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People's Dictionary of the Bible

Jesus Christ

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Jesus Christ. The name of the Saviour, signifying his work and authority; Jesus (the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua) means Jehovah saves, or Saviour, Matthew 1:21. Christ (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah) means anointed. Jesus was his common, name during his life on earth) generally used in the gospels. Christ is his official name, frequently used alone or with Jesus in the epistles. Jesus occurs in the Bible 711 times; Christ 304 times; Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ Jesus (anointed Saviour), 244 times, and Messiah 4 times. He has many other titles and names in Scripture, as "Immanuel," Matthew 1:23; "Son of God," John 1:34; "Son of man," John 8:28; "Son of David," etc., Mark 10:47-48; in all, upwards of 100 titles, indicating his character, life, and work.

The predictions concerning Christ were many—about 150 or more—and were made at various periods of Old Testament history. He was to be born in Bethlehem, a small village, Micah 5:2; he was to be a king with a universal and perpetual empire, Psalms 2:6; Psalms 45:2-7; Psalms 72:1-20; Isaiah 9:6-7; yet would be despised and rejected. Isaiah 53:1-12. He was to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, Isaiah 35:5-6, and yet to be betrayed, sold and slain and his grave appointed with the wicked. Yet his sufferings should make many righteous. Isaiah 11:1-9; Isaiah 60:1-11. He was to do the work of a prophet, Isaiah 42:1-7; of a priest, Psalms 110:4; Zechariah 6:13; and of a king. Daniel 7:14. These predictions, and many others of like nature, were all fulfilled in Jesus the Son of Mary.

He is the centre of all Jewish and Christian history; the "Holy of Holies" in the history of the world. There is space here for the briefest outline only of his human life, Ms mysterious person, and his work.

His Life.—While Augustus was emperor of Rome, and Herod the Great king in Jerusalem, Jesus was born four years before 1 a.d., the Christian era having been fixed by Dionysius Exiguus of the sixth century, four years too late. Mary, a virgin, betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth, gave birth to Jesus at Bethlehem according to Micah's prophecy. Micah 5:2. Angels celebrated it with songs, and wise men from the East brought precious gifts to the new-born babe. To escape Herod's threats, the child Jesus was taken to Egypt, but later settled with his parents at Nazareth. Only one event of his childhood is known—a visit when 12 years old to Jerusalem, when he astonished the doctors by his words and questions. He was trained as other Jewish lads of his station. At three the boy was weaned, and wore for the first time the fringed or tasselled garment prescribed by Numbers 15:38-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12. His education began at first under the mother's care. At five he was to learn the law, at first by extracts written on scrolls of the more important passages, the Shemà or creed of Deuteronomy 2:4; the Hallel or festival psalms, Psalms 114:1-8; Psalms 118:1-29; Psalms 136:1-26, and by catechetical teaching in school. At 12 he became more directly responsible for Ms obedience to the law; and on the day when he attained the age of 13, put on for the first time the phylacteries which were worn at the recital of his daily prayer. In addition to this, Jesus learned the carpenter's trade of Joseph.

Ministry.—His public ministry is usually regarded as lasting upwards of three years. John records more of the Judæan ministry, Luke more of his Peræan ministry, while Matthew and Mark give his Galilean ministry, as does Luke also. John the Baptist, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, Luke 3:1, produced a deep impression by preaching repentance. Jesus sought baptism at his hands, and was tempted of the devil. He then went to Cana of Galilee, where he worked his first miracle at a wedding. With some disciples, he set out for Jerusalem to keep the passover. His first work was the cleansing of the temple from traffickers and money-changers—which he repeated near the close of his ministry. Matthew 21:12. He received a visit by night from Nicodemus. Presently the Baptist was thrown into prison and the Saviour withdrew to Galilee. On his way through Samaria he conversed with a woman at Jacob's well. At Nazareth ho was rejected by the people, and went to Capernaum, which henceforth became "his own city." Here he called Peter and Andrew and James and John, and made his first tour through Galilee, performing many miracles. Early in the second year of his ministry Jesus went up to Jerusalem to a feast of the Jews, John 5:1, and healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda, explained the right use of the Sabbath, a subject which he resumed when his disciples were plucking ears of corn on Ms return to Galilee. When he reached the Sea of Galilee multitudes followed him. He appointed the twelve apostles and delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and commenced a second tour in Galilee, during which he delivered the series of parables in Matthew 13:1-58, stilled the storm on Galilee, healed the demoniacs of Gadara, raised the daughter of Jairus, and after other miracles came again to Nazareth, where he was again rejected. He then made a third tour in Galilee, and sent forth the apostles, giving the instructions recorded in Matthew 10:11. After an interval of some months the twelve returned, and with them he retired to the Sea of Galilee, fed the 5000, walked on the water, and delivered his sermon on the bread or life, John 6:1-71, in the synagogue at Capernaum. Early in the third year of his ministry, Jesus disputed with the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands, and went toward the northwest, healed the daughter of the Syrophœnician woman, and then passed around to Decapolis, where he wrought many miracles and fed 4000. Near Cæsarea Philippi Peter made his confession of faith, and then Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection and the trials of Ms followers. The transfiguration followed, and the next morning the healing of an epileptic child. On the way back to Capernaum he again foretold his sufferings, and exhorted the disciples to humility, forbearance, and brotherly love. About this time he instructed and sent out the 70 on their mission. Then he left Galilee, and having cleansed ten lepers came to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. John 7:2. Here he taught in public, and answered a lawyer's question with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The healing of the man born blind led to a long discourse, which aroused the rulers, and Jesus retired beyond Jordan. In Peræa, on his way to Jerusalem, he uttered the parables of the lost sheep, the unjust steward, the rich man and Lazarus, and the pharisee and the publican; five precepts concerning divorce: blessed little children; taught the rich young ruler. He raised Lazarus at Bethany. A third time he foretold his death and resurrection, and approaching Jericho healed blind men, called Zacchæus, and gave the parable of the pounds. He arrived at Bethany six days before the passover. At supper, in Simon's house, he is anointed. At the beginning of the last week before the crucifixion Jesus made a public entry into the city, spoke parables and warnings, lamented over Jerusalem, praised the widow's mite, met certain Greeks and predicted his second coming with solemn warnings confirmed by the parables of the ten virgins, the five talents, and the sheep and the goats. At the last or fourth passover with the twelve, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, delivered his farewell discourses, and withdrew to Gethsemane. After the agony in the garden he was arrested and in the night brought before Annas, and then Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, and in the morning before Pilate and Herod. Pilate yielded to the Jews, delivered Jesus to be mocked and crucified. He was buried and a watch set upon the tomb. On the morning of the third day the tomb was found empty, and soon he appeared to the women, then to the disciples, who could hardly believe the fact. During 40 days he taught them, and then, near Bethany, ascended to heaven in their sight.

Mysterious Person.— The great peculiarity of the Scripture doctrine of the person of Christ is that he is God and man united, two natures forming one personality. "He is not divine alone, nor human alone, but divine-human." He is the Eternal Word, John 1:1-51, the Son of God, and he is also the Son of man. Mark 11:13. This may be difficult for us to comprehend; but if a finite mind could comprehend the whole of Christ's nature, Christ could not be the infinite God he is declared to be. John 1:4.

Work and Offices of Christ.— These are usually presented as threefold. The Bible and Evangelical creeds describe the Mediator as a prophet, priest, and king. As prophet he perfectly reveals the will of the Father to man; as priest he is the perfect offering for sin, procuring redemption for all who will accept of it; as king, he is and will become rightful ruler and judge of this world, and be exalted above every name that is named, putting all things under him, receiving the praises of all created intelligences.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Jesus Christ'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/j/jesus-christ.html. 1893.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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