The Priority of Jesus Christ
New Covenant Media, Frederick, MD
Once a man complained, “We say too much about Christ and too little about God.” The man was defending God’s sovereignty and assumed that Tom Wells would agree. He did not because the man’s statement implied a competition between the Father and Son. Therefore Wells wrote this book to answer two questions: “In what sense is Jesus Christ first in your life as a believer in Him? In what sense is Jesus Christ to come first in our understanding of Scripture?”
Wells answers the second question, first. He describes Jesus as the agent who reveals the character, will, and glory of God the Father. Then he compares Jesus with God’s other agents in the Old and New Testaments. In Hebrews, God declares Jesus to be superior to the prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus is a superior priest and a superior sacrifice of a superior covenant—the new covenant. Peter confirms that Jesus is the prophet promised by God through Moses. Since this is the era of fulfillment, we must listen to everything Jesus tells us. Moreover all the writers of the New Testament speak as Jesus’ agents.
Next Wells turns his attention to the subject of faith. Throughout the Old Testament God commends, commands, and exemplifies faith in a faithful God. He does the same in the New Testament but the emphasis changes to faith in Jesus. In the Old Testament faith in God meant believing in God’s word. In the New Testament Jesus is the Word of God. Therefore faith in Jesus is faith in God. There is no competition between the Father and Son. We come by faith to the Father through the Son.
After Wells lays the groundwork for the priority of Jesus in the Old and New Testaments, he asks, “Does the priority of Jesus completely displace the Old Testament?” He intends to dispel any notion that he is like the early heretic, Marcion, who discarded the Old Testament.
Wells considers the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, meaning the Old Testament. After His resurrection Jesus taught that the entire Old Testament bore witness to Him. It points to Christ by direct prophecy, by pictures or types, and by anticipation. For this reason Jesus has the final word. The result is that we must read the Old in light of the New.
Finally, Wells considers the relationship between Jesus and believers. In keeping with the promises of the Old Testament, God’s kingdom arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Davidic King who rules over His church. Therefore He is the master of believers and we are His slaves. Our desire should be to obey His every command. The church should match Christ’s love for her by showing a corresponding love for His direction over her.
This book explains how the Scriptures are all about Jesus Christ. We should respond by giving Him priority in our lives.
—Reviewed by Heather Kendall