Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jesus is the Messiah - 31 Days with Jesus - Day 25

Israeli solider, in the Western Wall area,


One little sentence can say a lot. Here's a sentence that says much about the Real Jesus.

Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ [υἱοῦ θεοῦ].

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,...
- Mark 1:1

New Testament scholar Chris Keith  writes:

"Seemingly insignificant, this short sentence is packed with important information concerning Jesus. It identifies Jesus as the long-awaited Christ (christos, “Messiah”) and Son of God. With both these titles, Mark taps into Jewish expectations of a kingly deliverer who would rid Jews of foreign domination and reestablish Israel by reestablishing God’s reign in Jerusalem." (Chris Keith, "Jesus Inside and Outside the New Testament," in Hurtado and Keith, Jesus among Friends and Enemies: A Historical and Literary Introductionto Jesus in the Gospels, Kindle Locations 835-842; see Keith's The Jesus Blog, highly recommended by Ben Witherington) 

The word "Christ" (Χριστοῦ) means, literally, "anointed one." From this we get an English word that's not so much used anymore, "to christen," which can mean:

chris·ten (krsn)
tr.v. chris·tened, chris·ten·ing, chris·tens
a. To baptize into a Christian church.
b. To give a name to at baptism.
a. To name: christened the kitten "Snowball."
b. To name and dedicate ceremonially: christen a ship. (See here for a recent "christening ceremony.")
3. To use for the first time: christened the new car by going for a drive.

Jesus of Nazareth was "christened" by the Father at his baptism when heaven opened, the Spirit of God descended on him like a dove, and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Jesus is like a ship constructed for the purpose of sailing stormy seas to save people who have made shipwrecks of their own lives. At Jesus' baptism the Father launched the Christ into the dark waters of corrupted human existence.

Jesus is Messiah, "the Christ."


The book if Isaiah has been referred to as "the fifth Gospel" because of its Messianic expectations that fit the historical Jesus. Here's an excellent book to enter into this discussion - The Gospel According to Isaiah 53: Encountering the Suffering Servant in Jewish and Christian Theology, eds. Darrell Bock and Mitch Glaser. Some very good scholars contribute essays, to include Bock, Michael Brown, Craig Evans, and Walter Kaiser. See the book reviewed here.