, regarding Jesus Christ’s “name” signifying his attainment of salvation and eternal life.)

Acts 10:43  To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. ▤ 

Acts 22:16  And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. ▤ 

1Jn 2:12  I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. ▤ 

John appears to be speaking of sins being forgiven because of Jesus’ name – “through His name and on account of confessing His name” (AMP).

Luke 24:46-47  … and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. ▤ 

The message of “repentance and forgiveness of sins” was to be preached “in his name”, with his authority (cf. NLT), as the one who by his work has realized this forgiveness.

1Cor 6:11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ▤ 

This may well be meaning that all three things listed – being “washed…sanctified…justified” – are done in Jesus Christ’s name and by the Holy Spirit (cf. CEV, NIrV).

Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies him in his attainment of salvation and eternal life

As is the case with most of the verses in the previous subsection and indeed all of the subsections in this topic, in most of the following verses references to Jesus Christ’s “name” can be replaced by references simply to Jesus Christ and the verses will maintain the same sense. As such the verses illustrate that Jesus Christ’s name signifies Jesus Christ in his attainment of salvation and eternal life.

Acts 4:12  And 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 2:21  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ▤ 

Matt 12:21  … and in his name the Gentiles will hope. ▤ 

It was prophesied that people would put their hope for salvation in Jesus Christ’s name (cf. Isa 42:4).

1Jn 3:23  And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. ▤ 

This alludes to – or at least can be applied to – believing on Jesus Christ’s name for salvation (cf. John 3:18).

John 20:31  … but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ▤ 

1Jn 5:13  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. ▤ 

  • By believing in Jesus Christ’s “name”, people become children of God:

John 1:12  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, … ▤ 

The right to become a child of God is an additional aspect of salvation that one is given through Jesus Christ’s name.

Jesus Christ’s “name” signifies him in his gospel and cause – with Christians being devoted to it

Acts 8:12  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. ▤ 

Philip preached the gospel “about Jesus Christ” (GNT), and the kingdom of God.

Acts 9:15-16  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” ▤ 

Paul was to take the message about Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, which would result in him suffering greatly for Jesus Christ and his cause – the cause of spreading the gospel about him in order to lead people to believe in him.

Luke 21:12  But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. ▤ 

For the sake of Jesus Christ’s name – and so for Jesus Christ himself – Christians would suffer greatly, in being faithful to him and spreading his gospel.

John 15:20-21  Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. ▤ 

To suffer on account of the “name” of Jesus Christ means to suffer for him and his cause, doing so as one who is identified with and representative of him.

Acts 5:41  Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. ▤ 

Acts 21:13  Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” ▤ 

Rev 2:3  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. ▤ 

Acts 4:18  So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. ▤ 

To speak “in the name of Jesus” (cf. Acts 9:27-28 ) means not only to speak about him, but to do so as his representative, furthering his cause. It may well also imply reliance on him and his power.

Acts 9:27-28  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. ▤ 

  • Christians are called by Christ’s name:

1Pet 4:14, 16  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glorym and of God rests upon you. ▤ 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. ▤ 

m Some manuscripts insert and of power

The correlation between “the name of Christ” (v. 14) and “Christian” (v. 16) underlines the fact that Christians are called by Christ’s name.

Note: God has given Jesus Christ a name that is superior to all others

See also:

In addition to “Jesus Christ” or “Christ”, some of the following references are – or appear to be – speaking of an additional name (or names) bestowed on Jesus Christ, without actually stating the name. As referred to in the comments below, possibilities include “Lord”, “Lord” (as in him being the Lord or ruler of all things) and the “Son” of God. Two further names of Jesus Christ are stated below in Revelation 19:13, 16. All these names, given him by God, imply Jesus Christ’s superiority to all others.

John 17:11-12a  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. ▤ 

Some Greek manuscripts speak of the believers referred to here, rather than “the name”, as that which is given to Jesus – as is the case earlier in vv. 6, 9 and later in v. 24. This rendering is followed by some modern translations (cf. AMP, NKJV, NLT) and noted in text notes by others (cf. GNT, NRSV). As it is here in the ESV (cf. CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NRSV) it speaks of the Father giving his own name to Jesus, which besides emphasizing the superiority of Jesus Christ’s name, would also raise the possibly that “Lord” is in view (cf. comment on Phil 2:9-11 ).

Phil 2:9-11  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ▤ 

Commentators differ as to whether “name” (v. 9b) is referring to Jesus Christ’s actual name. If it is, it would probably not be referring to “Jesus”, appearing to have been given after his exaltation (v. 9a). “Lord” would be a more likely candidate, particularly with the mention of all people or creatures acknowledging that “Jesus Christ is Lord” (cf. ZBC). Additionally, “Lord” may ultimately be in view, in light of the description “the name that is above every name” (v. 9) and the fact that “Lord” is translated in Greek as “Lord”.

Heb 1:4-5  … having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? ▤ 

The “name” may have in view Jesus Christ being called God’s “Son” (v. 5). But it could well be the same name referred to in the above passages.

Acts 4:12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. ▤ 

The “name” referred to here and in James 2:7 below is probably simply “Jesus Christ” (or “Jesus” or “Christ”). The verses have been included as they point to the superiority of Jesus Christ’s name to all others.

James 2:7  Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? ▤ 

Jesus Christ’s name is being referred to here (cf. AMP, NCV, NIrV), although some think that more precisely the derivative “Christian” is in view as “the fair name by which you have been called” (NASB; cf. NKJV, NLT). Either way, this points to Jesus Christ’s name as being “the excellent name” (NRSV).

  • Further mention of superlative names being given to Jesus Christ:

Rev 19:12-13, 16  His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in a robe dipped inn blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. ▤ 16On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. ▤ 

n Some manuscripts sprinkled with

Possibly v. 12b is implying that nobody understood the meaning of the name (cf. CEV, NLT), rather than simply not knowing it. Either way, it appears to speak of the incomprehensibleness of Jesus Christ’s person and points to the supremacy of both him and the name itself. Likewise the other peerless names given him (vv. 13, 16) also point to his supremacy.

Pray for persecuted Christians