Thursday, March 01, 2018

5.2 The Theology of Jesus of Nazareth

1. Rudolph Bultmann famously said that the historical Jesus was part of the prolegomena to New Testament theology rather than part of biblical theology itself. Of course for him there was a stark difference between the "Jesus of history" and the "Christ of faith." Others would be more on the same page as Martin Kähler, who asserted that "the real Jesus is none other than the historical Christ of the Bible."

It is clear that any biblical theology relating to Jesus of Nazareth must focus on the theology found in the biblical texts. In my opinion, Kähler comes closer to the truth than Bultmann, meaning that we can find within the Gospel narratives the likely voice of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. To put it more precisely, the Gospels are likely a mixture of the theology of Jesus and the theology of the early church, which are largely in continuity with each other. It thus seems possible to hear the theology of Jesus of Nazareth within the theology of the Gospel writers.

2. Jesus' Theology of God
  • Believed in one God (Mark 10:18)
  • Called God "Father" (Mark 14:36). Cf. Jeremias
  • Had a unique relationship with the Father (cf. Matt. 11:27)
  • Preached that the kingdom of God was arriving in him (Mark 1:14-15)
3. Jesus' Theology of Himself
  • Prophet
  • Messiah
  • Son of Man (dual meaning)
  • Suffering servant
4. Jesus' Theology of Israel
  • God was renewing Israel (12 disciples)
  • Jesus went to the "lost sheep" of Israel (Mark 2:17; Luke 15)
  • Focus on the poor, the marginalized, women, outcasts
  • Jesus' healings part of this restoration
  • Jesus did not focus on the Jewish Law per se, because the Law was more often used as a tool to marginalize
5. Jesus' Theology of Satan
  • Part of the arrival of the kingdom of God was the removal of God's opposition--Satan and the demonic.
  • Each exorcism was preparing the way for the arrival of the kingdom of God (cf. Luke 11:20). 
6. Jesus' Theology of Judgment
  • God and the Son of Man would take care of the judgment.
  • God was calling Israel to corporate repentance so that they might be saved.
  • The unbelieving world was headed for Gehenna.
7. Jesus' Ethic
  • Repentance for Israel's corporate sin and an embrace in loyalty to the coming kingdom of God was essential.
  • God would take care of Israel's enemies. Jesus' followers would not be going to battle against the Romans. In the meantime they were to love their enemies.
  • Jesus focused on the "weightier parts" of the Law--justice, mercy, and faith (Matt. 23:23).

Previous "chapters"
Chapter 1: What is Biblical Theology?
Chapter 2: Theology of God
Chapter 3: Creation and Consummation
Chapter 4: Sin and Atonement
Interlude: A Theology of Israel

Chapter 5: Jesus the Christ
5.1 Fully Human, Fully Divine

No comments: