Jesus’ Self-Understanding

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    Bock, Darrell L.

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    The Son of Man

    "...[T]he Son of Man is a title Jesus used to refer to himself and his authority. He revealed its full import toward the end of his ministry. But the title referred to Jesus as the representative of humanity who also engaged in divine activity. It was a way of saying I am the One sent with divine authority to also be the representative of humanity. In this context, all of Jesus' ministry and work, including his suffering on the cross for sin takes place."
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    Bock, Darrell L.

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    The Son of Man in Luke 5:24

    "In Luke 5:24, Jesus heals a paralytic and relates that healing to his authority as the 'Son of Man.' The wording of the verse, including the unusual parenthetical break in the middle, is virtually identical in all three gospels. The fact that all three gospels share the unusual construction suggests a similar source. This verse marks the first use of the title 'Son of Man' by Luke. It parallels Mark 2:10, which is also the first appearance of the title in that gospel. The Matthean parallel, Matt 9:6, is the second appearance of the title in that gospel. Luke uses this title 25 times in his gospel, but this text is unique in yet another way. It is the only Son of Man saying in the gospels which is bound immediately and directly to a miracle. As such, it is a crucial text, not only because it appears early in Jesus’ ministry, but also because it links his teaching about himself to his work, showing the connection between the two."
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    Bruce, F. F.

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    The Background to the Son of Man Sayings

    "The problems of the use of ‘the Son of man’ in the Gospels continue to fascinate New Testament scholars, not least the problem of the almost entire absence of any echo outside the Gospels of an expression which plays such a prominent part within them...All four of the evangelists regard ‘the Son of man’ as a self-designation of Jesus...Here is a locution unparalleled in the Judaism of the period and one which, outside the Gospel tradition, was not current in the early church. Its claim to be recognized as an authentic vox Christi is thus remarkably strong."
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    Harris, Steven

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    Jesus the Son of Man

    "If we are to form a clear and accurate understanding as to what Jesus believed about his own person and mission, we must begin with Jesus himself. Jesus does not set out theological propositions about his true identity in the language of Chalcedon, but rather he chooses titles (‘Son of Man’) and accepts other titles (e.g. ‘Lord’), which give us insight into his thinking. However, it is worth remarking at the beginning that there are limitations on precisely how much we can learn about Jesus from investigating his titles alone. We learn more about Jesus from what he did, not just from the titles associated with him. However, ‘Son of Man’ is clearly the 'preferred self-designation of Jesus', and so to understand his usage of it as a title is to understand Jesus’ own thinking about himself and his role in the history of the salvation of the people of God."
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    Henry, Carl F. H.

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    The Identity of Jesus of Nazareth

    "The weight of evidence is that Jesus believed he was God's incomparable Son, standing in God's place with divine authority and right and determining the destiny of human beings according to their response to his life and work. Radical critics contended that the claims of Jesus to be the divine Son of God originated from the early Church, while they also argued that sayings of Jesus could be considered historical if they present motifs not found in earlier Judaism. Here Jesus' claim to personal divinity would surely qualify. To insist that the Church constructed the Jesus of the Gospel is like saying that a son has generated his own father."
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    Longenecker, Richard N.

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    "Son of Man" as a Self-Designation of Jesus

    "Contrary to much current thought on the subject, the evidence strongly suggests that Son of Man was a distinct self-designation of Jesus used by Him to indicate His understanding of the nature of His Messiahship. In so doing, He reached back to the enigmatic figure of Daniel 7 and in fulfillment of the prophet's vision sought thereby to explicate his person and redemptive ministry in terms of glorification through suffering."
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    McDade, John

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    Jesus: Son and Priestly Companion of God’s Throne

    "If it is shown that the Church’s interpretation of Jesus is radically discontinuous with how Jesus saw himself, then it follows that Christianity originates not in the mind of Jesus himself but in the minds of those who interpret him after the resurrection. And if you hold this, do you have any answer to the sceptic who says ‘Jesus wasn’t the founder of Christianity; St Paul was’? By making Christological development originate in the faith-filled minds of others, and not in Jesus’ own understanding, we are in fact marginalizing the mind of Jesus from the substance of Christianity."
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    Williams, Corey L.

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    The Son of Man: A Semantic & Historical Analysis of Jesus' Aims and Agenda

    "The term, 'Son of Man', is considered to be one of the oldest traditions of Christianity, yet it boasts significant controversy, as scholars cannot agree on what it represents. In fact, even authors who are paradigmatically close to one another cannot seem to pin this term down. Many deny that Jesus even used the phrase, while others claim it cannot be denied that Jesus said those exact words. It is in light of this dispute that the debate has been sent into a stalemate. This study seeks to reopen the debate in discerning to what degree of signficance there is in trying to understand if Jesus used the term, and if he in fact did, what he meant by doing so."
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    Witherington III, Ben

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    Did Jesus Believe He Was the Son of Man?

    "Almost all scholars, of whatever affiliation or persuasion are utterly convinced that Jesus used the phrase "Son of man" to refer to Himself. This phrase is found in all the source layers of the Gospels whether we think of distinctively Markan, Lukan, Matthean, or Johannine material, or even in the sayings source that Luke and Matthew seem to have both drawn upon. By the criteria of multiple attestations this phrase has the highest claims to have been spoken by Jesus of Himself and used frequently. The more important question then is, what did Jesus mean by calling Himself the Son of man so frequently, especially when He used other titles much less frequently?"
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    Witherington III, Ben

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    Messiah/Christ

    "The term 'messiah' or in Hebrew, mashiach is in fact very rarely used in the Old Testament, but it does not follow from this that the concept cannot be found there. It in fact occurs in surprising ways and places. The term simply means an 'anointed one' and could in fact apply to a prophet, priest, or king all of whom might be anointed with oil as they were invested with their royal or religious role or function. Thus, one can point to Psalm 2:2 when the Davidic king, in this case David, is called God's anointed one. The claim to be anointed by God (not just by a prophet such as Samuel) involved a claim to have been authorized, empowered and legitimized by God to perform some special or specific task."
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    Witherington III, Ben

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    Son of David/Wisdom of God

    "On the surface of things, the title son of David might be taken to refer merely to one of the many descendants of the Jewish royal line. While it is true that the phrase has that connotation, in fact, it means much more. The phrase, for a start, is not all that common in early Judaism, including in messianic texts, and so the question is why the phrase is so frequently used of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, a Gospel which particularly stresses Jesus' Jewish roots and character. The proper question to be asked about the phrase was—Who, in Jewish ways of thinking, was 'the son of David', the most famous of his offspring. The answer to that question is easy—it was Solomon."
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    Witherington III, Ben

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    Son of God

    "The title Son of God, while more frequently conveying royalty than divinity in early Judaism, nonetheless had overtones of divinity for the very good reason that in the wider culture which surrounded Israel, kings were quite readily believed to be God's Son in a divine sense. Certainly, when this title was used by someone like Paul to speak of Jesus in the Greco-Roman world to Gentiles, the title must have sometimes carried this sort of significance. It is important to recognize then that it was Jesus' own use of the term Son of Himself that set this train of thought in motion, even though it was more fully amplified, explained, and expounded on after Jesus' death by Paul and various others as the Jesus movement spread west across the empire and became increasingly a Gentile phenomenon."
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    Wright, N. T.

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    Jesus’ Self-Understanding

    "The resurrection and ascension proved, first and foremost, that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. This meant, at once, that his death had to be regarded in some fashion as a victory, not a defeat, whereupon all Jesus’ cryptic sayings about the meaning of his death fell into place. Within that, again very quickly, the earliest Christians came to see that what had been accomplished in Jesus’ death and resurrection as the decisive climax to his public career of kingdom-inauguration, was indeed the victory of YHWH over the last enemies, sin and death. And with that they could no longer resist the sense, backed up again by Jesus’ cryptic sayings, that in dealing with him they were dealing with the living—and dying—embodiment of YHWH himself, Israel’s God in person."
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    Wright, N.T.

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    Jesus and the Identity of God

    "To address the subject of the theological significance of the earthly Jesus I take as my topic the central question of Jesus and God. The question must be approached from both sides. First, in what sense, if any, can we meaningfully use the word “god” to talk about the human Jesus, Jesus as he lived, walked, taught, healed, and died in first century Palestine? In what sense might Jesus conceivably have thought in these terms about himself? Can we, as historians, describe the way in which he might have wrestled with this question within the parameters of his own first century Jewish worldview? Second, what happens to our sense of the identity of God when we allow our long historical look at Jesus to influence what we mean by the endlessly fascinating word?"