According to the Scriptures: Proving Jesus is Christ

gospelIn his book ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURES, C.H. Dodd makes an effort to recreate what Old Testament texts the first Christians might have relied on to try to convince their fellow Jews that Jesus was in fact the Messiah (see Acts 17:3, 18:28).    Dodd sets up some criteria for trying to establish which O.T. texts seem to be quoted often enough and by enough different New Testament writers as to qualify as the “testimonia” which the early Christians relied on to prove their case.  His research led him to conclude that there are 15 O.T. passages that seem to constitute the testimonia the Christians frequently quoted to prove their case.  The verses he felt make up the basic argument of Christians that Jesus is both Messiah and Lord are themselves interesting.  For one thing they are very defensive of the fact that the Messiah turns out to be a suffering Messiah – his execution on the cross is not a sign that he was rejected by God but rather fulfills the prophecies of the coming Messiah.  The Christians in experiencing Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, formed specific ideas as to what the Messiah is and why they believed Jesus fulfilled the promises of the Messiah.  Below I list the texts that Dodd thought made up the core defense of Jesus as Messiah, and I categorize them as to what point I think each verse is trying to make.     In offering this study, we get a glimpse into what Scripture verses the early Christians thought were essential for the preaching; we get a glimpse into the minds and faith of the very first believers.  We also can see how their emphasis and use of Scripture differs from our own.   Perhaps this can be the basis of a Bible study for Christians in our parishes:

God Has Chosen His Servant:   Psalm 2:7, Psalm 110:1,  Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 28:16, Genesis 12:3, Isaiah 61:1-2

God has Exulted His Servant:   Psalm 110:1, Genesis 12:3,  Isaiah 61:1-2

God’s Servant Will Triumph:   Psalm 110:1, Isaiah 61:1-2

God’s Chosen One will have Enemies:   Genesis 12:3

Humans Reject God’s Chosen One & His Plan:   Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 6:9-10

Humanity Is Surprised at God’s Choice & Revelation =  It is Unexpected:   Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 53:1, Isaiah 40:3-5, Zechariah 9:9, Habakkuk 2:3-4

God’s People Fail to Understand God’s Plan:   Isaiah 6:9-10, Isaiah 53:1

God is building an edifice/household/temple  a covenant:   Isaiah 28:16,   Psalm 118:22-23, Jeremiah 31:31-34

Miracles Shall Accompany the Appearance of the Messiah:   Isaiah 40:3-5, Joel 2:28-32, Isaiah 61:1-2

A New Covenant   – Torah/10 Commandments to be replaced by God’s writing on our hearts:   Jeremiah 31:31-34, Joel 2:28-32

Forgiveness of Sins:   Jeremiah 31:31-34

A Day of Judgment:   Joel 2:28-32, Habakkuk 2:3-4, Isaiah 61:1-2

A Day of Salvation, Rejoicing, Victory, Triumph:   Joel 2:28-32, Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 61:1-2

God has raise and chosen his servant:   Deuteronomy 18:15

God Has exulted Humanity:    Psalm 8:4-6