This idea developed through three stages. Judaism first believed the kings that belonged to King David’s line of kingship as ‘Messiahs’. Kings, Priests and Prophets were anointed with oil. Judaism looked at King David as a Messiah as he united various tribes of Israel into one kingdom and Israel had become a strong kingdom under his leadership. In the Old Testament it records the Israelite understanding that God would make the Davidic dynasty would last and would be the way that God would save his people from foreign invaders.
However, this Davidic dynasty did not remain strong and many kings that followed David were corrupt. This explains why the idea of Messiah moved into its second stage. The people began to look to the one who would be the savior that they were looking for, whom God would establish his reign where there would be no more injustice. There was also a belief that this king would bring Universal peace. The idea furthered when it was believed that the Messiah would not come immediately but would arrive in years to come.
This was believed because the Jewish people were left without a king, as, in 587 BC, the Babylonian army conquered the Southern kingdom of Israel with their temple being destroyed. The Messiah would bring in a messianic age before the age to come but there was no single idea of who or what this Messiah would be. There were four main different reasons on what the Messiah would be. The first idea was that he would be like Moses and would lead the Hebrew people out of slavery. The second idea was that he would be a king like David under whom Israel was once strong and united.
The third was that the Messiah would be the one at the end of age to bring judgement. The final idea was that there would not be just one Messiah, but two. One would be like a king and the other would be a priest. Two passages, which talk about the Messiah, are Isaiah 11. 1-9 and Zechariah 9. 9-10. Isaiah says the Messiah will be fair through justice, punish the evil, have skill and knowledge, rule with integrity, defend the poor, bring peace and freedom wile Zechariah speaks of him being humble, a king, a ruler and bring peace universally.
How did Jesus see the title ‘Messiah’? Jesus never used this title for himself but accepted it when others when others used it for him. When Jesus spoke about kingship, he did not talk of himself being a king but about the kingdom of God. We know this because of the words he uses in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus says, ‘the time has come. The kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news! ‘ The kingdom was present on earth in a special way because he himself had come. The title ‘Messiah’ did not appear that often in the Gospel.
There is a simple explanation for this, as he did not want to be thought of as a ‘Messiah’ as by then it had been watered to a popular figure of an earthly warrior who would free Israel from the occupation of the Romans. This is not what Jesus wanted to be thought of but says the Messiah will be the one who will suffer and rise again. This is proved true. There are four main references in Mark’s Gospel that is essential to understanding the term Messiah. These are three Caesarea Philippi, Blind Bartimaeus, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the Sanhedrin.
Caesarea Philippi shows that he did not want to be called the Messiah until people understood it properly. Blind Bartimaeus shows us that anything is possible as long as you have faith in God. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem shows us that Jesus is not a military leader but comes in peace, and the Sanhedrin also shows us that he did not want the title ‘Messiah’ to be misinterpreted. Relevance of the title ‘Messiah’ ‘Messiah’ is the most common way for a Christian today to describe Jesus. Most Christians use different titles of Jesus quite loosely if they have not studied them carefully in depth.
Christians believe that The Kingdom of God arrives through the life of Jesus. This is achieved by sharing in Jesus’ life, and through this, they are already sharing in The Kingdom of God after their death. The ‘Messiah’ has the sense of someone that fulfils everyone’s hopes and is the one that everybody is waiting for. Christians believe that the time when people share fully in the life of the ‘Messiah’ will be the time that the Kingdom of God will come when Jesus is fully accepted. The Kingdom of God will come through acceptance of Jesus in people’s lives.
This means living out our lives in love for God and one another. Those who share in Jesus’ victory over sin will become ‘Kingdom Builders’ in the world. People may ask how the life of Jesus can be shared. This can be done by standing against injustice and oppression, loving others, being a peacemaker, witnessing to others about the love of Jesus so all people know God, bringing the healing Jesus offers to others and trying not to sin. Son of God The title ‘Son of God’ is frequently used in The Old Testament and was not just used, as a messianic title for Jesus in the New Testament as some people may believe.
In the Old Testament it is used as a title for those what God wanted to use to bring about ‘the plans’ for human beings. The Jewish people believed that it would be from Israel’s devout kings from the line of King David. They were called the Sons of God, as they were the ones who God wanted to use to accomplish his purposes for human beings. We find a difference between Israel and her kings and prophets, and Jesus. When tested by God, these kings and prophets rebel against him, while Jesus remains totally faithful. He’s faith goes so deep; he is willing to die for it.
The title is used in the New Testament as ‘Israel. We see this in Hosea 11. 1 where it is seen as the Son of God when God announces, ‘When Israel was a boy, I loved him’. By the time of Jesus, the title was regarded as a ‘Messianic title’, which referred to the one who was to come and do all that the Messiah would do. This would be the one who would lead the Hebrew people out of slavery, be a king like David, and a figure at the end of age who would bring judgment. This title also expresses the closest possible relationship between Jesus and God.
This is important to Christians as it enables them to realize that by sharing in the way Jesus acted they are also sharing in God’s life. The title ‘Son of God’ is the most popular title given to Jesus. There are two major events in the life of Jesus that confirms that he was the Son of God. These are during the Baptism and Transfiguration of Jesus. During Jesus’ Baptism, God says ‘ you are my own dear son. I am pleased with you’ and during Jesus’ Transfiguration, God says, ‘ this is my son, listen to him’. There is also a third passage in the trial before the High Priest where he says, ‘Are you Christ, Son of Blessed one’.
Jesus answers, ‘I am’. There are also five major texts in Mark’s Gospel which deal with this title; Mark 1:1-‘Here begins the Gospel of Jesus Christ Son of God’, Mark 1:11-‘Thou art my son, listen to him’, Mark 9:7-‘This is my son listen to him’, Mark 12:6- ‘He had only one left to send, his own dear son’, Mark 15:39-‘Truly this man was the Son of God’. All of these passages together deal with a number of points about the Son of God- that he was appointed by his father, he is there to stand against evils in the world, love and justice and that God and Jesus had a close relationship. Relevance of the title the ‘Son of God’
Christians today usually think the term ‘Son of God’ shows that Jesus is not just the Messiah but that he is God ‘becoming man’. The Nicene Creed uses the word ‘begotten’. This tells us that God the father did not ‘create’ or ‘make’ God the Son but is generated from him. Christians believe that through Jesus, Man and God are one. This means that God’s purpose is to bring together and unite people, and if it is achieved, God’s wishes become reality. Christians believe that the Old Testament does not fully fulfil God’s purpose in the fullest way possible way, but is fulfilled fully through Jesus.
Jesus is the only Son of God while those in the Old Testament were adopted sons who have also been anointed (e. g King David). Christians believe that the title ‘Son of God’ is so important because it is able to show the strongest possible relationship between Jesus and God unlike any other title. Since the time that Christians have begun to understand that sharing Jesus’ life, the can share in God’s life. This sharing and commitment by Christians, does not mean that they will be free from suffering and hardship.
Christians should understand this and by being able to share in suffering that comes through Jesus, as like Jesus, they share in both his suffering and glory. Son of Man Jesus only uses this title for himself, and no one else. Jesus got the idea of a human being whom has special authority given by God. Jesus may have called himself this name so that he could carry on his mission safely without making an open claim to the messiaship. How was the title ‘Son of Man’ used before Jesus’ time? In Daniel 7. 14 in the Old Testament, there is an account of one of his visions.
He sees for great beasts appear from the sea, savage and terrifying. He then sees an old man sitting as though he is in judgement, one that is like a ‘son of man’. There is an interpretation for this story. The beasts are the nations that have oppressed the Jews and the human figure of ‘the son of man,’ represents the ‘saints of the most high’. These are the loyal people that are ready to die instead of deny their faith to God. How did Jesus use the title ‘Son of Man’ and why may he have used it as an alternative to the term ‘Messiah’?
Many people are still not sure what Jesus meant by calling himself the ‘Son of Man’. Jesus may not have called himself the Messiah as the title carried ‘too much baggage’ With the Jews, who, by this time, were living in a ‘second rate country’ believed that the Messiah would make Israel a great country, be a warrior and win a war against the Romans. Jesus did not want this to be the case and did not want the people to get too excited at the idea that he was the Messiah that they had been waiting for. Jesus probably wanted to avoid this issue.
This can be backed up by the response that Jesus gives as he warns the disciples not to tell anyone when Peter asks him if he is the Messiah (Mark 8. 29-30). Jesus uses the title three time s to help understand three key areas. Jesus uses the title to get across the idea that the Son of Man has authority on Earth. This is shown in two chapters of Mark’s Gospel. These two chapters are Mark 2. 10 (which also shows that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins) and in Mark 2. 28(which also shows us that Jesus has the power to change the Rules of the Torah).
Jesus again uses the title to get across the idea of the Son of Man having to suffer, die and rise again. This is the most important idea. It is seen in eight verses of Mark’s Gospel. These verses are Mark. 3: 1, Mark 9:9, Mark 9:12, Mark 9:31,Mark 10. 33-34, Mark 10:45 and Mark 13:41-42. In the Old Testament, there is no real mention about the Son of Man’s job. However, the prophet Isaiah talks about a mysterious figure called the Servant of the Lord. Isaiah says that the Servant of the Lord must suffer and die for people’s sins.
The people before Jesus’ time could not have linked the Servant with Messiah, as they believed the Messiah would be a warrior and not suffer and die. Jesus though, may have used this Servant for when he spoke about the Son of Man. For Jesus, the Son of Man did not carry the belief of the warrior Messiah but of the Servant of the Lord. The one who will suffer, die and rise again. Another key idea That Jesus uses the title to get across is that Jesus will return at the end of time to judge everybody. All three of the following verses point to this; Mark 8:38, Mark 14:62 and Mark 13:26.
These verse all ‘echo’ Daniel’s vision in the Old Testament. Relevance of the title the ‘Son of Man’ Christians assume that ‘Son of Man’ means that Jesus is fully human. This may sound completely wrong but is actually not ‘way off’ and can help us understand this title fully. ‘Son of Man’ in Jewish literature can mean ‘a man’. So we can say for Christians today, ‘ Son of Man’ emphasizes how human Jesus is. It is very important for Christians to understand Jesus as a human being. This is because it shows we can live the way God lives.
This is a life of total obedience and a life, which is perfectly dedicated to God. Like all humans, Jesus had difficulties, Hardships, suffering and temptation. This proves that we can live this type of life, as Jesus was able to. The title ‘Son of Man’ refers to the one who will suffer for others so that they may be saved. This is relevant as it shows what Jesus was willing to do for others and that his death and resurrection are saving. This is because by Jesus giving his life without end to a new life. People can share in this new life because it is life without end (God’s life).
It is also because since Jesus offers his life foe all people are not trapped in their own sin but can be given a new life free from sin. It is also because Jesus offers all people his own risen life, which shows that God does not Hold people’s sins against them. This is shown when Jesus heals a crippled man (Mark 2:10). Jesus speaks of himself as one who will come in glory as the Son of Man or that he will come in the clouds I n glory, three times. In Mark 8. 38, he says that if people are ashamed of Jesus, then Jesus will be ashamed of them, when he comes in glory.
This shows three things for Christians today. It shows that those who remain loyal to God will share in the glory. It also shows that those who have denied Jesus by living ungodly lives will share in his glory. It also shows that since I n Daniel 7, the Son of Man represents the Saints of the Most High, Christians believe that all people are called to share in Jesus’ mission and so ultimately in his glory. Christians believe people can do this by choosing to die to their sins and to share in the life of Jesus.