Jesus’ Messianic Claims: The King of Isaiah 53

(This is the second of two articles based on a talk I recently gave called “Jesus Bold Messianic Claims.” The first is here: Jesus’ Messianic Claims: Very Subtle, Very Jewish.)

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KingIf you’re unaware of Jesus’ Jewish context, his parables and teachings can seem disconnected to the worshipful language that the rest of the New Testament uses to describe him as the Christ. But when you do know his culture, you start hearing him applying powerful prophecies about the coming Messiah to himself.

Many of these describe God’s promise that he would one day send a king to rule over Israel who would rule over the whole world. When the prophets spoke…

Jesus’ Messianic Claims: Very Subtle, Very Jewish

This essay is a fuller version of a talk I gave recently at a conference in Jerusalem called “Jesus’ Bold Messianic Claims.” (I will be posting it in two parts. This is part 1.)

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Jesus NewsweekBack in the 1980’s, there was little in the popular media about the historical Jesus except for the Jesus Seminar, with its radical skepticism and its scandalous “discoveries” about Jesus.

While the group’s sensationalism was roundly criticized, their pessimism about the reliability of the New Testament as a witness to Christ’s reality wasn’t uncommon in academic circles.

I was attending college about this time, and my New Testament professors were also convinced that the Gospels were composed …