Bird’s eye view of Paul (9) stories within a story : Jesus

We’re continuing Bird watching via A Bird’s Eye View of Paul: the man, his mission and his message by Michael Bird by looking at ‘stories behind the story’ – the background themes of Paul’s thought.

Next is Jesus

It seems obvious, but it’s worth reiterating how Jesus-centred (Christocentric) Paul’s theology is. The gospel that he received is from Jesus (Gal1-2) and is all about Jesus.  And Bird has already said quite a bit about Jesus in the previous themes, so is justifiably brief here.

Incarnation : – the pre-existent Son is ‘sent’ (Gal 4:4; Rom 8:3) and willingly endures humiliation, suffering, death and exaltation (2 Cor 8:9; Phil 2:5-11).

Obedience and faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah, fulfilling his calling in harmony with the Father.

Awareness of Jesus’ life and teaching : while not often explicit, Paul’s theology of Jesus is profoundly historical, rooted in what Jesus said and did. There is no gap between the Christ of history and the Christ of faith – Paul would have found such an idea inconceivable (2 Cor 11:4).

Understanding of the significance and purpose of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension and reign as exalted Lord : Jesus’ unique identity is linked intimately with his unique mission. Death and crucifixion are reinterpreted positively in light of the resurrection radically to transform previous expectations of Messiah.

The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is astonishing, surprising, counter-intitutive, mysterious and paradigm-shifting. What does that say about God I wonder …

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