Related post: The Centrality of Christ in the Old Testament
Of course, the four Gospels are each about Christ and the book of Acts tells how His story spread. And the letters that follow are all written in His name. Thus at a macro level, Jesus Christ is Himself the subject of the New Testament.
At the micro level also – that is, at the level of individual verses – Jesus Christ is central throughout all the pages of the New Testament.
I talk about many of the passages below in these podcasts: SC021 – The Centrality of Christ in the New Testament – Part 1 of 2 and SC022 – The Centrality of Christ in the New Testament – Part 2 of 2.
Matthew 1:21 – It is “He” who will save His people from their sins. Not “it” – “He!”
Matthew 6:24 – While this verse does not mention Christ, it does serve to make statements such as Jude 1:4 all the more definitive. That is, Jesus Christ has been given as the one and only Lord. Other statements about there only being one Lord are Mark 12:29; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:5; also see 1 Corinthians 12:5.
Matthew 9:9 – Christianity is a matter of positively responding to Jesus’ call: “Follow Me!”
Matthew 11:27 – “All things were handed over” from the Father to Jesus. “All things.” There is nothing that has not been handed over to the Son. This point is also made in Luke 10:22 below. Similarly, Hebrews 1:1-2 proclaims Him as heir of “all” things. Likewise John 5:22 below speaks of one of the specific responsibilities being passed on from Father to Son.
Matthew 11:28 – Jesus is the one – the one – to whom we are to come. He is the one who gives us rest. We are to come to Him…and follow Him (see Matthew 9:9 above).
Matthew 17:5 – The Father is telling us to listen to the Son. Therefore, it is not the Father’s will that we should listen to the Father. Rather, it is the Father’s will that we should listen to the Son. Mark 9:7 and Luke 9:35, both below, record the same event.
Matthew 17:8 – This pictures Moses and Elijah (think “Moses and Prophets”) fading into Christ.
Matthew 18:6 – “…these little ones who believe in Me…”
Matthew 28:18 – “All authority” – not some authority – was given to Jesus.
Mark 9:7 – This passage conveys the same point as Matthew 17:5 above and Luke 9:35 below.
Mark 12:30 – Many, many verses (e.g. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:5; and Acts 2:36) make clear that Jesus is that Lord. Therefore, our overarching commandment is to love Jesus.
Luke 2:38 – Anna “continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (emphasis added).
Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – See John 2:5 below.
Luke 9:35 – The thought here matches Matthew 17:5 and Mark 9:7 above.
Luke 10:22 – See the parallel passage and accompanying note in Matthew 11:27 above.
John 1:1 – John begins his gospel in such a way that no one can doubt the centrality of the role of Jesus Christ when the subject comes to God.
John 1:4 – Jesus Christ is “the” light of men.
John 1:17 – Grace and truth have not come to us independently of Christ; rather, they have come to us through Christ.
John 1:51 – It’s on the Son of Man – that is, Jesus – that the angels are ascending and descending.
John 2:5 – See Luke 6:46 above.
John 3:16 – Believing in Jesus is the difference between perishing and eternal life. This certainly makes Him central.
John 3:30 – John the Baptist understood his place relative to Jesus; we should, too. He is central; we are not.
John 3:36 – Believing in and obeying Jesus is the difference between life and wrath.
John 4:25 – That Christ was expected to “declare all things” made Him central to the plan of God. This is why the Father, in Matthew 17:5, tells us to listen to the Son.
John 4:42 – Jesus is…”the Savior of the world.” How could you be more central than that?
John 5:22 – The Father has given all – not some – judgment to the Son (see also Acts 10:42). Matthew 11:27 above also speaks to the handing over of responsibilities.
John 5:23 – We are to honor the Son as we honored the Father. This means, of course, honoring the Son as God just as we honored the Father as God. Since there cannot be two Gods, we must therefore honor the Son in the place of the Father.
John 5:39 – The Scriptures are testimony about Jesus. How can we claim to know the Scriptures and not be conscious of that central fact? How can we claim faithfulness to the Scriptures if we are not faithful to Him?
John 6:28, 29 – Want to do what God wants you to do? Believe in the One He sent – the One who is central to everything God has said.
John 6:35 – He is the bread of life. It’s hard to be more central than food; without food, we die.
John 6:40 – Beholding the Son and believing in the Son are what the Father wants.
John 6:41 – Jesus is the bread that came down out of heaven.
John 6:48 – Jesus is the bread of life. See John 12:19-21 below.
John 6:51 – Jesus is the living bread that came down out of heaven.
John 6:68 – It is the Lord Jesus who has words of eternal life.
John 7:37-39 – Jesus is the one who must be glorified for the Spirit to flow like rivers of living water from the innermost being.
John 8:12 – Jesus is the light of the world. Who or what else could be more important than that?
John 9:5 – The light of the world is…the one named Jesus.
John 10:7 – Jesus is the door of the sheep.
John 10:9 – Jesus is the door.
John 10:11 – Jesus is the good shepherd. That makes Him the fulfillment of Psalm 23, because there cannot be two shepherds of God’s flock.
John 10:14 – Jesus is the good shepherd and He maintains a complete inventory of us. We know Him, and we know no other.
John 12:19, 20, 21 – As these men, representing an ever-increasing number of seekers, were asking to see Jesus, so “little ones ask for bread” (Lamentations 4:4) – that is, Jesus is “the bread of life” (John 6:48). He feeds us “Himself” (Ezekiel 34:23).
John 12:26 – To serve Jesus we must follow the path He takes. There is no other form of Christianity than this. Jesus is central.
John 12:32 – The entirety of the human race is being drawn to this one person.
John 12:46 – Believing in the person Jesus brings one out of darkness into light.
John 13:13-14 – “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am…” – Could He be any more central to the life God has given us than to be “Teacher” of it and “Lord of it?
John 14:6 – Jesus carves out for Himself a central place in the lives of those who would seek and find God.
John 15:5 – Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Do you think I am overstating the centrality of Christ? Jesus Himself explicitly says here “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” “Nothing!”
John 20:28 – If Thomas’ point of view means anything to you, he just gave Jesus as prominent a place in a human’s thinking that there could ever be – “Lord and God.”
John 17:20 – Through what the apostles have written, we believe. And it’s Jesus Christ in whom we believe.
John 20:30-31 – It’s believing in Christ that matters, because it’s in His name that we have life.
Acts 3:25-26 – Jesus is the central fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham. It is Christ who turns us from our wicked ways, and thereby brings the blessing promised by God to the descendants of Abraham upon us.
Acts 4:11 – There can be no more important stone than the cornerstone.
Acts 4:12 – “In no one else” and “there is no other name” speak emphatically of the exclusive position carved out for Christ (just as Paul also says in 2 Timothy 2:10 below).
Acts 4:17 – It’s the name of Jesus that was troubling the authorities – not the name of anyone else.
Acts 4:18 – It wasn’t so much what the apostles were saying that was bothering the authorities. It’s that the apostles were saying it in the name of Christ.
Acts 8:35 – You get the feeling that no matter which scripture the Ethiopian was reading, Philip would have begun preaching Jesus from it.
Acts 10:36 – This Jesus is “Lord of all” – that is, central to all.
Acts 10:42 – This the one – and there is no other one – “who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead” (see also John 5:22). Prior to this time, God had served in this role (Genesis 18:25).
Acts 10:43 – We know that we have forgiveness for our sins from God, but do we know that this forgiveness comes in the name of the Christ?
Acts 26:18 – It’s faith in the Lord Jesus that sanctifies us.
Romans 1:3 – The gospel concerns God’s Son – that is, Christ.
Romans 1:9 – The gospel of God (Romans 1:1) is actually the gospel of His Son.
Romans 10:9 – Jesus is the Lord. You don’t get more central than that.
Romans 10:12 – To emphasize the point of Jesus’ lordship further, Paul says that this Lord is “Lord of all” (which is just what Peter called Him in Acts 10:36).
Romans 10:17 – There is no doubt that faith is important, and we see here that it comes from hearing the word of…Christ.
Romans 15:19 – It’s “the gospel of Christ” – not the gospel of the church, or the gospel of the Father, or the gospel of the Holy Spirit. All these things have their place, but it is the gospel of Christ!
Romans 16:18 – “For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites…” – There is an NASB marginal note on “appetites” which reads “Lit. belly.”
Romans 16:25 – What do we preach? Rather, who do we preach? Jesus Christ. See also 2 Corinthians 4:5 below.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – There is but one name upon which the holy ones of the New Testament called: the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:8 – The day to which all the New Testament saints looked forward was “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:4 – The grace of God is given…in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 2:2 – Paul determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11 – There can be no other foundation than Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:5 – Paul just finished saying in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that Jesus was Lord, so there can be no other Lord.
2 Corinthians 1:19 – What or who is preached? The Son of God, Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:5 – True Christians do not preach themselves, the church, or anything else but “Christ Jesus as Lord.”
2 Corinthians 4:6 – The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is found in the face of…Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 – For whom do we live? Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “Him” is obviously the fulcrum of the redemptive process. And “Him” is Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:2, 3 – “…led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” – Christianity is so simple. It’s devotion to Christ.
Galatians 1:16 – The Son of God is revealed that the Son of God might be preached. Thus the gospel is centered completely on Him.
Galatians 2:20 – “…I live by faith in the Son of God…” – It’s not faith in God – it’s faith in the Son of God.
Ephesians 1:10 – Everything is summed up in…Christ!
Ephesians 2:20 – As in Acts 4:11 and elsewhere, Jesus is the cornerstone.
Philippians 1:21 – For Paul, living could be summed up in one word. One word! Christ.
Philippians 3:8 – Where is “the surpassing value” to be found? In knowing Christ!
Philippians 3:9 – Where did Paul seek to be found? In Christ! What is the locus of our faith? Christ!
Philippians 3:10 – Whom is it we are to know? Christ!
Philippians 3:14 – The upward call of God is found…in Christ Jesus!
Colossians 1:18 – First place is reserved for Christ Himself.
Colossians 1:19 – See Colossians 2:9 below for insight regarding that to which “fullness” is referring.
Colossians 1:28 – Paul says, “We proclaim…Him.”
Colossians 2:2 – God’s mystery is none other than Christ Himself.
Colossians 2:3 – In Christ are hidden not some, but all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:5 – Faith in Christ is what matters. That’s what needs to be stable.
Colossians 2:6 – We not only receive Christ, we walk in Christ. Therefore, Christ is the beginning and the end.
Colossians 2:7 – We are being firmly rooted and built up…in Christ.
Colossians 2:9 – Not part, but all the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 – Everything else is a shadow; the substance is Christ.
Colossians 3:4 – Christ Himself is our life. See also Philippians 1:21 above and 2 Timothy 1:1 below.
Colossians 3:24 – “…It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” – It is the Lord Christ – and Him alone – we are to serve.
2 Timothy 1:1 – The promise of life is in Christ Jesus. It is not in anyone or anything else.
2 Timothy 2:1 – Where is this grace in which we are to be strong found? In Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:10 – Where is the salvation which we seek? Where can it be found? In Christ Jesus (just as Peter also said in Acts 4:12 above.)
2 Timothy 3:15 – Salvation comes through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 1:1-2 – In times past, God spoke through prophets. Since, then, however, He has spoken in His Son. See also note on Matthew 11:27 above.
Hebrews 2:10 – Jesus Christ is the author of our salvation.
Hebrews 5:9 – “…[Christ] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” – Those who obey Christ find eternal salvation.
Hebrews 5:11 – It’s concerning Christ that there is “much to say.”
Hebrews 12:2 – “fixing our eyes on Jesus…” – On whom are we to fix our eyes?
Hebrews 13:20 – Jesus is “our Lord.” He is “the great Shepherd of the sheep.” There is no other great shepherd. There is no other focal point for the people of God.
1 Peter 1:2 – “…to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood…” – Jesus Christ is the one we are to obey…because He is the “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36; Romans 10:12 – both above).
1 Peter 1:8 – “and though you have not seen [Jesus Christ], you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice…” Christ is central to our “loving” and “believing.”
1 Peter 2:4 – Jesus Christ is the living stone to whom we are to come.
1 Peter 2:5 – If you want something to be acceptable to God, it must go through Jesus Christ. (Remember John 14:6 above?)
1 Peter 2:6 – Jesus Christ is the choice and precious cornerstone of what God has built.
1 Peter 2:7 – Rejected by the builders, Jesus is nonetheless the cornerstone of what God has built.
1 Peter 2:8 – Jesus is the stone over whom the stumblers are stumbling.
1 Peter 3:15 – There is only one Lord…and that Lord is Jesus. He is the one we are to obey (see 1 Peter 1:2).
2 Peter 3:18 – Peter’s closing words in the last written communication we have from him were an exhortation to grow in the grace and knowledge of…our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it is to Him that glory should be given for all eternity.
1 John 2:2 – “…He Himself is the propitiation for sins…” – Note: “He Himself.”
1 John 3:23 – The name of Jesus Christ is the one that matters.
1 John 5:11 – Where is eternal life to be found? In Christ.
1 John 5:12 – He who has Christ has the life. He who does not have Christ…
2 John 1:9 – “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” – Therefore, the teaching of Christ must be very, very important.
Jude 1:1 – “…kept for Jesus Christ:” – Kept for no one else!
Jude 1:4 – “…our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Consider in the light of Matthew 6:24 (“No one can serve two masters…”). Jesus Christ is our only Master and Lord.
Revelation 1:1 – Of whom is this book a revelation? Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:2 – The word of God is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:9 – The kingdom, and perseverance, and tribulation are…in Jesus.
Revelation 14:12 – The saints keep their faith where? In Jesus.
Revelation 17:14 – It is those who are with Christ who are the called, chosen, and faithful.
Revelation 22:21 – The very last sentence of the New Testament – as so many sentences before it – makes clear its central message: that which has to do with the Lord Jesus.