A Theology of the New Covenant: The Foundations of New Testament Theology -- By: Ronald E. Diprose

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 16:2 (Winter 2007)
Article: A Theology of the New Covenant: The Foundations of New Testament Theology
Author: Ronald E. Diprose


A Theology of the New Covenant:
The Foundations of New Testament Theology

Ronald E. Diprose

Ron Diprose is the academic dean at Istituto Biblico Evangelico Italiano. This work was published in Italian by I.B.E.I. edizioni as a Lux Biblica monograph in 2002. The original title was La Teologia del Nuovo Patto: Elementi Fondamentali della Teologia del Nuovo Testamento. This is the fourth of nine parts.

Chapter 4
The Origin of New Testament Theology, Part 2

In our last chapter we saw that the four Gospels focus attention on the life, deeds, and teaching of Jesus. This is not only true of individual passages in each gospel; the focus on Jesus is what links together all the parts, and all the pericopae, which form each gospel. Moreover we saw that the attempt to distinguish between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith, which went back to the eighteenth century, has been overturned by the attention given to what the Gospels actually say about the historical Jesus and by taking seriously the genre of the Gospels themselves.

In the present chapter we will examine in greater depth the meaning of Jesus’ death, his self-awareness as Son of Man, and the foundations of New Testament theology present in his teaching. We will see that Jesus’ solidarity with the hopes of post-exilic Israel found natural expression in the way he prepared his disciples for the new covenant inaugurated by his death and resurrection.

The Mission of Jesus

Why Did Jesus Die?

Jesus’ disciples were disappointed and greatly perplexed when he began talking of his death as a necessary part of his mission (Mark 8:31–33; 9:31–32; 10:33–34). They could not make any sense out of a similar course of events, even though Jesus did speak of resurrection as well as death (cf. Luke 24:19–21). Yet Jesus made it clear that he considered his death central to the mission that the Father had entrusted to him, while his ascension and the coming of the Spirit and not a war of liberation from the Roman overlord were to be the culmination of his mission (see Luke 9:31, 51; 12:49–50; 13:33; John 16:7–13, 28).

There is an unsolicited confirmation of the centrality o...

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