The Messianic Mission of Christ
Jesus’ history as the Christ does not begin with Jesus himself. It begins with the ruachl the Holy Spirit. It is the coming of the Spirit, the creative breath of God: in this Jesus comes forward as ‘the anointed one’ (masiah, christos), proclaims the gospel of the kingdom with power, and convinces many with the signs of the new creation. It is the power of the creative Spirit: through this he brings health and liberty for enslaved men and women into this sick world. It is in the presence of the Spirit that God reveals himself to him with the name ‘Abba’, that Jesus discovers that he is the ‘Son’ of this Father, and that he lives out this intimate relationship in his community of prayer with God. The Spirit ‘leads’ him into the temptations in the desert. The Spirit thrusts him along the path from Galilee to Jerusalem. ‘Through the eternal Spirit’ (Heb. 9.14) he surrenders himself to death on the Roman cross. By the power of the Spirit, who gives new birth and new creation, God raises him from the dead. In word and meal, in community and baptism, Jesus is present in the Spirit ‘for many’, as the divine Kyrios. In the introductory chapters, we talked generally about ‘the eschatological history of Jesus Christ’. We are now giving this a more specific designation, calling it the Spirit-history of Jesus Christ: the coming, the presence, and the efficacy of the Spirit in, through and with Jesus, is the hidden beginning of the new creation of the world.
We are starting with a pneumatological christology, because we discover that the efficacy of the divine Spirit is the first facet of the mystery of Jesus. In this way we are taking up Israel’s messianic history of promise as the presupposition of every New Testament