Christ and Community

The Gospel Witness to Jesus

By Suzanne Watts Henderson Published
Paperback image ISBN: 9781426793080 $39.99 Buy
eBook image ISBN: 9781426793097 $39.99 Buy
You are the Christ; we are your church.

You are the Christ; we are your church.

Christ and Community:The Gospel Witness to Jesus casts new light on how Jesus’s followers sought to faithfully live into the reign of God as recorded in the Gospels. Dr. Henderson traces the contours of Jesus’s messiahship found in the four Gospels, but rather than taking each Gospel in turn, she works thematically, treating different aspects of Jesus’s mission and identity found across the four accounts. Rather than assuming Jesus’s exclusive status, the author exposes Gospel evidence for the clear communal implications of his messiahship. It turns out that the Gospels do more than simply affirm that Jesus is the Christ; they cast a vision of messianic community for those who would call him Lord, in the first century and beyond. This accessible introduction offers a case for Christ and community that answers perplexing questions that have long plagued NT study. 


"Christ and Community: The Gospel Witness to Jesus, by Suzanne Watts Henderson. One approach to understanding the Gospels as scripture is to consider their functions—specifically, how these writings describe and reinforce essential connections between Jesus’ followers and their Lord. Written as an introductory textbook, Christ and Community can help even seasoned exegetes grasp the means by which the Gospels’ stories depict Jesus’ work and identity in ways that equip Christian communities to make sense of their own work and identity." The Christian Century - Oct 07, 2015


Suzanne Watts Henderson has written a unique, compelling introduction to the four gospels, not only as witnesses to the mission and identity of Jesus the Messiah, but also, inseparably, as testimonies to the mission and identity of the communities that knew—and know—him as their living Lord. Her vivid prose and skillful reconstruction of key gospel themes in their historical contexts make this book a delight to read.


Michael J. Gorman

Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology

St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Baltimore, Maryland

At a time that the church has lost its confidence, and when community seems both elusive to us and more important than ever, Suzanne Watts Henderson guides us on a tour of the gospels, highlighting a dominant but under-noticed theme.  Jesus is no solo act to be believed in or followed spasmodically.  He bequeaths his authority, power, and yes, suffering to his community to be the messianic movement.  For today’s church this is an awakening, a challenge, and dares us to hope and live boldly.


James C. Howell, is senior pastor at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC and teaches preaching and ministry at Duke Divinity School

Probing the correlations of Christ and community in the New Testament gospels, this new book by Suzanne Watts Henderson shows how the gospel narratives consistently link the presentation of Jesus—his mission, message, and identity—to the identity and activity of the Christian communities being formed by these narratives. Henderson highlights distinctive features of each gospel’s profile of Jesus and his followers, within their various settings, but also has a keen eye for themes and affirmations that cut across the whole gospel tradition. Another hallmark of the work is the author’s vigorous insistence on rooting the gospel presentations of Jesus’ messianic career in judiciously chosen Jewish texts and traditions, rather than exploiting distorted notions of early Judaism as (negative) foil for emerging Christian beliefs. Henderson’s Christology and Community offers a fresh, illuminating, and accessible introduction to the New Testament gospels.

John T. Carroll

Harriet Robertson Fitts Memorial Professor of New Testament and Director of the Program for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Union Presbyterian Seminary.

About the Author

Suzanne Watts Henderson

Suzanne Watts Henderson is Associate Professor of Religion and Director, Center for Ethics and Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences at Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina.