Wednesday, January 08, 2020

So what does it prove?

First the christological hymns as a whole portray Christ as the exalted Lord who is the ultimate victor over all powers. This victor motif was important to vindicate Christ in light of his shameful death on the cross. It was also important in drawing out the implications of Christ’s present status for the daily practical realities of his followers. Christ’s exalted status offered hope to believers in the midst of the Roman World in which Christ was not yet obviously reigning as Lord.

Second, as a result of this exalted status above all powers, Christ is understood to be worthy of worship alongside God. This participation in receiving worship was implicit in some hymns but explicit in others. These two themes cohere with Ralph Martin’s summary statement: “If there is one motif that pervades the New Testament hymns, it is this ringing assurance that Christ is victor over all man’s enemies, and is rightly worshipped as the Image of the God who is over all.” Bauckham expresses something similar when he writes, “The earliest hymns celebrated the saving death and heavenly exaltation of Jesus as the one who now shares the divine throne and, as God’s plenipotentiary, receives the homage of all creation.” The exalted status of Jesus is closely connected with the idea that he is worthy of divine worship.—Matthew Gordley, New Testament Christological Hymns, p. 225

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