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Consciousness of Christ
CONSCIOUSNESS OF CHRIST. The term is used to describe how Christ in His life on earth thought of His own person and vocation.
The Sources of Knowledge
Can one obtain any dependable knowledge of Christ’s self-consciousness? There are those who would say that this is concealed in the mystery of Jesus’ relationship with the Father. But conscious being may be known through its expression in behavior. The record of the gospels is that of a real man, who by the whole course of His words and deeds revealed at least something of how He thought of Himself. An attempt to discover this from the record is both legitimate and essential to any valid understanding of the.
Others question whether one can recapture Jesus’ words and deeds with sufficient accuracy for this task. We do not know for certain the ipsissima verba of the Lord. Variations between parallel accounts show that the evangelists can only be said to give us the gist of what Jesus said, prob. in original Aram. But even the accuracy of their record as to essential meaning is questioned by the form critics, who regard the record as expressing the faith of the Early Church rather than the actual events that occurred or words that were spoken. There is little doubt that the material was seen in relation to the life of the Church when the evangelists wrote; but it is fallacious to argue therefore that the words and deeds recorded do not give us an accurate picture of the historic Jesus. The impression of that life was indelibly etched on the memory of his young disciples; thirty or even fifty years would not erase it. Perhaps one cannot recapture the exact words of the Master, but the words may be trusted to give a true picture of His personality, and in particular of the way He thought of Himself.
Information from the
His words and deeds.
That He was conscious of a divine authority resting upon Him may be seen in His ethical teaching, as in the repeated phrase, “You have heard that it was said...but I say to you...” (
The titles applied to Christ
by Himself, or accepted when used by others, indicate much as to His consciousness of His own person and mission:
It is evident that people called Jesus Κύριος, Lord, and that in His view such use demanded implicit obedience (
Servant of God
Jesus rarely used the title “Christ” of Himself (
The other occasion was when the high priest asked “Are you the Christ?” (
Son of David.
Jesus never used this Messianic title directly of Himself, but the title was proffered to Him by blind Bartimaeus (
Son of man.
This was the title Jesus constantly applied to Himself. Its significance is not merely “man” (as in
Information from the Fourth Gospel
John’s gospel was written with a specific Christological purpose, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (20:31). For this reason, and on account of its late origin, many will not accept the words of Jesus recorded in it as authentic; certainly the portrait of Jesus therein is in many ways different from that in the synoptics, and it is prob. true that the author desires to give the inner significance of Jesus’ words rather than an exact verbal recollection. But allowing for that, in general John makes explicit and public only what is already implicit and private in His self-consciousness as shown by the synoptics.
H. P. Liddon, The Divinity of our Lord and Saviour(1885); A. M. Fairbairn, The Place of Christ in Modern Theology (1898), 334-372; P. C. Simpson, The Fact of Christ (1900); C. F. D’Arcy, “Consciousness,” HDCG (1906); A. E. Garvie, Studies in the Inner Life of Jesus (1908); P. T. Forsyth, The Person and Place of Jesus Christ (1910), 35-133; H. R. Mackintosh, The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ (1913), 5-35; A. E. J. Rawlinson, The NT Doctrine of the Christ (1929), 238-264; R. Bultmann, Theology of the NT, I (1952), 26-32; G. Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus (1954); L. Morris, The Lord from Heaven (1958), 26-43; O. Cullmann, The Christology of the NT (1959); W. Barclay, The Mind of Jesus (1960), 139-157; R. H. Fuller, The Foundations of NT Christology (1965), 102-141; E. G. Jay, , Son of God (1965), 19-51.