The new testament is the second and smaller major division of the Christian Bible. Christians view the new testament as the fulfillment of promises made in the old testament. It is made of 27 different books written by eight different people (Wegner, 2016). The new testament books were not all written at the same time. They were written one after another over time. Most of the books are addressed to different churches. The new testament is the central element of the Christian faith. It is the central pillar of Christianity and has helped shape modern culture. It mainly focuses on the life of Jesus Christ and narrates His ministry (Wegner, 2016). The new testament has several themes that are important to this generation. The three major issues of the new testament are discipleship, salvation, and messianic expectations. This paper shows in detail what these themes consist of and how they are essential to this generation regarding practicing Godly leadership despite the concept of one's vocation or location.
Salvation is the first major theme of the new testament. Salvation, according to the new testament, refers to having being saved from earthly hitches such as diseases (King, 2016). It also refers to the complex idea of salvation from eternal punishment and sin. Most books in the new testament portray Jesus as the agent of salvation sent by God. In the acts of the apostles and the gospel books, Jesus is seen saving people from problems such as demons and diseases through exorcism and healing. Salvation in the New Testament is reserved for Jesus, who has the power to forgive even the people who were considered impure or unclean. For example, he saved the adulterous woman from being stoned by the people to death (John 8). in the book of Mathew, Jesus gives Peter the authority to forgive sins on earth. Jesus also teaches his followers to serve others so that they can avoid punishment. Paul and the apostles spread the message of the power of Jesus.
Paul's letters also have complex salvation ideas. In his letters, Paul insists that the death of Jesus was a sacrifice on behalf of human beings by taking up the suffering of others (King, 2016). Christ believers can share the death and resurrection of Jesus through baptism. To avoid judgment, Christians must be firm in their faith. From this, leaders can learn to serve others selflessly. They should be ready to help their neighbors and the less fortunate in society. Jesus gave up his life to save us. People should be prepared to give up earthly things to serve others. Like Jesus preached for people to live together, leaders should also serve everyone, even the poor and the neglected in the community. Like Jesus offered advice to his followers, Christian leaders should help those who need guidance in their life.
The second theme is that of discipleship. A disciple is a scholar who follows the guidance of a leader. The new testament calls Jesus follower's disciples because they are continually learning new things from Jesus about God's kingdom, where they learn how to have a great relationship with God and with others. Other New Testament books illustrate the concept of discipleship beyond the people who followed Jesus to the broader society. All those who followed him believed that he was Christ, the Son of God. Discipleship is presented as a state of being that needs specific actions and disposition (Peterson, 2015). Disciples are required to follow a particular code of ethics that includes communal responsibility. There are certain qualities that disciples are required to have, according to Paul's letter to the Galatians. Paul writes against things such as sorcery, idolatry, licentiousness, and enmities. He recommends disciples to be kind, gentle, faithful, generous, and to have self-control. Discipleship, as seen in the gospels, is a challenging task. Jesus warns them several times that those who follow him risk suffering in the same way he suffered. He predicts that those who follow him will be beaten, persecuted, put on trial, kicked out of synagogue communities. He, however, assures them that those who remain steadfast through all the suffering will be saved.
From this theme, our generation can learn several things concerning leadership. First, they should have good qualities like the disciples of Jesus were required. They should be generous, hardworking, gentle, kind, faithful, and should have self-control. People should also be ready to suffer for the good deeds they do just as Jesus did. They should be prepared to be beaten, rejected, and persecuted. Despite all the suffering, they should not give up as those who stay active will be rewarded. People of our generation should also be ready to share the good news of Christ to others. Jesus has commissioned as to make disciples of all nations.
The third theme is the theme of messianic expectation. The word Messiah from a biblical point of view refers to someone anointed by God to serve an essential part amongst God's people (Wegner, 2016). In simple terms, the word messiah means the anointed one. The term messiah first began in the old testament to refer to the kings chosen by God and anointed by prophets with oil. Jesus and his followers were working and living according to the messianic expectations of the Jews. His followers believed that he was the Messiah and began proclaiming him to others. However, this identity was challenged as he seemed to be against Jewish law and was not a ruler. Instead, he was executed like a criminal. Early believers believe that Christ was chosen to establish the kingdom of God on earth. The early believers imagined what it took to be a messiah seeing the kind of suffering Jesus went through.
This theme teaches people of this generation to serve others, just like the Messiah did. They should know that God has chosen them to perform a particular role here on earth just as the Messiah was chosen to liberate God's people from sin. They should be ready to suffer as the Messiah suffered when serving people. They should be prepared to face challenges such as rejection and even be executed as criminals as Christ endured.
The three themes discussed in the paper help to unite all the books of the New Testament. The idea of discipleship shows how people of this generation should be ready to serve, just as Jesus commissioned them to preach to all nations. They should spread the good news of salvation to all people. They should also be ready to suffer as Jesus had warned his followers. However, they should be steadfast as they shall be saved. The theme of salvation shows that Christ wants to save all the people from sins and eternal punishment. Jesus has given us the power to preach the good news to others so that they can be saved from sin. The theme of messianic expectation shows that we have all been anointed to serve God here on earth. Jesus was seen as the Messiah sent by God to liberate his people from sin. God has anointed as to be his servants and serve him in every way possible.
King, Y. (2016). The Progressive Announcement of Salvation in Luke, Revealing a Shift in Redemptive History. American Journal of Biblical Theology, 17, 40. Retrieved from https://www.biblicaltheology.com/Research/KingY02.pdf
Peterson, D. G. (2015). Possessed by God: A New Testament theology of sanctification and holiness (Vol. 1). InterVarsity Press.
Wegner, P. D. (2016). A Theological Approach to the Old Testament: Major Themes and New Testament Connections.
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