In the Gospels, where is the first time that we see Jesus refer to Himself as "Jesus Christ", with these words? Is it in his prayer to the Father in John 17:3? "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
Earlier in the Gospels, we see affirmations of Jesus' identity as Messiah. Matthew and Mark begin their Gospel accounts with this testimony, "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ..." and "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." John concludes his Gospel account with the same testimony, "...these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31 However, the Gospels weren't written down until after Jesus' earthly ministry.
During Jesus' earthly ministry, there were affirmations by the demons who recognized Him (Matthew 8:29, Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28), but Jesus did not permit them to speak of this (Mark 3:12, Luke 4:41).
Later, God the Father revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Christ. "Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'" Matthew 16:16 Jesus taught His disciples, but "Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ" (Matthew 16:20).
During Jesus' trial, He was asked directly by the Jewish High Priest, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Matthew 26:63 Jesus confirmed what he had said.
But, where do we see Jesus declaring, with His own voice, that He is the Christ, the Son of God? I wonder if his prayer before His Passion is the place where we see this?
John chapter 17 is called the High Priestly Prayer, because Jesus is praying for all of His disciples - those who followed Him then and all of those who would believe because of their testimony. He is praying, in that moment, for all of His sheep, even those of us alive today. There seems to be something so beautiful and mysterious in the fact that Jesus here with His own voice refers to Himself as Jesus Christ, as He is interceding on behalf of His followers, bringing them up in prayer to God the Father in the Holy Spirit. Is the Lord Jesus showing us His heavenly ministry as High Priest and King?
These things are too wonderful for me to understand. <3