The Divine Verb Became A Human Person

Jesus-Christ-Cross-Wallpaper (2)

Introduction: Who Do You Say that I Am?

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”[1]

This particular day seemed like any other day in my EFL English classroom. The first year EFL students entered the classroom sluggishly but ready to learn. Throughout the class we did our daily classroom activities, and as the class hurried to an end the first year students worked tirelessly and vigorously – not even sparing a second on the clock – because none of them wanted to take work home that evening – all of my students were emerging adults who enjoyed time hanging out with friends, playing video games, sleeping, or indulging themselves in their ‘week’ long moment of passion and romance with their significant other. However, though this particular day seemed a bit like any other day, such a seemingly hum drum day became quite interesting. As the bell rang signaling the end of class, the students leaped out their seats as if someone had scored the game winning goal at the World Cup and they yelled at the top of their lungs as if their team were the victors, “bye teacher see you tomorrow!” marching in a victors stride to the nearby university cafeteria. As all the students exited the class, I began to pack my bags as usual but my normal routine was interrupted by one of my students who stayed after class – it was my Muslim student Ayesha. As I noticed the curious eyes of Ayesha glaring towards me as if she had a question to ask, I asked, “Ayesha, is there anything that I can help you with?” and immediately with her inquisitive sigh and her eyes gazing at the cross around my neck she conjures up a seemingly simple yet complex question, she asks, “What do you believe about Jesus?”

Christology: Learning How to Speak About Jesus

In my perspective, it would seem quite impossible to imagine a Christian community that fails to acknowledge Jesus in some way or another because at the most fundamental level the term “Christian” would seem to assume a particular type of indebtedness to the person of Jesus. Thus, perhaps it should be of no surprise that the charismatic prayers that we pray, the spirit-filled songs that we sing, the transformative testimonies that we hear, the powerful words that we preach, and the profound faith-experiences that we have are in some way or another interconnected to Jesus. More simply, the entire Christian experience appears to be intrinsically interrelated to the person Jesus Christ – because we profess to be people who have encountered the risen Lord. Therefore, when Christians speak of Christology, they speak of something that is the profound outflow of our experience with the risen Lord. Thus, by means of Christology, Christians come to learn how to speak about Jesus; the one in whom Christians place their faith-trust, love and allegiance.

Thus, throughout the course of this paper I will attempt to adequately reflect, and personally answer the question posed by Ayesha – my Muslim EFL student. However, in answering this question I must admit that I do not write without bias (as if anyone could), rather I write as one who has encountered the ‘risen Lord’ – or to put it in another manner I write this paper as a devout Christian. Furthermore, in this personal reflection concerning Jesus, I do not claim to speak for all Christians worldwide – for there are many streams within the Christian community that are representative of the many brushstrokes of the New Testament. Nevertheless, I recognize that my perspective happens to be a perspective among many perspectives within the worldwide Christian community. Thus, in this part of the paper we turn to answer the question posed by my Muslim student Ayesha in the beginning of this paper: “What do you believe about Jesus?”

Jesus, Divinity & the Self-Disclosure of God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. [2]

Jesus as the ‘Word of God’

It is in the first eighteen verses of John’s Gospel that we come to encounter one of the “most elevated statements made about Jesus throughout the entire New Testament. It is only in the texts of Col. 1:15-20 and Heb. 1:1-13 that we come close to the writer in the New Testament approximating the profound view of God’s Son that is presented in John 1:1-18.”[3] Upon hearing the phrase, “In the beginning,” at the inception of John’s Gospel, the careful reader is brought to remember that John’s narrative appears to echo the opening phrase of the Hebrew Scriptures, “In the beginning God (Gen. 1:1).” Such a phrase that we find at the opening of John’s Gospel would not have been entirely uncommon to the Jewish people for “the first book of the Hebrew Bible was named “In the beginning” (from it’s opening words); therefore, the expression, “In the beginning,” would have been something widely known to the Jewish people.”[4] However, “whereas in Genesis the reference is to the beginning of creation, in this Gospel it is to the absolute beginning and sphere of God.”[5] Moreover, in making the statement “In the beginning was the Word,” John is not simply suggesting that the Word existed, rather the phrase “In the beginning” denotes a time encompassing all history and eternity. As Morris comments:

That there never was a time when the Word was not. There never was a thing that did not depend on him for its existence. The verb “was” is most naturally understood of the eternal existence of the Word: ‘the Word continually was.’ We should not press the tense unduly, but certainly the verb denotes neither a completed state nor coming into being. It is appropriate to eternal, unchanging being.[6]

Consequently, it is at the opening of John’s Gospel that we find the writer speaking “about a new beginning, a new creation.”[7] As Lincoln comments: “In Genesis it should be remembered, each stage of creation is portrayed as a consequence of God’s word. Here in v.3 the creation is also seen as coming into existence through the Word. In Genesis God’s word first creates light, and here the first eighteen verses of John’s Gospel, we find the writer describing the Word in relation to the world of humanity in terms of light (vv. 4, 5, 7-9). In addition, in both Genesis and the Fourth Gospel the themes of light and darkness appear in conflict to one another. In Genesis, God speaks and there is light where darkness had previously triumphed; God then splits the light from the darkness, and there is night and day.[8] Thus, while Genesis 1 describes the first creation by which everything is brought into being by the activity of God’s Word. John’s Gospel envisions a new creation that is being brought into fruition through the dynamic activity of the Word. However, in light of all that has been posited concerning the Word, we are left with another question: “What is the significance of God’s Word?”

The Significance of the Word/Wisdom Terminology

God’s Word

Often the strong belief that God speaks – which involves the word of Godself – is often taken for granted.[9]  What do I mean?  Fundamental to the “OT understanding of the word of God is a certain view of God. Israel’s God is a God who speaks. It is not only that God can speak, but that God has spoken. Indeed Israel testifies to a God who is in ongoing conversation with the world. This God had not only spoken in the past, with that word now on pledge, as it were. This God continues to speak in every new present. More the creation will be characterized by intimate divine-human conversation (Is. 58:9; 65:24).”[10] While the term ‘word’ is sometimes used for human speech (Ps. 19:14); more frequently, the term “word” denotes some type of announcement, proclamation, or commandment of God.[11] Thus, the term ‘word of God’ connotes both “a word about God and a word from God. It is a word about God, however, only because it is a word from God, that is, it is a word in and through which God discloses himself.”[12] More precisely, the “word” is not some mere dead “syllable” but the “word” in reference to God is the means through which God discloses Godself – “It refers to a medium of divine communication, a verbal encounter between God and individual(s) whereby the divine will becomes operative in the lives of those concerned.”[13]

In the Hebrew Scriptures God often communicates Godself through means of the Prophets (or inspired prophecy) or sometimes God’s revelation tends to take on an identity (or a life) in and of itself. For example, often in the Hebrew Scriptures we hear of God establishing his word (1 Kings 2:4); the Psalmist praises God’s word (Ps. 56:4-10), trusts (119:42), and hopes in God’s word (119.74, 81, 114); Isaiah speaks of the Lord sending a word against Jacob (Isa. 9:8) and affirms that “the word of God will stand for ever” (40:8); the writer of Isaiah believes that by the word of the Lord the heavens and its host were made (Ps. 33:6); the Psalmist again sees the word as an agent of healing (Ps. 107:20) one who runs swiftly making the wind to blow and the water to flow (Ps. 147:15-18); Isaiah once again talks about the word not returning to God empty and accomplishing its purpose (Isa. 55:10-11); and the Wisdom of Solomon in its description of the all-powerful word (Wisd. 18:14-16).[14]

 God’s Wisdom

Dynamically interrelated to the Word of God is the Wisdom of God.  Such a dynamic interrelation emerges in the writings of Philo, the Alexandrian Jewish Philosopher, where in many cases he speaks of the “Logos” (Greek for the ‘Word’) as though it were a real being distinct from God, acting as an intermediary between God and the world. Thus, the Logos is described as God’s chief messenger, highest in age and honor, which pleads with the immortal as suppliant for afflicted mortality and acts as ambassador of the ruler to the subject. The Logos is the ruler and steersperson of all. It is God’s firstborn son, who shall take upon him its government like some viceroy of a great king, who holds the eldership among the angels, their ruler as it were. The Logos can even be described as “the second God.” [15]

Nevertheless, it should be noted that while Philo describes the Logos (or Word) as a “second God”  such a statement arises from his commitment to platonic philosophy, namely, that within the material world we behold shadows and copies of the ideal or perfect forms in the heavenly world. Ultimately, according to Philo the “Logos is God coming to expression in creation and in prophetic word. The Logos is God in his self-manifestation in creation, in inspiration and in salvation. The Logos is what is knowable of God, God insofar as Godself may be apprehended and experienced. ‘That same word, by Godself made the universe is that by which Godself draws the perfect human from things earthly to Godself.’”[16] In light of all that has been said concerning the Logos (Word), it is important to note the intimate relationship that the concept of the Logos shared with the Jewish understanding of Wisdom.

In Greek philosophy – especially with Heraclitus (sixth century BCE) and the stoics (third century BCE and later) – the Logos is loaded with philosophical importance.[17] The Logos was the principle and pattern that provided the cosmos with its character and coherence – it was related with the human ability to reason, the organization of the cosmos and the power that upheld the cosmos. Thus, within the framework of Hellenistic Judaism Wisdom (the Logos) would have seemed to have been used synonymously in a nuanced manner. While Kostenberger in his commentary is a bit reserved in his assessment on Wisdom noting that the Logos “differs from personified wisdom in several respects, such as, the text lacks the use of the word Wisdom,” I find his assessments not entirely realistic. His particular view assumes to an extent that Jewish language was somehow untouched by Hellenization.[18] From my perspective, it would be more realistic to posit that Judaism was somehow (or in some way) influenced by Hellenism (the culture) – this would have influenced the way Jews read their Scriptures.

As has been demonstrated above, many of the statements concerning God’s Word/Wisdom as a distinct person would not have been uncommon to Jewish thinking. Thus, to hear of Jews speaking of God’s Word/Wisdom in personal terms is not surprising. For example, in Proverbs 1-9 Word/Wisdom is portrayed as an attractive and persuasive woman – particularly “Word/Wisdom claims to have been created at or as the beginning of creation, and to have been the companion of God in his creative acts, ‘like a master worker (or a little child)’ (8:22, 30).”[19] Even more, in the book of Sirach Word/Wisdom praises herself, is described a fashioner of all things (Sir. 24:1-5; 7:22-25).[20] Word/Wisdom terminology was richly apart of Jewish thought and it provided Jews with another way speaking about the God of Israel. In these instances where Word/Wisdom is worshipped, we find the people of Israel ‘taking up’ another way of speaking about God’s activity in creation and salvation – Wisdom/Word speech becomes another way of speaking about God’s ‘nearness’ without diminishing his transcendence.”[21]

Word/Wisdom Terminology & Jesus of Nazareth

The remarkability of John’s gospel does not arise from the association of the Word/Wisdom being God – as mentioned earlier, envisioning the Word/Wisdom as God was not uncommon for the Jew – but the radical statement has everything to do with what the Word/Wisdom has done in Jesus of Nazareth. Although Israel “was adventurous and liberal (liberating) in their poetic and metaphorical God-talk”– describing God’s Word/Wisdom in terms of personal characteristics – such a metaphorical God-talk became literal at the incarnation when the Word/Wisdom of God became manifested/incarnated into the person of Jesus.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.[22]

Thus, the remarkable statement in John Gospel is that the Word/Wisdom of God has manifested/incarnated itself in a historical person, namely, Jesus of Nazareth. Even more, it could be said that in coming to meet Jesus Christ we come to meet God in God’s self-disclosure. The Word/Wisdom of God – which is inseparable from God – underwent a literal personification in the very person of Jesus. Thus, Jesus as the embodiment of God’s Word/Wisdom is uniquely and inseparably apart of the being of Godself. In him we come to experience the one God in the self-disclosure of Godself.[23]  The writer (whoever it is) is not simply postulating that Jesus is a god. It should be noted that just because the Greek term “Word” has an article and the Greek term for “God” (theos) lacks the article does not mean that the term “God” should be rendered as “a god”. In this linking the noun “God,” is used in a generic or adjectival manner. It does not therefore mean that the Word is “a god” as over against “God” or that the word merely possesses some attributes of the “divine nature”.[24] As Beasley-Murray comments: “there is another Greek word (theios) for that type of divine reference, for instance in 2 Peter 1:4, where believers are said to participate in the “divine nature.”[25] Rather, in this astonishing statement the writer of John’s Gospel suggests powerfully that Jesus is God – notice how I am not saying God is Jesus. Suggesting that God is Jesus would suggest that Jesus exhausts all of God.

Should Christians Worship Jesus?

As mentioned all through this paper, in coming to meet Jesus we come to meet God in the self-disclosure (revelation) of Godself. However, a practical question arises from such a statement, namely, to whom should Christian worship be directed? God? Or Jesus as the revelation of Godself?  The New Testament identifies Jesus as God (or includes Jesus into the Divine Self) and it also differentiates Jesus from all that God is. In my perspective, the identification and differentiation of Jesus from all that God is impacts the Christian worship of God. What do I mean?  I postulate that while Jesus is included into the Godself, he does not exhaust Godself. More simply, Jesus is the ‘means’ and ‘ends’ by which Christians worship God in the fullness of Godself. Moreover, as Christians worship Jesus we are brought to worship God as Father, Son, and Spirit. In coming to Jesus we come to experience nothing other than God but God as he is revealed in Jesus. Thus from this vantage point, Jesus is a ‘ends’ to worship – because himself is included into the Divine Self –  but he is also the means through which Christians worship the community of Godself – the One God who Christians understand exists as an unity.

Here it must be stressed (as has been throughout the paper) in light of the critiques of both Muslims and Jews that Christianity is a monotheistic religion that professes faith in the One God who is the God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael and Jacob. Nevertheless, our understandings of the nature of this One God differs. What do I mean? For Christians, the oneness of God is not a mathematical unity, “only a little acquaintance with mathematics, from ancient times until the present, will be sufficient to remind us that the concept of the ‘number’ is more complex than at first seems likely, once we move from counting apples and oranges or pennies and cents.”[26] As Dunn comments:

Oneness is not necessarily an entity singular in all the elements that make it one, that form its oneness. Alternatively, a singular entity may be too big or complex (the cosmos) to be fully comprehended in its singularity. All that can be perceived are different aspects, aspects that do not easily cohere into one (in fundamental physics no one has yet been able to produce a unified field theory); but the inadequacies of human conceptualization do not constitute a denial of the singularity of the entity. So too, the oneness of God should not be assumed to be a narrowly defined mathematical unity. From earliest days in Israel’s conceptuality of the oneness of God there was also recognized diversity in the way God has been perceived of has made Godself known.[27]

When speaking about the One God, the Christian understands the Divine Self to be unity (or a community) of diverse equal persons. Thus, in talking about worshiping Jesus, Christians never envision Jesus as another ‘god’ – which would contradict monotheism – but in worshiping Jesus we profess that Jesus is both the ‘means’ by which we worship God in the fullness of the Godself and also the ‘ends’ to worship because he constitutes part of the Godself.

The Early Church & Christological Development: Was There a Process?

Is the high view of Jesus in the New Testament the result of Christological development on the part of the early church? Or is the high Christology found in the New Testament the earliest form of Christology? Perhaps I can propose a mediated position. What do I mean? I do not doubt that the high Christology of the New Testament is representative of the Christology in the early church, yet the high Christology already present in the early church underwent development – the early churches high Christology developed from an underdeveloped high Christology to a developed high Christology. Therefore, within the framework of a high Christological belief Christology underwent development. In my perspective, such an understanding of Christological development is the only result of doing Christology for learning how to speak about Christ implies a process of reflecting, thinking, and rethinking about how we come to understand Jesus – a process not dissimilar from the Christological task in the present. Taking an example from our present context, it would seem that most people in their faith journeys have a developing Christology in many ways, Christian ‘talk’ about Jesus is constantly changing (or in process) as we reflect within boundaries of the various brushstrokes in the New Testament. Thus, when we come to the New Testament not only do we encounter diversity but we also encounter a natural Christological development that is the result of constant theological reflection.

Unity in Diversity: Diverse Brushstrokes One Christological Portrait

Not unlike the brushstrokes of a painter, in encountering the New Testament writings  the readers of the New Testament come to experience very creative and unique brushstrokes that come together to create a beautiful portrait of Jesus. Thus, while each brushstroke is significantly unique engendering purposeful innovation that is rooted in purposeful reflection, these distinctive brushstrokes come together to produce a compelling and unified magnum opus whose primary subject is Jesus of Nazareth. More simply, while each brushstroke uniquely prompts a great deal of innovation and creativity, these creative and innovative brushstrokes are interconnected to the previous brushstrokes produced by other innovative and creative agents. Thus, inherent within the brushstrokes emerges an inner reciprocity (or give and take) that functions to provide diversity and unity to the portrait of Jesus. As the New Testament Frank J. Matera comments:

Several writings of the New Testament do not present Jesus’ relationship to God in the same way, even though most of them identify him as the Son of God. For example, if we only possessed the Synoptic Gospels, it would be difficult to argue that Jesus is the preexistent Son of God. But if we only possessed the Fourth Gospel, we might seriously question Jesus’ humanity. Or, if we only possessed the Pauline writings, we would hardly appreciate the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. The genius of the New Testament canon is its ability to hold the diversity and unity of the New Testament in a creative tension that requires each generation to correct deepen its understanding of Christ.[28]

Thus, in my perspective, it would seem that the different brushstrokes in the New Testament practically provide Christians with different avenues – or diverse ways of communicating Jesus’ uniqueness. However, these brushstrokes simultaneously set boundaries upon how we choose to speak about Jesus among ourselves and with others. More simply, while I may profoundly come to enjoy seeing Jesus as God’s Wisdom my enjoyment of that concept will forever be checked by the brushstrokes of other writers in the New Testament. Thus, in choosing one brushstroke I am simultaneously being given boundaries and freedoms into what I can say about Jesus. More simply, the different brushstrokes come together to engender creativity, freedom and boundaries concerning how we go about talking about Jesus. Lastly, affirming the diversity of each brushstroke propels Christians to examine, reexamine and appreciate each New Testament writing on its own terms while understanding the impact of this particular brushstroke against the entire overall Christological portrait of the New Testament.

Christological Ethic for the Christian Life:

The incarnation of the Godself into the person of Jesus raises a powerful ethic for the Christian life, for it is by way of the incarnation that we powerfully learn how to be human. As Saint Athanasius writes,

“The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering human beings. For one who wanted to make a display the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to heal and to teach the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according as they could bear it, not vitiating the value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it.”[29]

In the incarnation Christians encounter the God human taking upon the plight of humankind. In, the incarnation, “God became man that dehumanized human beings might become truly human.”[30] Thus, we become truly human in the community of the incarnate, the suffering and loving, the human God.”[31] As Bonhoeffer writes,

And in the Incarnation the whole human race recovers the dignity of the image of God. Henceforth, any attack even on the least of men is an attack on Christ, who took the form of man, and in his own Person restored the image of God in all that bears a human form. Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord, we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race. By being partakers of Christ incarnate, we are partakers in the whole humanity which he bore. We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others. The incarnate Lord makes his followers the brothers of all mankind.[32]

Thus, fundamental to the Christian life is ‘incarnational living’ and ‘cross-bearing’. The Christian life is a life that is always disposed to the well-being and care of one’s neighbor. The Christian life is not defined by the accumulation of power but the constant redistribution of power – power that is used to empower. This is what St. Paul meant when he said,

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was[a] in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.[33]

Unlike what society tells, “To pursue individual happiness, pleasure, desire at all cost” in the incarnation – as well as the entire life of the God man – we learn from Godself that true happiness, pleasure and eventual exaltation comes by way of living in self-giving relationships with others.

Answering Ayesha’s Compelling Question

As I stood there with Ayesha’s inquisitive eyes gazing into my face, I simply responded, “I believe that Jesus is the beloved of God, that is, I believe that Jesus has a unique, intimate, life-giving relationship with God that no human being has ever shared with God before.” Ayesha thought for a couple seconds with a serious look on her face and she asked another question, “So… you believe like me that Jesus was a great prophet?” in that moment I smiled as I sought to answer Ayesha’s question and I said, “Yes, he was a prophet but at the same time so much more than a prophet.” She thought to herself once more and said, “Professor Howard, what do you mean by saying that Jesus ‘was a prophet but at the same time more than prophet’ and as I paused for a brief moment, I responded, “As a Christian I affirm along with you that Jesus was a prophet in one sense but in another sense he was more than a prophet. As I experience Jesus (as Christian), I come to experience the presence God. In my experience of Jesus (as a Christian) I come to know someone who is more than a prophet or angel but the very transcendent God of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael who has come near in the revelation of Godself in the person of Jesus. Consequently, Jesus (for us both) is a point of commonality and difference. Whereas you believe that he is just a prophet, I (as a Christian) affirm that he is a prophet and so much more, namely, that he is God in the revelation of Godself. While, the person of Jesus does not consume all that God is – for he is the revelation of God – he is representative of the closest that one can get to understand the totality of God. For me (as a Christian), Jesus is what is knowable about God in as much as he may be captured and experienced by human beings.[34]” So as I ended my response, the intelligent Ayesha responded and said, “So our beliefs about Jesus are different but only to a degree?” and with a smile I answered, “Correct!”

The question posed by Ayesha is profoundly important for Christians, Jews and Muslims. The question posed by Ayesha is profoundly important because it highlights the commonalities that the Christian faith has with Jews and Muslims along with the differences – particularly when it comes to understanding the person of Jesus. In speaking about Jesus, Christianity has gone to another degree in determining that God has connected the bridge not simply in “scripture and temple, not only through priest and prophet, but in a particular individual through who God revealed Godself and who constitutes the bridge into Godself.” That belief remains a belief far too radical for Jews and Muslims.[35] “Christians make the claim that the character of God has never been revealed so profoundly in Jesus – in his mission, in his cruel death on the cross, in his resurrection and exaltation.”[36] Consequently, the notion of how the gulf is bridged has proven to be controversial for other religions to embrace. But it is the contribution that Christianity proposes to the “resolution of existential angst and conundrum that lie at the root of all religions.”[37]

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe that Jesus is one who possess a unique, intimate, life-giving relationship with God – he is the beloved of God. However, to speak about Jesus solely as God’s beloved is not adequate for not only is he the beloved of God but he is God, that is, God in the self-disclosure of Godself. As the writer of Hebrews so beautifully puts it:  “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”[38]

[1] Attridge, Harold W., Wayne A. Meeks, Jouette M. Bassler, Werner E. Lemke, Susan Niditch, and Eileen M. Schuller. The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books with Concordance. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006. See Matt. 16:13-17

[2] Ibid. Jn 1:1-2

[3] Gerald L. Borchert, John 1-11 ([Nashville]: Broadman & Holman, 1996). 2489 (Kindle Edition)

[4] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John; the English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971). 1800 (Kindle Edition)

[5] Andrew T. Lincoln, The Gospel According to Saint John ([Peabody, Mass.]; London; New York: Hendrickson Publishers ; Continuum, 2005). John 1:1-5 (Logos Edition)

[6] Morris. 1817 (Kindle Edition)

[7] Ibid. 1800 (Kindle Edition)

[8] Lincoln. Jn 1:1-5 (Logos Edition)

[9] James D. G. Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? : The New Testament Evidence (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010). 1826 (Kindle Edition)

[10] David Noel Herion Gary A. Graf David Frank Pleins J. David Logos Research Systems Inc Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary on Cd-Rom (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems], 2008). See Word of God

[11] Mark Allan Bandstra Barry L. HarperCollins Powell, The Harpercollins Bible Dictionary (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2011). 48917 (Kindle Edition)

[12] Freedman. See Word of God (Logos Edition)

[13] Ibid. See Word of God (Logos Edition)

[14] Dunn. 1826-1865 (Kindle Edition)

[15] Ibid. 1865 (Kindle Edition)

[16] Ibid. 1904 (Kindle Edition)

[17] Powell. 25091 (Kindle Edition)

[18] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2004). 969 (Kindle Edition)

[19] Dunn. 74 (Kindle Edition)

[20] Ibid. 75 (Kindle Edition)

[21] Ibid. 78 (Kindle Edition)

[22]  Attridge Jn. 1:14-18

[23] Dunn. 82-84 (Kindle Edition)

[24] Ibid. 2552 (Kindle Edition)

[25] George Raymond Beasley-Murray, World Biblical Commentary Orge R. Beasley-Murray. 36, 36 (Waco: Word Books, 1987).

[26] Dunn. 3469 (Kindle Edition)

[27] Ibid. 3469 (Kindle Edition)

[28] Frank J. Matera, New Testament Christology (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999). 255 (Kindle Edition)

[29] Athanasius, and Archibald Robertson. St. Athanasius on The incarnation. London: D. Nutt, 1891.

[30] Moltmann, Jürgen. The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ As the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. New York: Macmillan, 1959.

[33] Attridge. Phil. 2:1-13

[34] Dunn. 82 (Kindle Edition)

[35] Ibid. 3469-3485

[36] Ibid. 3469-3485

[37] Ibid. 3469-3485

[38] Attridge. Heb.1:3-4

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