Thursday, March 01, 2018

5.3 Jesus is Lord!

Current chapter:
Chapter 5: Jesus the Christ
5.1 Fully Human, Fully Divine
5.2 The Theology of Jesus of Nazareth

5.3.1 Jesus is the Messiah
This subsection would dip a little into the background of messianic expectation among Jews. Key background texts include the Dead Sea Scrolls, which looked for both a royal and a priestly "anointed one." Another background text of interest is Psalms of Solomon 18.

How was Jesus seen by those in Israel? Peter gives a list in Mark 8. Herod thought he might be John the Baptist come back from the dead. Most probably saw him as some sort of prophetic figure. Only near the end of his ministry did Peter finally confess him as the "Christ" or "Messiah" in Aramaic. Acts 1:6 depicts them still having an expectation of Jesus restoring Israel as an independent nation, suggesting that this is what they were expecting beforehand.

So the understanding of Jesus as Davidic king likely predated his death, despite Wrede and others. I would need to engage his "messianic secret" argument.

The Last Supper tradition suggests that Jesus foresaw his impending death and that he saw it in sacrificial terms.

5.3.2 Jesus is the Son of Man
The "Son of Man" title is quite curious. It clearly goes back to Jesus, but what did he mean by it? The use of it falls into three categories: a) mere self-reference without any clear messianic overtone (e.g., Luke 9:58), b) sayings that speak of his coming suffering (Mark 8:31), c) exalted Son of Man sayings that look to a heavenly figure coming in judgment (Mark 14:61-62).

Key background texts: Daniel 7:13-14, 1 Enoch 69:27, 29

Jesus' Son of Man language mirrors the messianic secret. It seems most likely that the least theological language was the base. Bultmann once suggested that Jesus spoke of the Son of Man in the third person, meaning that the connection between the Son of Man figure and Jesus may not have been clear until after Jesus' death. Jesus could have used this ambiguity to screen those with faith--"let the one with ears to hear, hear."

5.3.3 Jesus is Lord!
The earliest post-resurrection Christology seems to have centered on Jesus' resurrection and exaltation. The disciples were not expecting Jesus' death (this is a clear inference from Mark's final chapters). Nor do they seem to have anticipated his resurrection (all the resurrection accounts seem to indicate this).

So there is a clear layer of New Testament Christology that focuses Christological titles on the exaltation of Jesus to God's right hand (cf. Dunn, Christology in the Making). Psalm 110:1 seems to have been especially generative in this regard.
  • Acts 2:35 - Jesus as Messiah and Lord, "made" so after the resurrection
  • Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:3; Heb. 1:5 - Jesus as Son of God, enthroned, connected to Jesus' exaltation
  • Rom. 10:9; Phil. 2:6-11 - Jesus as Lord connected to Jesus' resurrection
  • Heb 5:9-10 - Jesus as high priest, "perfected" after his sufferings
In short, Jesus resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and session is an enthronement as cosmic Lord, Messiah, and Son of God. Before now, he has been the heir to the throne. Now he sits enthroned as cosmic king.

Previous "chapters"
Chapter 1: What is Biblical Theology?
Chapter 2: Theology of God
Chapter 3: Creation and Consummation
Chapter 4: Sin and Atonement
Interlude: A Theology of Israel

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