Monday, November 27, 2017

Did Jesus say (or think) he was God?

Bart D. Ehrman (; Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Pat Macpherson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Did Jesus think he was God? New insights on Jesus’ own self-image
How Jesus Became God
First he was a prophet. People made him a God. Amazing new research into how Jesus actually saw himself
What can we say about how Jesus most likely understood himself? Did he call himself the messiah [the long-prophesied Future Buddha Maitreya]? If so, what did he mean by it? And did he call himself God? Here I want to stake out a clear position: messiah, yes; God, no.
I [author Bart D. Ehrman] think there are excellent reasons for thinking that Jesus imagined himself as the messiah, in a very specific and particular sense.

If only Leo DaVinci painted it...
The messiah was thought to be the future ruler of the people of Israel. But as an apocalypticist, Jesus did not think that the future kingdom was going to be won by a political struggle or a military engagement per se.

It was going to be brought by the Son of Man [Sanskrit devaputra], who came in judgment against everyone and everything opposed to God. Then the kingdom would arrive. And I think Jesus believed he himself would be the king in that kingdom.
I have several reasons for thinking so. First let me go back to my earlier point about the disciples. They clearly thought and talked about Jesus as the messiah during his earthly life. But in fact he did nothing to make a person think that he was the messiah.
He may well have been a pacifist (“love your enemy,” “turn the other cheek,” “blessed are the peacemakers,” etc.), which would not exactly make him a leading candidate to be general over the Jewish armed forces. He did not preach the violent overthrow of the Roman armies [or if he did, the Roman propagandists took that part out]. And he talked about someone else, rather than himself, as the coming Son of Man.

So if nothing in what Jesus was actively doing would make anyone suspect that he had messianic pretensions, why would his followers almost certainly have been thinking about him and calling him the messiah during his public ministry? The easiest explanation is that Jesus told them that he was the messiah.
But what he meant by “messiah” has to be understood within the broader context of his apocalyptic proclamation.

How God Became GOD (Smoley)
This is where one of the sayings of Jesus that I earlier established as almost certainly authentic comes into play. As we have seen, Jesus told his disciples -- Judas Iscariot included -- that they would be seated on 12 thrones ruling the 12 tribes of Israel in the future kingdom. Well enough.

But who would be the ultimate king? Jesus was their master (= lord) now. Would he not be their master (= Lord) then? He is the one who called them, instructed them, commissioned them, and promised them thrones in the kingdom.

It is almost unthinkable that he did not imagine that he, too, would have a role to play in that kingdom, and if he was the leader of the disciples now, he certainly would be the leader of the disciples then.

Jesus must have thought that he would be the king of the kingdom of God soon to be brought by the Son of Man. And what is the typical designation for the future king of Israel? Messiah. It is in this sense that Jesus must have taught his disciples that he was the messiah. More

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