Images of Jesus- New Moses, Adam and Suffering Servant

Not sure if these are in enough detail for the exam board, but it's all I was given by the teacher in the form of photocopied academic books. 

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  • Created by: Al
  • Created on: 02-06-13 10:17

Jesus as 'New/Second Adam',

Pauline idea, from 1 Corinthians. Referred to Jesus as the 'Second Adam' and the 'Last Adam', as he restored humankind to its original relationship with God, which had been lost through Adam's original sin (Genesis). Paul sees this as part of God's divine plan to save humanity- following Jesus's sacrificial/atoning/vicarious death by crucifixion, all Christians are equal in the eyes of God, regardless of former distinctions such as race, religion, culture, and class, and it stops the ngoing chain of Original Sin being passed on through generations like a physical defect. 

Contrasts/comparisons between Jesus and Adam:

- Adam: desires to be as God/grasped at equality with God, so is quick to believe serpent's lies in Eden, and so is unfit to live in Eden. Jesus: empties himself of divinity by becoming man and dying. 

- Because of Adam, sin and death entered into the world (which became manifested in guilt and shame); because of Jesus, righteousness and life entered the world, to counteract Adam's Original Sin.

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Jesus as 'New Moses'

OT writers see Moses as the unique law giver to Israel, and the founder of the OT religion- the authority of his law was expressed in the commissioned agent of God. Christ fulfils OT law , and brings out the true meaning as a true servant, and gives testimony. Moses delivered the old Israel, Christ the new. NT writers seem to have put in links to Moses, especially in Gospel accounts.


- Both became poor for sake of humanity
- Both helpless/innocent children- Jesus in manger, Moses in bulrushes
- Cleansing water- Jesus's baptism, Moses and Red Sea
- Deliverance of God's people- Moses with Passover (meal prefigures Eucharist), Jesus's crucifixion and atoning death for freedom, redemption and salvation
- God established a human agent to do his work on earth
- Their work is once and for all
-  A people were created under their leadership- Israelites and Christians
-  Law giver- Moses- 10 Commandments, Jesus- love ('a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you')
-  Eating/feeding miracles- Manna- bread given from heaven, Feeding Of The Five Thousand- 5 loaves, 2 fishes

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Jesus as 'Suffering Servant'

OT- Isiah 53, a prophecy in the form of poetry- has 4 verses about an anonymous servant who sufferen for others, offering himself as a sacrifice. Shows the triumph of a loyal, faithful and obedient servant in a world which ignores God. 

Jewish philosophers interpret the servant as being the nation of Israel. Christian theologians see servant as Jesus, prophesising his coming centuries before his birth. NB parallels with the crucifixion- both are expiatory (taking away guilt/sin), vicarious (on behalf of others) sacrifices. Jesus= guiltless, servant not to blame for problems as he was faithful. Mark makes explicit reference- but not noted elsewhere in the Gospels. 

Other allusions: 
- Scapegoat: OT practice of transferring sin of Priests onto a Bull, and then hands of Priests laid on goat to confess sins of people. Goat then driven out into the wilderness to die. 
- Passover Lamb: freeing people from sin and death, bringing salvation- stopping Jews from dying when Angel of Death passes over. In John's Gospel, Christ dies when the sacrificial passover lamb is killed.  

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Relevance of OT allusions today

No relevance today: 
- Interpretations of Jesus as Moses/Adam are Matthean/Pauline constructions
- Make little sense if people are unaware of the OT stories
- Do not address modern christological debates, eg Jesus of History/Christ of faith, or incarnation as symbolic myth/historical fact
- Put in by early theologians/gospel writers, so may have been just to make Jesus's story seem more credible or relatable to C1 Jewish/early Christian readers

Yes relevant today:
- Christianity is an Abrahamic religion, which includes the OT in its holy scriptures, so connections between the two should exist
- The New Adam/Moses concepts enrish the understanding of Jesus for those who are familiar with those scriptures
- The concepts demonstrate how early theologians sought to interpret Jesus, and present him in a way which readers would understand 

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