Basic Christian Training
Lesson 2
A Survey of Christology

O.J. Gibson

He walked among men, and He was the greatest Person who ever lived. His spotless character, unflawed from any standpoint, brought tribute even from His enemies. His life was unique. Imperfect man could not have invented Him, and no skeptic can reasonably explain Him. More has been written about Him than any other one in history, yet He never wrote a book on earth.

“Centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race…All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that One Solitary Life” – James Allan Francis (partial quote of the poem, One Solitary Life).

No one has had a more significant impact on history than Jesus Christ. His life divides history into periods called B.C. and A.D. (before Christ and Anno Domini, the year of our Lord). Yet, He took no part in politics and commanded no earthly army. Jesus became the most controversial man in history, bitterly opposed, mindlessly persecuted, and violently slain. Yet He preached nonviolence and forbade His disciples from retaliation, vengeance, or the sword. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” otherwise “My servants would fight” (John 18:36). His chief credential was His moral supremacy.

It is impossible to survey all that He was, and is, and has done, for it stretches from an eternity past, through His earthly life, to infinity. Let us look carefully and thoroughly at who Jesus Christ is that we may know Him and love Him. Consider the following:

1. His Names

  • Jesus – His name Jesus, means God [Jehovah] saves, “For He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
  • Savior – He is the divine Savior (Titus 2:13; cf. Isaiah 43:11).
  • Christ the Lord – He was born “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Christ is a title meaning the Messiah, the Anointed One. He is the promised Deliverer (John 4:25-26; Romans 11:26-27).
  • Son of Man – He often referred to Himself as the Son of Man (Luke 19:10). He became a man to suffer the death of all humankind (Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:9).
  • Son of God – He was “declared to be the Son of God” (Romans 1:4), which His enemies understood as a declaration of deity (Luke 22:70; John 10:33, 36; 19:6-7).
  • The Word – “The Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).
  • The Lamb of God – He was the once-for-all perfect lamb who “takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
  • “I Am” – In Exodus 3:14, God reveals Himself by His name, Jehovah (Yahweh), the great I AM. He is self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, and sovereign. Jesus plainly stated that people must believe that He is the great I AM (John 8:24). The “I AM” declarations Jesus spoke combine Jehovah’s name with a grand statement that only God can fulfill. For example,
    • “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51).
    • “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
    • “I am the door” (John 10:7, 9).
    • “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14).
    • “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
    • “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
    • “I am the true vine” (John 15:1, 5).
  • “The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13).
  • King of kings and Lord of lords – this speaks of His supremacy (Revelation 19:16).

2. His Eternal Past

3. His Old Testament Appearances
It may surprise you that the Lord Jesus did not first appear in the New Testament. His physical presence was known in the Old Testament in theophanies. A theophany is the visible appearance of God, often described as “the Angel of the LORD.” The actions and messages of the Angel or Messenger of the Lord are clearly that of God and not a created being (Genesis 22:11-18; 32:1-30, cf. Hosea 12:4-5; Exodus 3:2-6. See also Mark 12:26; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 6:11-12; 13:18-22; Daniel 3:24-25).

4. His Fulfillment of Prophecies
To the men on the road to Emmaus, the Lord taught that all Old Testament Scriptures foretold His coming and referred to Him (Luke 24:27, 44). He was the theme and fulfillment of Scripture. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, including His place of birth (Micah 5:2), the manner of conception (Isaiah 7:14), his ministry (Luke 4:17-21), and His substitutionary death (Isaiah 53). He fulfilled Old Testament promises, being a prophet greater than Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18-19), a priest who would minister forever (1 Samuel 2:35), and a king greater than David, whose throne would endure forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13).

5. His Fulfillment of Types
A type illustrates in the New Testament a spiritual truth found in the Old Testament, especially of the Messiah. We see Christ in the types. He fulfilled the promises portrayed in the sacrifices and feasts, such as the Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7). The brazen serpent in Numbers 21 pictures Christ on the cross as the object of regenerating faith (John 3:14-16). The rock that Moses struck symbolized the crucified Savior (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8-12; 1 Corinthians 10:4). Melchizedek pictures Christ as the Great High Priest (Genesis 14; Hebrews 5-7).

6. His Coming as Man
“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The incarnation means that “God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) when Jesus was born as a baby to Mary (Luke 2:11-12, 16). When God took upon Himself humanity, He marvelously joined both divine and human natures in a single person. Divine attributes were veiled but not surrendered. He was fully human, yet He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is both God and man (Romans 1:3-4; 9:5; Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 2:14).

The four Gospel accounts do not always match in emphasis or sequence of events since they approach the subject differently. The Lord Jesus is presented in Matthew as King of Israel, in Mark as the Perfect Servant, in Luke as the Son of Man (emphasizing His humanity), and in John as Son of God (emphasizing His deity). He was miraculously conceived in the womb of a virgin by the Spirit of God (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:34-35). The Child grew in every typical way (Luke 2:52). We have only one incident of His childhood recorded (Luke 2:42-51). He spent His first 30 years in Nazareth, Israel, except for His birth in Bethlehem and a brief stay in Egypt during His infancy.

7. His Public Inauguration
The Messiah was to be heralded by one who went before Him to prepare the people morally and spiritually for His coming (Isaiah 40:1-5). John the Baptist fulfilled that prophecy (Matthew 3; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3:2-18; John 1:19-36). His ministry called individuals to repent or perish (Luke 13:3). The Lord Jesus began His public ministry by accepting baptism from John, although the prophet said, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14-16). The Lord did this only to “fulfill all righteousness.” Of all people, Jesus needed no repentance. Upon His baptism, the Spirit of God visibly anointed Him for ministry, and the Father praised His Son, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). The “years of obscurity” were over. He called twelve disciples to be with Him and began a dramatic itinerant ministry of about three years. The Lord Jesus ministered in Galilee, Judea, and beyond the Jordan river, never leaving Israel.

8. His Temptation and Transfiguration
At the beginning of His ministry, Satan tempted Him during an intense 40-day period of fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Satan focused the temptation to sin on three areas. First, he appeals to hunger, next to spiritual pride, and finally to tempt God by presumptuous action. His successful resistance to temptation was evidence of His sinless character. Satan hoped that Jesus would sin, but Jesus proved that He could not sin.

Three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration saw a spectacular manifestation of Jesus’ divine glory (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36). Before this event, Jesus had veiled His glory in human flesh, but on this one occasion, “He was transfigured before [the three disciples]. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). The radiance of His glory was a visible manifestation of the deity of Christ. Once again, the disciples heard God the Father proclaiming delight in His beloved Son. Both the temptation and transfiguration displayed the absolute uniqueness of Jesus.

9. His Miracles and Teaching
The Apostle Peter said, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22). God publicly endorsed the Lord Jesus Christ, who did many mighty works. Jesus pointed to these works as sufficient grounds for belief in Him (John 14:11; cf. Luke 4:18-21; 7:22). Some miracles can be counterfeited, such as what the magicians did in Egypt (Exodus 7:8-12, 19-22; 8:1-7), but even they had to admit that their tricks were no match to “the finger of God” (Exodus 8:16-19). Genuine miracles are occurrences totally beyond any known natural laws. Nicodemus believed Jesus’ miracles proved He came from God (John 3:2). His miracles were varied. He instantly healed a wide range of afflictions and handicaps, including the blind, lame, deaf, paralyzed, crippled, and leprous. He demonstrated power over nature by walking on water and calming tempestuous storms. He displayed His creative power by feeding 5,000 (men, plus women and children), and feeding 4,000 (men, plus women and children), and turning water into wine (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39; John 2:1-11). He commanded evil spirits to leave the bodies of their victims (Mark 5:8-13). He raised the dead, including the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56), and Lazarus, who had been dead for four days (John 11:1-44). His miracles manifested His deity and fulfilled prophetic Scriptures (John 5:36-37). He did not perform miracles to draw crowds or to impress the curious. He often asked the ones whom He cured not to tell anyone. His miraculous interventions also displayed His personal compassion for the suffering individuals, for “the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).

The frequent use of parables marked His teaching method. Parables are brief stories of men or natural events which illustrate more profound spiritual truths. His famous Sermon on the Mount has no equal anywhere (Matthew 5 – 7), and it astonished His hearers (Matthew 7:28-29). His powerful discourses, especially those in John’s Gospel, are beyond anything that ever came from man, especially those which include the “I Am” statements. He taught His disciples, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). To truly follow the Lord may mean that you are misunderstood or even rejected by family members. Such division tests a person’s faith but is common in a society that is tolerant of everything but the truth (Luke 12:51-53).

10. His Opposition
Jesus expresses all that is good and righteous. But good is opposed by evil. The Bible shows that a fallen spiritual being headed the resistance against Jesus, “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan” (Revelation 12:9). Satanic opposition sought to kill the infant Jesus, resisted Him throughout His ministry, and finally led the plot to crucify Him (Luke 22:2-4). Satan used a wide variety of wicked people to oppose Christ, from kings and rulers to religious leaders.

11. His Death, Resurrection, Ascension
When reading the four Gospels, one should notice that more verses are devoted to the sufferings and death of Christ than any other event. The four Gospels move quickly through the three years of Jesus’ public ministry but slow significantly during His final week of life. The pace slows more, detailing the last day and hours as we read of the sufferings and death of Christ on the cross. By God’s design, the central theme of the Bible is the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the death of Christ, there can be no forgiveness, salvation, and new life. Without His death and resurrection, there is no hope of a relationship with God, heaven, or eternal life – which is at the heart of the Gospel proclamation. His sacrifice was the prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and other Scriptures. The Lord Jesus foretold His death many times to His non-comprehending disciples (Matthew 16:21; 17:9-12, 22-23; 20:18-19). His enemies heard his bold prediction that He would rise again, causing them to request a Roman guard to secure His tomb (Matthew 27:63-66). Christ later rebuked some disciples for being “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25-27).

He instituted a memorial supper on the final night before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20) that we might forever remember His sacrifice on the cross for us. The betrayal by Judas fulfilled Scripture, even to the price paid (Zechariah 11:12-13). Jesus’ final prayers and agony in a garden, the plotting of enemies, the flight of His disciples, and the mockery of His trial complete His last hours.

The Roman governor could find no fault in Him, but yielding to public pressure, condemned Him to carry His cross to the hill called Calvary or Golgotha. The details of His sufferings and “seven last sayings” are given in moving descriptions. The final cry, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), was a triumphant cry celebrating the completion of His saving work for sinners. In a mysterious way, the wickedness of men, putting Him to death, was used for the eternal purpose of God to save those who would believe. Yet, amazingly His sufferings were substitutionary, and He fulfilled Scripture as the one afflicted by God (Isaiah 53:4). His death in the company of two thieves and burial in a rich man’s tomb also fulfilled prophecy (Isaiah 53:9). The Roman guard, the sealed tomb, and the great stone covering the opening did not prevent Him from rising on the third day, just as He predicted (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20). He appeared to over five hundred disciples over a period of 40 days before being received up into heaven before their eyes (Acts 1:3-9; 1 Corinthians 15:6). His pierced hands offered proof of His resurrection to “doubting Thomas” and left no doubt (John 20:25-28). “The Lord is risen indeed” (Luke 24:34).

12. His Second Coming and the Future Kingdom
The Lord often spoke of His Second Coming. Jesus said, “If I go…I will come again” (John 14:3). The disciples asked, “What will be the sign of Your coming?” (Matthew 24:3).

a. The predictions of Messiah’s coming fit into two events:

  • His First Coming – His rejection, suffering, and death
  • His Second Coming – His reign of peace and the judgment of His enemies

Sometimes, these separate events seem to merge as one event (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-21), which often puzzled the prophets who wrote about these events (1 Peter 1:10-12). From the prophets’ vantage point, they saw the two comings of Christ as one event. We have the advantage of living between the two events. We look back and see the fulfillment of Christ’s First Coming, and we look forward to the Second Coming. Since Christ’s First Coming fulfilled all Scriptures referring to the suffering Messiah, we can be confident that Christ’s Second Coming will fulfill all Scriptures referring to His rightful reign with the same detail. He is coming again to establish His earthly reign of peace and righteousness (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:18-25).

b. The events of the Second Coming are as follows:

  • The Rapture – Christ comes again to the air (not to the earth). Living and dead believers are caught up into the heavens, meeting Christ “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
  • The Tribulation – There will be a seven-year period called the Tribulation (also, the Great Tribulation), during which time God’s judgment will be poured out upon the earth (Revelation 7:14). During this time, believers are in heaven with the Lord.
  • The Revelation – Following the Tribulation, Christ returns with the believers in glory and judgment, a period commonly called “the Revelation” (Revelation 19:11-16).
  • The Millennial Reign – When Christ returns to the earth, He will establish a thousand-year reign on the earth (Revelation 20:4-6).

The terms the kingdom of God, kingdom of Christ, and kingdom of the Son are used interchangeably, but they have sometimes puzzled believers. Jesus was born King, from the kingly line of David. Wise men sought Him and asked, “Where is He who has been born King?” For they had come to worship Him (Matthew 2:2). Throughout His ministry, Jesus proclaimed that He was the promised King. He fulfilled the role of the lowly King as He rode into Jerusalem “sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 2:1-5). The kingdom had come because the King – the Lord Jesus Christ – was present in their midst when He was on earth (Luke 17:20-21 NASB; cf. Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20 NIV). His kingdom represents His rule as King over His people. All true believers acknowledge His benevolent sovereignty over them and are citizens of the “kingdom of the Son” (Colossians 1:13). There is still a future fulfillment of prophecies, and we look for His coming reign on the earth (Acts 1:6; Revelation 11:15). Following the Millennial Kingdom with Christ reigning over all the earth, He will create new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1). “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14), and every knee will bow to Him (Isaiah 45:22-25; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11).

At present, He is the center of heaven’s worship (Revelation 5:8-14). Soon, He will begin to judge the sin of the world. “The Father…has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22), and He will judge those who have not believed the gospel for their sins at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).


There is no escape from the Great White Throne judgment and no second chance to avoid it for those who die in unbelief. Believers will not face that judgment, but they will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where Jesus Christ will evaluate their life and service for Him (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgment has to do with rewards or lack of rewards, not eternal retribution. Skeptics often question the basis of the truths we have considered. They say that we cannot be sure that Christ is historical. Yet the Jewish historian Josephus and such Roman writers as Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny wrote of Him within the first 100 years of His earthly life.

Some critics challenge the reliability of the New Testament documents as genuine copies of the originals, yet New Testament manuscripts are more numerous than any other ancient work of literature. Thousands of manuscripts, not to mention fragments, are available—some within a few years of the originals (i.e., the fragment of John’s Gospel now in the library at Manchester, England). By contrast, an interval of 1000 years exists between the original composition and our oldest copy of all significant Greek and Roman writers. Moreover, there are only a handful of old copies of these well-accepted historical and literary works. No one seriously questions the authenticity of the copies of these works. No one has examined any other work so critically, intensively, and endlessly as the New Testament. And no other work has ever been so thoroughly confirmed in many details by historical investigation and archaeology. Our most significant reason for confidence, however, remains in the word of God itself. The fulfillment of prophecy repeatedly confirms the written word. The living Word, our Lord Jesus, compels us to faith in the magnificence of His person. Beyond Him, there is no place to go (John 6:67-68). He is the heart of genuine Christian belief.

You have learned about the Lord Jesus Christ, but do you now know Him as your personal Savior and Lord? He desires that you may know Him. And you can if you repent of your sins and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior, for He promises that He will forgive your sins and give you eternal life.

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:11-13).

Basic Christian Training – Lesson 2
A Survey Of Christology

  1. How do the names/titles of Jesus Christ in the following verses express His position, character, and work?
    1. Matthew 1:21
    2. John 1:1, 14
    3. John 1:29
    4. John 10:36
    5. John 14:6
    6. Luke 2:11
    7. Luke 19:10
    8. Revelation 19:16
    9. Revelation 22:13
  2. Which is your favorite name/title? Why?
  3. Paraphrase (write in your own words) Colossians 1:16-17
  4. How long has Jesus Christ existed (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:3,10)?
  5. If someone told you that Christ was the first creation of His Father, what would you say?
  6. Read Hebrews 1. Explain how the following verses indicate that Jesus is God.
    1. Verses 2, 3, 10
    2. Verse 6 (compare with Luke 4:8)
    3. Verse 8
    4. Verses 11-12
  7. What are some attributes of deity ascribed to Jesus in the following verses?
    1. Matthew 28:18, 20
    2. Mark 2:5-7
    3. John 1:1; 17:5
    4. John 5:22, 27
    5. John 6:64
    6. Hebrews 13:8
  8. What offices were predicted for Christ (Deuteronomy 18:18-19; 1 Samuel 2:35; 2 Samuel 7:12-13)?
  9. Since Jesus was fully human, in what ways would you expect Him to be like you are?
    1. Matthew 4:2
    2. Mark 4:38
    3. Luke 2:52
    4. John 4:6
  10. How was Jesus Christ different from other men?
    1. Matthew 1:23
    2. Luke 7:22
    3. John 7:46
    4. John 8:46
  11. What was Christ’s purpose in coming to the earth, and how did He fulfill Scripture in doing it (Mark 10:45b; Isaiah 53)?
  12. When was the death of Christ planned (1 Peter 1:19-20)? Who was ultimately responsible for Christ’s death (Acts 2:23)?
  13. What would have been the result if Christ had not risen from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:14-19)?
  14. Write a brief paragraph explaining, in your opinion, the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection concerning your own salvation.
  15. What hope is available for Christians (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 19:6-9)?
  16. What position will Christ have over those who reject Him (John 5:22-23; Revelation 20:11-15)?