On Jesus Christ as Jesus THE Christ

On Jesus Christ as Jesus THE Christ July 11, 2021

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother” (Col 1:1).

How should we read “Christ Jesus”? While the Greek word Christos may function as a proper name, I do not think it has lost all of its titular or honorific significance (see Matthew Novenson on the “honorific” side). In certain places Christos is clearly intended as a Greek translation for the Hebrew masiah and the Aramaic mesiha from which we get “Messiah.” Indeed, Christ Jesus/Jesus Christ arguably evokes a titular sense of “Jesus the Messiah” and perhaps even an implied confession of “Jesus is the Messiah” as well. Such a title or confession conjures up an implied narrative about the life, death, and exaltation of Jesus. In other words, Messiah Jesus or Jesus Messiah is essentially an encoded reference to the status and story of Jesus of Nazareth as the King of Israel and exalted Lord of the world.

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