Mysteries of the Kingdom

            in awe of scripture, viewing it through the lens of the kingship of Jesus





MYSTERY CONFESSION

    The apostles strategically used the formula "Christ, Son of God" to describe Jesus. Tragically, most of us have no idea what the phrase means, except that it refers to Jesus. We do not know where the phrase originated or why the apostles thought it was so important to use the words together.
  • Matthew recorded the words "Christ, the Son of the living God" as the confession on which1 Jesus promised to build His church in 16:16 of his book and the accusation of Israel's high priest in 26:63.
  • In the very first sentence of his book, Mark referred to Jesus as "Christ, the Son of God." That first sentence says Jesus' title is the Gospel and the whole purpose of Mark's book.
  • John recorded Martha confessing Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of God," then claimed in 20:31 of his book that this confession was the whole reason for his book and the way we can gain life.
  • Luke recorded demons recognizing Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of God" in 4:41 of the book bearing his name. He  then recorded it as the confession of the eunuch in Acts 8:37 and as the two great themes of the apostles' preaching throughout Acts.2
  • Paul called those two titles the "concern" of the gospel in the opening of his letter to Rome.
  • Peter confessed Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God."3
  • The writer to the Hebrews wove the two titles tightly together in 5:5 of his letter.
  • John told us whoever denied Jesus these titles was a liar and an antichrist in 2:22 of his first letter.
  • James and Jude made it a point to repeatedly call Jesus the "Christ," and Nathan called Him "the Son of God, the King of Israel" the first time he laid eyes on Jesus.
    We have grown so accustomed to the words "Christ, Son of God" as to forget they had to have begun somewhere. We should wonder how so many people used the same phrase in the first century. We should ask why they considered these titles so powerful. Most importantly, we should investigate the origin of these words and how they became the key phrase: "Christ, Son of God."
    Since no one in the New Testament ever provided an explanation, I submit the words had to have come from the Old Testament. If one searches the "Talmud" writings of the ancient Jewish rabbis, no meaning except the meaning of the Old Testament arises. The only place in which the Old Testament ties together the word "Christ" with God's "Son" is Psalm two. If we would agree with Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Martha, James, Jude, and Nathan in calling Jesus the "Christ" and "the Son of God," then we have to confess Jesus is the promised ruler in Psalm two:

1 Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take counsel together, against God, and against His Christ. 3 "Let us break their bonds apart, and cast away their cords from us."
4 He who sits in the heavens will laugh. The Lord will mock them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger, and terrify them in His wrath: 6 "Yet I have set My king on My holy hill of Zion."
7 I will tell of the decree. God said to me, "You are My son. Today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. 9 You will break them with a rod of iron. You will dash them in pieces like clay pottery."
10 Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve God with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath may soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.
(emphases added)

    If we believe Jesus is the Christ and Son of God, then we believe Psalm two. God has installed Jesus as the "Christ" King who destroys the rulers and authorities of this world. Paul said the proof of Jesus' authority is His resurrection from the dead.4 We believe He rose because the eyewitnesses willingly died for their eyewitness testimony. Fanatics will die for false beliefs, but false witnesses will not willingly die for a lie.
    John said all who confess Jesus as the Christ and Son of God are born of God. God dwells in them, and they dwell in God.5 The believer has been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Christ, God's beloved Son.6 Sin and death no longer have authority7 over those who confess what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, Martha, and Nathan confessed: Jesus is the "Christ, the Son of God." The Daniel 2:44 kingdom-of-God has come near. The primary fulfillment of Psalm two has come to pass.
    When King Jesus returns to destroy human authorities, it will be the lesser fulfillment of Psalm two. The greater has already happened8 for all who believe in Jesus as the "Christ, the Son of God."

                                                   

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1. If Paul Pavao and Roman Catholics are correct that Peter was both the Petros and the petran of Matthew 16:16, then it was still this particular confession which
elicited Jesus' promise to build His ekklesia. Had Peter simply remarked on the weather, Jesus would not have replied as He did. Jesus either promised to build His ekklesia on that confession, or He promised to build His ekklesia on Peter because Peter made that confession. In either case, it is this particular confession which prompts the promise to build.
2. Acts  2:31, 2:36, 3:6, 3:20, 4:10, 5:42, 8:5, 8:37, 9:20, 9:22, 10:36, 10:48, 11:17, 13:33, 15:26, 18:5, 18:28, 20:21, 24:24, 28:31
3. Matthew 16:16
4. Acts 17:31; Romans 1:4
5. 1John 4:15 - 5:1
6. Colossians 1:13
7. 1Corinthians 15:55-57
8. Colossians 1:13, 2:15;  Hebrews 2:14; 2Timothy 1:10; 1John 3:8
 

"Mystery Confession" by Matthew Bryan was first published at www.matthewbryan.net on March 26th, 2014. All rights are reserved.