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- Jesus Christ’s Mission from God
- Jesus Christ’s Humanity
- Jesus Christ’s Personality
- Epilogue: God Works through Jesus Christ
Arguably the fundamental assertion of the NT is that God sent the Messiah – Jesus Christ – into the world to save people from sin and its devastating consequences. For this mission, Jesus Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and became fully human – further assertions that are very significant to the Christian faith. In fulfilling the objectives of the mission, Jesus Christ lived a life which was faultless, with his character being both exemplary and inspiring. The following teaching shows the NT’s testimony to these crucial matters.
- God sent Jesus Christ into the world
- God sent Jesus to take away sins . . .
- . . . God sent Jesus to save the world
- Jesus came to bring spiritual light into the world . . .
- . . . Jesus came to bring truth
- Jesus came to enable us to know God
- Jesus came to destroy Satan’s power and work
- Further objectives of Jesus Christ’s mission
- Note: Jesus Christ’s mission took place at a time chosen by God . . .
- . . . and aspects of Jesus Christ’s mission occurred at designated or appropriate times
John 5:36-38, 43 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. ▤ … 43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. ▤
Verse 37a implies that God had testified that he had sent Jesus. This testimony of God may primarily have been the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism (cf. Matt 3:16-17) or God’s word (cf. vv. 38-40) – or possibly the weighty testimony of the work that the Father had given Jesus (v. 36). Jesus’ claim in v. 43 that he had come in God’s name, reflects the fact that God had sent him.
John 7:28-29 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” ▤
Note that Jesus’ first statement in v. 28 was quite possibly spoken in irony – “Do you really think you know me and where I came from?” (CEV; cf. AMP, GNT). Most of the people knew where he had grown up, but were not aware of where he had initially come from.
John 11:41-42 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” ▤
Here Jesus thanks God prior to God performing through him the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead (cf. vv. 43-44). Jesus does this publicly so that the miracle would demonstrate that God had sent him (v. 42).
John 17:8, 25 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. ▤ … 25O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. ▤
John 3:13, 31 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.a ▤ … 31He 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. ▤
a Some manuscripts add who is in heaven
The inference is that Jesus came from God, in heaven.
- Jesus is the “apostle”:
b Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12
The description of Jesus as “the Lamb of God” alludes to him being given or sent by God as a sacrifice – just as lambs were used in some sacrifices – to take away sin.
c Or and as a sin offering
God sent Jesus Christ “for sin”, to deal with sin as a sin offering (cf. text note), thus effectively condemning sin, sounding its “death knell”.
In the NT “propitiation” means to turn away or appease the wrath of God against sinners in their guilt. God sent Jesus to do this, by effectively taking away sin.
“Jesus” is the Greek form of “Joshua”, which means “the Lord saves” (cf. NIV text note).
- Matt 1:21 ⇑
- God is love – as epitomized in him giving his only Son, to save us
- The OT says the ruler will bring justice and salvation to the nations
- God saves people through Jesus Christ
- The Savior of the World
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world,d that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ▤
d Or For this is how God loved the world
1Jn 4:9, 14 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. ▤ … 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. ▤
It can be inferred from this that God sent Jesus as Savior, to save Israel – and all peoples.
Luke 1:68-69, 76-79 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, ▤ … 76And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit use from on high 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” ▤
e Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us
Luke 2:27-32 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29“Lord, now you are letting your servantf depart in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation 31that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” ▤
f Greek bondservant
John 6:32-33, 51 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” ▤ … 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” ▤
The “bread” given (or sent) by God figuratively refers to Jesus’ flesh or body, which he would sacrifice “for the life of the world” (v. 51). The phrase “eats of this bread” (v. 51) is a metaphor meaning to believe in Jesus (cf. v. 40), trusting in what he would accomplish by his sacrifice. Such faith saves one, bringing life forever.
- Jesus was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world:
Jesus came as a light of revelation, showing the way to salvation and spiritual, eternal life. His spiritual light enables people to escape the spiritual darkness of this world and its sin. (Note that this and the following subsections speak of other important objectives of Jesus Christ’s mission, that were to be accomplished in conjunction with the key objective of saving the world from sin.)
Isa 42:6-7 I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. ▤
This and 49:6b below are generally understood to have been ultimately fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Verse 7 speaks of the Messiah giving spiritual sight and spiritual release from the darkness of sin.
Matt 4:15-16 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” ▤
The region referred to in v. 15 had a less predominately Jewish population than Judea, and was viewed as somewhat heathen by many other Jews. As with the above prophecies from Isaiah, this reference and Luke 1:78-79 below appear to foreshadow or allude to the enlightening of the Gentiles through Jesus Christ’s mission.
Luke 1:78-79 … because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit usg from on high 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. ▤
g Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us
Here Zechariah prophecies of the approaching advent of the Messiah, “the sunrise”, who would bring light and salvation. In speaking of “those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death”, Zechariah refers to Isaiah 9:2 (quoted above in Matthew 4:15-16) and so may primarily be referring to the Gentiles, living in the darkness of their sins. Peace with God is paramount in the final phrase.
This was spoken by Simeon on being presented with the infant Jesus.
John 1:4-5, 9 In him was life,h and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ▤ … 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. ▤
h Or was not any thing made. That which has been made was life in him
Verse 4 may well be alluding to spiritual or eternal life being in Jesus Christ, available to all people through him. As such this life gave spiritual light to all people, showing the way to salvation.
Through Jesus’ resurrection the light of the way to salvation would be made known to all peoples.
John 18:37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” ▤
Jesus’ answer seems to associate the fact that he came into the world “to bear witness to the truth” with his kingship, perhaps pointing to his authority to proclaim truth. Note that the clause: “For this purpose I was born”, could actually be referring primarily to him being king (cf. NIrV, NLT), rather than primarily to him testifying to the truth. As such it would appear to be a reference to him coming as the Messiah.
John 1:14, 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. ▤ … 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ▤
- Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life”:
Jesus did not just simply bring the truth, he is “the truth” – the embodiment of truth, as revealed by his life and teaching. (cf. BBC)
- Jesus Christ is the image of God
- Jesus Christ has the form and fullness of God – equality in nature
- To know or see Jesus Christ is to know or see the Father
- God is revealed and known through Jesus Christ
- God and Jesus Christ enable their people to know them
1Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. ▤
i Or the only One, who is God; some manuscripts the only Son
j Greek in the bosom of the Father
The phrase “at the Father’s side” points to the intimacy of the Son with the Father and the Son’s unique knowledge of him. As such Jesus Christ was in a position to make God known.
By “what I have seen with my Father”, Jesus may have been speaking of what God had “shown” him (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV), but it may more specifically be referring to what he had seen of the Father himself.
John 17:2-3, 6, 26 … since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. ▤ … 6“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. ▤ … 26I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” ▤
Eternal life involves knowing God and Jesus Christ (v. 3) in an ongoing, progressive, intimate relationship. As the one who gives eternal life (v. 2), it is Jesus Christ who enables us to have this personal knowledge of God – as subsequently referred to in vv. 6, 26. Note that such references to God’s “name” (v. 26) are indicative of God himself, here even inclusive of all that can be known about him. Jesus made God known to a deeper, more comprehensive extent than previous revelation had done.
John 5:37-38 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. ▤
Given the context, v. 37b may be alluding to the Jews’ lack of spiritual perception in not believing the one God sent – with “His voice” (v. 37b) and “his word” (v. 38a) possibly referring to God speaking through Jesus, and “his form” (v. 37b) alluding to God’s presence in Jesus. Thus this would evidence that believing Jesus Christ, the one God sent, leads to knowledge of God. However, “His voice” may alternatively refer to God’s voice testifying to Jesus at his baptism, or to the Scriptures – which also may well be the meaning of “his word”. Furthermore, in saying that they had never seen God’s “form”, Jesus may simply have been meaning that – in contrast to himself – like all people they had not “seen him face to face” (CEV, NLT; cf. GNT).
- No one knows God except those Jesus Christ reveals him to:
Matt 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. ▤
- Jesus delivered people from demons and Satan – demonstrating power over evil
- Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection were a triumph over Satan and evil
- Jesus Christ drove out demons . . .
- . . . Jesus Christ gave some of his followers similar authority over demons
“Now” refers to Jesus’ imminent death, by which Satan would be defeated, with Jesus’ death and resurrection nullifying Satan’s power over people through sin and death. For comment on the phrase “cast out”, see the comment on John 12:31 – under Note: Satan hurled down from heaven to the earth.
Heb 2:14-15 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. ▤
The term “destroy” appears to have the sense “break the power of” (NLT), although it may also allude to Jesus Christ’s death being significant in Satan’s ultimate destruction. Note that a further, related objective of Jesus’ mission is given in v. 15.
The “works of the devil”, which Jesus Christ came to destroy, involves people’s sin – as pointed to by the first statement here and by v. 5 (“… he appeared to take away sins …”). As such it also encompasses the results of sin – such as separation from God, enslavement to sin, and death.
k Hebrew seed; so throughout Genesis
The prophecy “he shall bruise your head” is understood by many to chiefly or ultimately speak of Christ’s victory over Satan through his mission.
- Jesus’ overpowering of Satan:
Luke 11:14, 21-22 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. ▤ … 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. ▤
In v. 22 Jesus is referring to his overpowering of Satan in Satan’s worldly domain, taking away Satan’s defenses and laying hold of what Satan had. The reality of this truth was demonstrated by Jesus driving out demons and thus releasing people (v. 14) from Satan’s power.
Matt 5:17-18 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ▤
There are differing views as to what Jesus meant by saying he had come “to fulfill” (v. 17) the Law and the Prophets. It involves the fact that they pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and he would do or “bring about” (NCV™) that of which they spoke (as discussed in the first two sections of this chapter). Other things that commentators suggest that “to fulfill” entails are: providing the righteousness before God that was the objective of the law; expounding God’s laws so as to “give them their full meaning” (CEV); and fulfilling the law’s requirements by perfectly obeying all of it. The phrase “until all is accomplished” (v. 18) refers to Jesus fulfilling “all” of which the law spoke. Presumably this will be ultimately completed in the consummation of his work at the end of the age.
Luke 1:69-75 … and [God] has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. ▤
The term “horn of salvation” (v. 69) refers to Jesus Christ. The use of “enemies” (vv. 71, 74) probably encompasses spiritual enemies and even sin, as well as other oppressors. According to some commentators at least, v. 73 appears to have God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:16-18 in view. This would mean that vv. 74-75 are expounding some of the implications of this oath.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” ▤
Here Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:1-2, a messianic passage. In the context of Jesus’ ministry, the phrase “liberty to the captives” (v. 18b) most likely refers at least partly to release from sin. The clause “set at liberty those who are oppressed” possibly also alludes to this; Jesus’ liberating healing ministry is presumably also in view.
Luke 12:49, 51-53 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! ▤ … 51Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” ▤
The use of “fire” (v. 49) may also allude to judgment, but it would appear in this context to primarily denote the division and conflict subsequently spoken of (vv. 51-53). Such division and conflict were the inevitable result of Jesus coming to a hostile world of darkness, for his message and his instituting of God’s kingdom were at odds with this world.
Along with bringing truth (cf. . . . Jesus came to bring truth), the implementation of God’s “grace” was another significant objective or outcome of Jesus’ mission.
Jesus’ coming brought judgment in that those who acknowledge their spiritual blindness and accept his truth will be rewarded with spiritual sight, while those who self-righteously claim to be spiritually aware – leading them to reject Jesus’ truth – will be blinded to the truth. See also the comment on Luke 2:34 ↓.
- Simeon’s prophecy of what Jesus was destined to do:
Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” ▤
The phrase “the fall and rising of many” (v. 34) appears to refer to the condemnation (“fall”) of those who would reject Jesus and the salvation (“rising”) of those who would believe in him. The “thoughts” (v. 35) probably are of those who would speak against him (cf. GNT, NCV). The responses of people to Jesus would expose their thoughts and hearts, showing where they stood in relation to God.
Most of the following references do not speak explicitly of Jesus’ mission. But the matters which they speak of as occurring at a time chosen by God are all closely associated with Jesus’ mission. Thus they give credence to the assertion that Jesus’ mission took place at God’s appointed time.
Note also that one could argue that the verses are not necessarily saying that God chose such times well in advance, instead deeming the time to be right closer to the event. However, arguably the contexts and other scriptures (cf. God Fulfills His Plans) suggest that God does choose such times well in advance, even before creation.
Gal 4:1-5 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,l though he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principlesm of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. ▤
l Greek bondservant; also verse 7
m Or elemental spirits; also verse 9
In vv. 2-3 Paul uses an illustration as a parallel to the point he makes in vv. 3-5. As such the phrase “when the fullness of time had come” (v. 4) parallels the earlier phrase “the date set by his father” (v. 2), implying that it also speaks of a time or date chosen by God.
Dan 9:24-26a “Seventy weeksn are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.o 25Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. ▤
n Or sevens; also twice in verse 25 and once in verse 26
o Or thing, or one
There are varying interpretations of these verses, but most commentators consider the passage to be speaking of the Messiah, largely in reference to Jesus Christ’s first coming. A number of commentators consider that the period of time indicated between the restoration of Jerusalem and “the anointed one” (v. 25) corresponds well with the time between the restoration after the Babylonian exile and Jesus Christ’s death. Thus they consider Jesus to have fulfilled this prophecy (yet a further example of Jesus fulfilling a messianic prophecy). As such this is indicative of Jesus’ mission taking place at God’s appointed time. Note, however, that others consider that the coming of “the anointed one” refers to Christ’s second coming.
When the time had come, the kingdom of God was “at hand” with the commencement of Jesus’ mission.
The “certain day” which God set for people to respond to his offer of salvation rest (cf. vv. 1-11) came or began with Jesus’ mission, appearing to indicate that the mission took place at God’s appointed time. Note that the context suggests that the writer is applying “day” (and “Today”) to the present era, beginning with Jesus’ mission. This is the period of time in which people can respond to God’s offer of salvation, through Jesus Christ.
Titus 1:2-3 … in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages beganp 3and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; … ▤
p Greek before times eternal
The reference here is to the Gospel message about Jesus Christ, initiated by his coming. Thus these verses imply that Jesus Christ’s mission took place at God’s “proper time”.
Dan 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, … ▤
The phrase “in the days of those kings” suggests an appointed time, with it being linked to certain kings. But note that the inclusion of this verse here is somewhat debatable. For not all scholars consider this verse to have in view Christ’s first coming and the introduction of the kingdom of God, instead understanding it to be speaking of the setting up of a millennial kingdom on Christ’s return.
Note that a number of commentators understand references such as the following to suggest that God had chosen times for all the events of Jesus’ life.
“My hour” appears to refer to the time for Jesus to publicly reveal who he was.
q Some manuscripts add yet
Note that here the references to Jesus’ “time” are not necessarily meaning that there had been a particular time designated by God. Jesus may simply have been speaking of an appropriate time for him to go to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, where he would appear to and teach the people.
“My time is at hand” refers to the appointed time (cf. NCV, NIV) of Jesus’ death. Note that there are a number of like references in the Gospel of John to the “time” of Jesus’ death (cf. Rom 5:6 ↓; 1Tim 2:6 ↓), implying that the time of his death had been designated beforehand. In regard to these references, see Jesus’ suffering and death (and resurrection) were planned . . ..
This and 1 Timothy 2:6 below, may be speaking of timing in a less precise sense to most of the other verses in this subsection.
r men and man render the same Greek word that is translated people in verses 1 and 4
The “testimony” refers to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sins, given in God’s proper time.
John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. ▤
- Jesus Christ became a human being
- Jesus was born, of Mary – after being conceived through the Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . Jesus’ mother Mary was a very godly woman, blessed by God
- Jesus was a descendant of David
- Jesus had family
- Jesus grew from childhood through to adulthood
- Jesus was called a man
- Jesus had a physical body . . .
- . . . and Jesus had physical limitations
- Like all humans, Jesus experienced difficult times – including temptation
- Note: Jesus’ humanity was vital to his mission to save people
This and the following section speak of Jesus Christ’s person in his mission. The sections cross-referenced above are complimentary in that they encompass Jesus Christ’s divine nature.
s Or who came from the offspring of David
The term “the flesh” refers to humanness.
t Or and as a sin offering
Phil 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,u 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,v being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ▤
u Or which was also in Christ Jesus
v Greek bondservant
Heb 2:9, 14, 17 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. ▤ … 14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, ▤ … 17Therefore 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. ▤
The phrase “made lower than the angels” (v. 9) refers to Jesus Christ becoming a human being, the phrase originally being applied to humans (cf. v. 7; Ps 8:5).
1Jn 4:2-3 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. ▤
1Jn 5:6-8 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. ▤
The “water” and “blood” are usually taken as references to Jesus’ baptism and death (cf. NLT, CEV text note, NCV text note), used to assert that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the truly human person who was baptized and who died on the cross.
Luke 1:31, 34-37 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. ▤ … 34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”w 35And 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 bornx will be called holy—the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” ▤
w Greek since I do not know a man
x Some manuscripts add of you
The Holy Spirit’s creative act in Mary supplied the physical means for the physical conception of Jesus (v. 35). This miraculous conception of Jesus through the Holy Spirit – in conjunction with “the power of the Most High” (v. 35) – was necessary because of Jesus’ divinity and pre-existence. As such, the “virgin birth” points to the fact that Jesus was both the Son of God and truly human. (cf. BKC) Note that the angel asserts the fact of this “virgin birth” by referring to the similarly impossible event of barren Elizabeth giving birth (v. 36) – neither of which were impossible with God (v. 37).
Matt 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christy took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothedz to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. ▤
y Some manuscripts of the Christ
z That is, legally pledged to be married
The references to Joseph not having sexual union with Mary prior to Jesus’ birth (vv. 18, 25) negate the idea that Jesus was conceived by Joseph rather than through the Holy Spirit (vv. 18, 20; Luke 1:34-35 ↑).
Luke 2:4-11 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,a who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ▤
a That is, one legally pledged to be married
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponb his shoulder, and his name shall be calledc Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ▤
b Or is upon
c Or is called
This supports the assertion that Jesus, the Messiah, was actually born.
Luke 1:26-33, 38-45 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothedd to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”e 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” ▤ … 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servantf of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would beg a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” ▤
d That is, legally pledged to be married
e Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women!
f Greek bondservant; also verse 48
g Or believed, for there will be
Note that in v. 45 Elizabeth is speaking of Mary as having believed God, rather than encouraging her to do so.
Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” ▤
This renowned passage is known as the Magnificat, which in Latin means “glorifies”. It clearly illustrates Mary’s godliness. In it Mary wonderfully glorifies God and appears to show a good knowledge of Scripture, particularly with it reflecting Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
Luke 2:21-24, 39 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” ▤ … 39And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. ▤
Mary and her husband Joseph characteristically complied with God’s will, notably here the requirements of “the Law of the Lord” (v. 39).
John 2:1-5 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” ▤
Even at this early stage Mary displays great faith in Jesus, as suggested in v. 3 and more clearly implied in v. 5.
The fact that Mary stood by Jesus at his crucifixion arguably reflects her godliness, as well as the unrelenting love and devotion of a mother for her child.
h Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verse 15
- The visit of the wise men, sometime after Jesus’ birth:
Matt 2:1-2, 11 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men
i from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose j and have come to worship him.” ▤ … 11And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. ▤
i Greek magi; also verses 7, 16
j Or in the east; also verse 9
Little is known about the wise men. They may have come from southern Arabia or Persia.
Matt 1:1-2, 6-7, 16-17 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, ▤ … 6and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,k ▤ … 16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. ▤
k Asaph is probably an alternate spelling for Asa; some manuscripts read Asa; also verse 8
Luke 1:26-27, 31-32 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothedl to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. ▤ … 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, … ▤
l That is, legally pledged to be married
As with v. 27 here and other passages in this subsection (cf. Matt 1:6-7, 16-17 ↑; Luke 3:23, 31 ↓), Luke 2:4 also directly states that Joseph, Jesus’ earthly and legal father, was a descendant of David – “he belonged to the house and line of David.”
Luke 3:23, 31 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, ▤ … 31the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, … ▤
The line of descent in Luke is different to the one in Matthew (cf. Matt 1:1-2, 6-7, 16-17 ↑). Commentators generally consider that Matthew traces the legal line of descent, through Joseph, whereas Luke traces the actual biological line of descent, through Mary – Jesus’ mother. As such both Mary and Joseph are understood to be descendents of David.
m Or who came from the offspring of David
Acts 13:22-23 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. ▤
Matt 13:55-56 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? ▤
Obviously the previous subsections likewise contain references to Jesus having parents, thus also supporting the assertion that Jesus had family.
Luke 2:48 And when his parentsn saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” ▤
n Greek they
o Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verse 15
p Greek a sister as wife
The “brothers of the Lord” likely refers to siblings. These include the James who became a key church leader and Judas, who may well have written the Letter of Jude.
Luke 2:40-42 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. 41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. ▤
q Or years
r Some manuscripts insert cried out and
s Or a son
John 1:29-30 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ▤
John 7:12, 15 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” ▤ … 15The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning,t when he has never studied?” ▤
t Or this man knows his letters
Here Jesus himself refers to himself as “a man”.
Rom 5:15, 17, 19 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. ▤ … 17For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. ▤ … 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. ▤
Note that in addition to the references to Jesus Christ being a “man”, the comparisons in this – and the following reference from 1 Corinthians 15:21, 47 – between Jesus Christ and the first man Adam, highlight the fact that Jesus Christ was a man.
u men and man render the same Greek word that is translated people in verses 1 and 4
- Jesus referred to himself as “the Son of Man”:
The term “the Son of Man” was the title Jesus used for himself the most – approximately 80 times. It is a messianic title (cf. Dan 7:13-14), but it also underlines his humanity.
Matt 27:58-60 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. ▤
1Tim 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: Hev was manifested in the flesh, vindicatedw by the Spirit,x seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. ▤
v Greek Who; some manuscripts God; others Which
w Or justified
x Or vindicated in spirit
Heb 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, … ▤
Heb 10:5, 10 Consequently, when Christy came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; ▤ … 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ▤
y Greek he
1Jn 1:1-2 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— ▤
The “word of life” (v. 1) refers to Jesus Christ. That he appeared, was heard, seen and – in particular – touched, points to him having a physical body.
z That is, about noon
a Some manuscripts died
That Jesus had physical limitations is clearly reflected by the fact that he died.
- Jesus had a spirit, which departed his body on his death:
b Or forsaken
c Or pains; also verse 4
d Or and knowing
e Or sickness; also verse 4
f Or as one who hides his face from us
Mark 14:33-34 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”g ▤
g Or keep awake; also verses 37, 38
h Some manuscripts omit verses 43 and 44
Sweat “like great drops of blood” is indicative of great anguish.
John 11:33-35 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. ▤
Heb 5:7-8 In the days of his flesh, Jesusi offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. ▤
i Greek he
j Some manuscripts add for us; some for you
Luke 4:1-2, 13 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. ▤ … 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. ▤
The reasons why Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted – or tested – by the devil probably include the following: it was to prepare him for what lay ahead (and also proved his worthiness to do the work); it allowed him to assert his dominance over Satan from the beginning of his ministry (not that Satan was one to give up, v. 13); it unequivocally demonstrated his allegiance to God; and it meant he would be in a better position to help his followers when they are tempted (cf. Heb 2:18 ⇓).
- In difficult times Jesus put his trust in God:
Taken from Isaiah 8:17 where the prophet asserts his trust in God amidst difficult times, this quotation is usually understood to here be speaking of Jesus’ trust in God in his often difficult life on earth as a human being. By trusting God he both identified with and was an example to his “brothers” (cf. vv. 11-12).
Hebrews 2:14-18 below clearly states that for his redemptive work, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to become fully human. The other references likewise imply or allude to this.
Heb 2:14-18 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore 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. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. ▤
Jesus needed to share in the humanity of God’s people and become like them so as to be identified with them, in a sense being one with them. As such he could die as a substitute and an offering (cf. Rom 8:3 ↓) for them. Partaking of their humanity would also be important for him in his ongoing role in helping God’s people, as indicated in v. 18 and possibly also in v. 17 (if aspects of his ongoing role as high priest are in view in addition to his sacrificial death).
k Or and as a sin offering
Rom 5:15-19 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. 16And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18Therefore, as one trespassl led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousnessm leads to justification and life for all men. 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. ▤
l Or the trespass of one
m Or the act of righteousness of one
The contrasts between death and sin coming through the man Adam with life and righteousness coming through the man Jesus Christ, may suggest that it was necessary for the latter pair to come through a man – i.e. they needed to come in the same way that death and sin came (cf. 1Cor 15:21 ↓). The reasoning may be along the line of the following. Adam as the father of the human race, acted in a sense as representative of all people, who would come from him. Jesus Christ as a human being, acted on behalf of all people, effectively those who would believe in him. In part at least because of this, Jesus Christ’s righteousness – stemming from his obedience (v. 19) – could be imputed on all. For further comment on this passage see Sin results in physical death – through Adam’s original sin; and God and Jesus Christ show abundant grace toward their people.
Following on from the clause “born of woman”, in saying that Jesus was “born under the law” (v. 4) Paul further emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and his identification with all humanity which is subject to the law. Paul asserts that as such Christ could redeem those under law. Jesus was human and fully obeyed the law and so was not liable under the law, not having to pay any penalty for himself. As such he was in a position to offer his blameless life as a substitute for the lives of others. In conjunction, bear in mind that just as a human he could die on behalf of humans, as the Son of God his death was worth that of an immeasurable number of humans.
It can be inferred from this that Christ’s body needed to be a physical, human body for people to be reconciled to God through his death.
n men and man render the same Greek word that is translated people in verses 1 and 4
The reference to “the man Christ Jesus” appears to point to Jesus Christ’s humanity as being significant to his role as the “mediator between God and men”.
- Jesus was loving – shown ultimately in him giving up his life
- Jesus was compassionate
- Jesus was meek
- Jesus was gentle and humble – as a servant
- Jesus was good
- Jesus was righteous
- Jesus showed righteous anger and indignation
- Jesus showed great strength of character, being courageous and composed
- Note: Jesus was prepared to associate with and even support notably sinful people
- John 19:26-27 ⇓
- Jesus Christ loves God’s people – as he showed when he gave his life for them + ref.
Mark 10:20-21 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” ▤
John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. ▤
John 15:9, 12-13 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. ▤ … 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ▤
The ultimate depth of Jesus’ love is shown emphatically in: v. 9, with the comparison to God’s otherwise unmatchable love for him; and v. 13, which alludes to Jesus’ own love in speaking of the greatest expression of human love, that of laying down one’s life for another.
o Or that
Matt 14:13-14 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. ▤
Jesus’ compassion for the crowd (v. 14) is all the more notable as he had wanted to be alone (v. 13).
Matt 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” ▤
Matt 20:30-31, 34 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord,p have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” ▤ … 34And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. ▤
p Some manuscripts omit Lord
Jesus’ compassion/pity (v. 34) is accentuated by the crowd’s contrasting heartless response to the blind men (v. 31).
Mark 1:40-41 And a leperq came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” ▤
q Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13
Luke 7:12-13 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” ▤
Luke 19:41-44 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” ▤
Jesus wept with heartfelt compassion because the people of Jerusalem had not recognized him and the peace that could have come through him (v. 42), and now would face destruction (vv. 43-44). This came by the Romans in A.D. 70.
John 19:25-27 … but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. ▤
Perhaps thoughtfulness as much as – or more than – compassion is what Jesus shows here; even while he was being crucified, he could still think of others.
- Jesus’ mercy shown in asking for forgiveness for those who crucified him:
Luke 23:33-34a And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
r Some manuscripts omit the sentence And Jesus . . . what they do
As demonstrated by Jesus, meekness is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary it shows strength of character, enabling a person to “take in their stride” any injustices committed against them. (See also the introductory comment on Be meek.)
Matt 26:47-52 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”s Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servantt of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. ▤
s Or Friend, why are you here?
t Greek bondservant
Even amidst the most infamous betrayal in history, Jesus showed no antagonism towards his betrayer (v. 50), but instead meekly accepted his destiny. Luke even records him healing the adversary who lost his ear in v. 51 (cf. Luke 2:47-51).
u Or Have you no answer to what these men testify against you?
Here and in 27:12-14 immediately below, Jesus appears to show meekness by making no retort or attempt to justify himself in the face of unjust accusations.
Matt 27:12-14 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. ▤
This and the following verse are from two of the four “servant songs” in Isaiah, which depict aspects of the life and work of the Messiah (the servant). As such they are prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. These two verses speak of his meek response to those inflicting on him great suffering.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. ▤
The term “lowly in heart” is indicative of humility.
v Or even
Matt 12:19-20 He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; … ▤
The Messiah would not act like political leaders, arguing and loudly proclaiming his cause in public (v. 19). Instead he had a largely non-confrontational approach to carrying out his work in the face of opposition (cf. vv. 14-16). His gentleness was also evident in the way he dealt with the sick and weak – not crushing those who were weak (v. 20).
Phil 2:6-8 … who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,w being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ▤
w Greek bondservant
This and the following references illustrate Jesus’ exemplary humility and also his preparedness to serve, both God (here and Isa 53:11 ↓) and people (the other references below).
John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. ▤
The reference to Jesus’ great authority (v. 3) accentuates his humility in performing such a menial task (v. 5). One reason why Jesus washed his disciples’ feet was to set them an example of humble service (cf. vv. 12-15).
John 21:9-13 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. ▤
Even as the risen savior, Jesus was pleased to prepare and serve breakfast to his disciples.
Isa 53:11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seex and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. ▤
x Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light
- Jesus did not seek glory or to glorify himself:
John 8:50, 54 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. ▤ … 54Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
y Some manuscripts your God
Mark 10:17-18 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. ▤
Note that in his reply (v. 18) Jesus in effect says that only God is truly good. Commentators generally see this as pointing to his oneness with God rather than denying that he himself was good.
- . . . Jesus himself is identified with truth
- Jesus Christ was an unblemished offering – being without sin
Isa 53:11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seez and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. ▤
z Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light
a Some manuscripts died
Matt 22:16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.b ▤
b Greek for you do not look at people’s faces
Mark 3:2-5 And they watched Jesus,c to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. ▤
c Greek him
Here and in John 2:14-17 below Jesus expresses anger (with the remaining references probably more precisely examples of indignation). In both instances his anger has nothing to do with any concern for himself. Rather it is directed at unacceptable attitudes or actions, towards others and God.
John 2:14-17 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” ▤
Note that this passage also shows Jesus’ zeal, as emphasized by v. 17.
Mark 10:13-14 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. ▤
Arguably this and the following references evidence indignation in Jesus – and possibly other personal characteristics.
d Some manuscripts add here (or after verse 12) verse 14: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation
Mark 8:11-12 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” ▤
Matt 15:1-9 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”e 6he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the wordf of God. 7You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” ▤
e Or is an offering
f Some manuscripts law
Jesus did not hesitate to stand up to and rebuke the religious authorities and leaders of the Jews, which he did with astuteness and composure.
g Greek it
h Greek the demon
i Greek from that hour
Jesus was unfazed by evil forces.
Luke 14:1-4 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. ▤
Jesus knew full well that his opponents were watching him to catch him out and that they would find fault with him healing a person on the Sabbath. Still he did not let the threat that they posed deter him from rightfully healing the man.
John 8:3-9 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. ▤
We do not know what Jesus wrote on the ground (vv. 6, 8). In view of v. 7, possibly it was other commandments, to point out the hypocrisy of the woman’s accusers in condemning her for one sin while being guilty themselves of other sins, in breaking other commandments. Whatever it was, along with his insightful directive (v. 7b), it illustrates his courage and in particular his composure under pressure.
John 18:3-11 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.”j Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6When Jesusk said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servantl and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” ▤
j Greek I am; also verses 6, 8
k Greek he
l Greek bondservant; twice in this verse
It appears that Jesus’ remarkable composure – and possibly some perception of his majesty – intimidated and unnerved his would-be captors so much that “they drew back and fell to the ground” (v. 6). A number of commentators consider that in saying, “I am he,” (v. 5) Jesus may have been alluding to God’s name (cf. text note) and so his own authority – adding to his opponents’ trepidation.
In his mission to save the world from sin, Jesus reached out to sinners – in particular those who recognized themselves as such. These included groups of people looked down upon as “sinners” by the self-righteous members of society. Associating with and supporting such people showed Jesus’ love and compassion. These actions also reflected his strength of character, with him not being influenced by or giving in to social norms and the pressure of public opinion.
Matt 9:10-13 And as Jesusm reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” ▤
m Greek he
In v. 13, “righteous” is probably used in an ironical sense, denoting the self-righteous, those who considered themselves to be spiritually “well” (v. 12) and not in need of what Jesus offered.
n Some manuscripts children (compare Luke 7:35)
Although stated judgmentally, Jesus opponents were basically correct in saying that Jesus was a friend of sinners. Regarding the last statement, “wisdom” refers either to that expressed in the approach of Jesus and John the Baptist (cf. v. 18) or to God’s wisdom, as the one who sent them. This “wisdom” would be vindicated by Jesus’ and John’s work, and the outcomes of their work.
Luke 19:5-7 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” ▤
Luke 7:37-50 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49Then those who were at table with him began to say amongo themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” ▤
o Or to
In being described as “a sinner” (vv. 37, 39), the woman was probably a prostitute. Jesus not only showed that he was comfortable associating with – even being touched by (v. 39) – a repentant prostitute, but was prepared to publicly speak up for her (vv. 40-50; cf. John 8:3-9 ⇑).
- God works in all eras through Jesus Christ, impacting all things everywhere
- God enacts his will in or through Jesus Christ
- God fulfills his promises through Jesus Christ . . .
- . . . Key promises of God have been centered on Jesus Christ
- God saves people through Jesus Christ
- God reconciles people to himself through Jesus Christ
- God gave the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ
- God works in and through his people, through Jesus Christ
- God made and sustains all things through Jesus Christ
- God’s Enablement of Jesus Christ
- The Significance of Being ‘in’ Jesus Christ
- God Works in His People through the Holy Spirit
Note that the verses in this subsection are ordered according to the chronological order of their subject matter. As such the ordering of some could be varied as they make reference to more than one era or time period.
This verse speaks of God working through Jesus Christ in saying that God made the world through Jesus Christ and spoke to us through him during his mission (“in these last days”). Additionally the clause “whom he appointed the heir of all things” could be interpreted to point to God further impacting all things through Jesus Christ. It may well have largely in view the future consummation of Jesus Christ’s lordship when he will reign with all things as his and in submission to him.
p Probably demonic rulers and authorities
q Or in it (that is, the cross)
Opinions differ over whether this is talking of God or of Jesus Christ, defeating the forces of evil through Christ’s death. If it is God, then it illustrates that God works in – or at least impacts on – the spiritual world through Jesus Christ. For further comment see Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection were a triumph over Satan and evil.
The things listed by Jude are ascribed to God – or proclaimed to be God’s – throughout the past, present and future. With the clause “through Jesus Christ our Lord”, Jude probably means they are God’s through Jesus Christ; alternatively he may be speaking of such acclamation being offered to God through Christ (cf. NIrV). If the former is the case, God’s accomplishing of his purposes through Jesus Christ – which have and will bring glory to God – would appear to be in view.
r Greek bondservants
Rev 5:1-7 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. ▤
Opinions differ on the likely contents of the scroll. Quite possibly it contains God’s will for the world for the remainder of this age and the subsequent events leading into eternity, including judgment (cf. Rom 2:16 ↓) and the bequeathing of the inheritance of the saints. As such it would include the events portrayed in the remaining chapters of Revelation. The Lamb which was slain (vv. 6, 9) is Jesus Christ. The fact that he is the only one worthy to open it probably signifies that he will execute it, bringing God’s plans for the world to fulfillment. As such the passage speaks of God working through Jesus Christ.
Acts 3:19-21 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 20that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. ▤
Note that the other subsections in this chapter section similarly illustrate that God enacts his will in or through Jesus Christ, even though they may not make specific reference to God’s will or purpose.
Bear in mind that the teaching in this and the previous subsection is not necessarily indicating that God works or enacts his will exclusively through Jesus Christ. The Bible also speaks of God working through the Holy Spirit and through his people – although this does not mean that Jesus Christ is not also involved in such work (cf. God works in and through his people, through Jesus Christ).
Isa 53:10-11 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;s when his soul makest an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seeu and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. ▤
s Or he has made him sick
t Or when you make his soul
u Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light
It was God’s will to “to crush him … put him to grief” (v. 10a), in order to make him an offering for sin (v. 10b) so that he would make many righteous, bearing their sins for them (v. 11b). Thus through the Messiah the will of God would come to fruition – “prosper in his hand” (v. 10b).
Gal 1:3-4 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, … ▤
v Or before him in love, having predestined us
Eph 1:9-10 … making knownw to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. ▤
w Or he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known . . .
Eph 3:8-11 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages inx God who created all things, 10so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, … ▤
x Or by
God’s “eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ” (v. 11) appears to be speaking primarily of the Gentiles being made “fellow heirs [with Jews], members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus” (v. 6). Possibly it also points to his purpose that Paul had spoken of earlier in 1:9-10 above. Note that this also speaks of God fulfilling his will through the church, although with it playing a somewhat more passive role.
All God’s promises are confirmed in Jesus Christ; they are “fulfilled in him” (NLT).
Luke 1:68-75 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. ▤
This speaks of promises of God, promises that encompassed the salvation and associated blessings spoken of in the rest of the passage. Jesus Christ is the “horn of salvation” (v. 69) “raised up” or sent by God in order to fulfill these promises.
Acts 2:38-39 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” ▤
The “promise” (v. 39) is that of the Holy Spirit (cf. AMP), to be given to those who have their sins forgiven through the name of Jesus Christ. Thus these verses can be construed to indicate that this promise of God is largely fulfilled through Jesus Christ (cf. Gal 3:14, 22 ↓) – or at least that this promise has been made possible because of Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished.
As indicated earlier, this suggests that God will fulfill through Jesus Christ his promise (spoken through the prophets) to restore everything.
Acts 13:32-33 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ ▤
For comment, see the comments on: Acts 13:27-33 under For the OT speaks of the sufferings and resurrection of the Christ as fulfilled in Jesus . . .; and Acts 13:32-37 under Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection.
Christ’s ministry to the Jews was in order to confirm God’s promises to the patriarchs, particularly the promise that they would be a blessing to all nations. The prime blessing that would come by them would be salvation through the Messiah.
Gal 3:14, 22 … so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirity through faith. ▤ … 22But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ▤
y Greek receive the promise of the Spirit
In v. 14, “the blessing of Abraham” refers to justification by faith (cf. vv. 6-11). In v. 22, “the promise” most likely also refers to this righteousness or justification by faith and the associated promise of the Spirit (v. 14b) – possibly along with other concepts related to “the promise”, particularly salvation and life. These promises are fulfilled essentially through Jesus Christ, with those who have faith in him receiving them (vv. 14b, 22b).
Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.z ▤
z The Greek word means both covenant and will; also verses 16, 17
The “promised eternal inheritance” – fulfilled through the work of Jesus Christ – may refer specifically to “eternal redemption” (v. 12).
The references in the previous subsection largely tell of God making promises and then fulfilling them through Jesus Christ, whereas in this subsection the references tell of promises of God that in themselves speak of the Messiah or Jesus Christ (and so have been or will be fulfilled through Jesus Christ).
Acts 2:29-33 Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. ▤
In vv. 30-31, Peter asserts that David had spoken (cf. vv. 35-38) of the Christ being resurrected to assume the Davidic throne, as the descendant whom God had promised David would be placed on his throne. In vv. 32-33, Peter implies that God’s resurrection of Jesus Christ and his exaltation of Christ to his right hand (pointing to Christ’s enthronement) show Christ to be the one that God had spoken of. (Additionally, note that v. 33 speaks of God fulfilling through Christ his promise of the Holy Spirit.)
Rom 1:1-3 Paul, a servanta of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from Davidb according to the flesh … ▤
a Or slave; Greek bondservant
b Or who came from the offspring of David
c The words This mystery is are inferred from verse 4
What the “promise” refers to is not specified but probably relates to an aspect of salvation, centered on and achieved through Jesus Christ. Possibly it may encompass – or at least be applicable to – all that is promised to those who are “in” Jesus Christ.
- God made promises to Christ which are inherited by all who belong to him:
Gal 3:16, 19, 29 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. ▤ … 19Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. ▤ … 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. ▤
The promises referred to were made to Abraham and to his “offspring”, Christ (v. 16), the one through whom they would be fulfilled. Due to believers’ association with Christ – “the offspring … to whom the promise had been made” (v. 19a) – believers are likewise Abraham’s spiritual offspring and so heirs of the promises made to him (v. 29). Note that it is debatable as to exactly what promise/s are referred to. Possibilities include: righteousness by faith (cf. vv. 6-11, 14, 22-24; Rom 4); and various promises made to Abraham (e.g. Gen. 13:15) or applications thereof.
- Rom 5:8-10 ⇓
- God sent Jesus to take away sins . . .
- . . . God sent Jesus to save the world
- God provides salvation through Jesus Christ
- God provides life through Jesus Christ
- Salvation for the Gentiles through Jesus Christ
- People are saved by God’s grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ . . .
- Eternal life is a gift from God, through Jesus Christ
- God saves his people through the Holy Spirit
- God’s salvation through Jesus Christ and the associated blessings . . .
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world,d that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ▤
d Or For this is how God loved the world
Jesus Christ is God’s “Savior”, through whom God forgives and saves Israel – and all peoples.
Rom 3:22b-25a For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. ▤
The “victory” is victory over death and sin.
1Pet 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ▤
Through Jesus Christ’s resurrection, God has brought believers into a “living hope” (v. 3b) – encompassing the hope of their own resurrection and an inheritance (v. 4). As such the passage speaks of God effecting through Jesus Christ the salvation to be consummated in “the last time” (v. 5).
1Jn 4:9-10 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ▤
Rom 5:8-11 … but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ▤
God “through” Jesus Christ: saves us from his own wrath (v. 9b), justifying us by Christ’s death (v. 9a); reconciles us to him (vv. 10-11); and brings our salvation to completion (v. 10b).
2Cor 5:18-21 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconcilinge the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ▤
e Or God was in Christ, reconciling
The phrase “become the righteousness of God” (v. 21b) means either: to be made “right with God” (NCV™, NLT) or to “share the righteousness of God” (GNT). In any case, the two alternatives are connected to each other – and are aspects of the aforementioned reconciliation that God has provided through Jesus Christ.
Col 1:19-22 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, … ▤
At the start of v. 22, “he” could refer to God or Christ. At the end of v. 22, “him” refers to God.
Note that this topic has at times been highly controversial in church history. As such some scholars would disagree with or wish to qualify the above subheading.
Titus 3:5-6 … he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, … ▤
Although this does not expressly say that God sent the Holy Spirit (“the Helper”) through Jesus Christ, it clearly implies this. This is also the case in Luke 24:49 and Acts 2:33 immediately below. The subsequent verses speak of Jesus giving the Holy Spirit, reflecting that the Holy Spirit does not come “directly” from God.
Jesus said this prior to his ascension. It is usually understood as anticipating the forthcoming sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:1-4), though some commentators see it is a partial or limited bestowal of the Spirit.
Here John the Baptist speaks of Jesus bestowing the Holy Spirit on believers – as initially realized at Pentecost.
- God sent the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name:
- God Works in His People through the Holy Spirit
- God works through his people by the Holy Spirit . . .
- . . . God speaks through his people by the Holy Spirit
2Cor 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.f ▤
f Or For as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, so also our comfort abounds through Christ
Paul speaks of the magnitude of God’s provision as being in accordance with or reflective of God’s incredible riches emanating in and through Jesus Christ. Note that the phrase “in glory” may be referring to: the glory of his riches (“glorious riches” NIV, NLT); or God’s glory, which encompasses his riches.
g Some manuscripts you
The first part of the verse suggests that “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” is speaking at least as much of the work he does through us (impacting others) as of that which he does in us (impacting our own spiritual lives).
God commissioned Paul through Jesus Christ for the task of spreading the gospel. The mention of receiving “grace” is most likely referring to God’s grace shown to Paul in choosing him for this task (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT), but it could also involve the grace which God bestowed on Paul in equipping him for the task. Whichever is the case, the “grace” was received through Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:29-30 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servantsh to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus. ▤
h Greek bondservants
As shown later in Acts, God answered this prayer – healing and performing miraculous signs and wonders. God did this largely through the apostles and other believers – “through the authority and by the power of” (AMP) the name of Jesus, as this prayer intimates.
- God’s love is expressed to his people through Jesus Christ:
This may be meaning that God’s love has been and continues to be expressed to believers in or “through” (GNT) Christ. However, it could simply have primarily in view the consummate expression of this love manifested in what Jesus Christ has already done in his mission.