Yesterday I spoke on “Jesus’ Bold Messianic Claims” at a conference at Narkis Church in Jerusalem, Israel. You can watch the video below. My talk is about a half hour. (The video also includes two more talks afterward, plus Q & A.)
I share some of the story about how I got interested in the Jewish context of Jesus, and why I find the work of this group of scholars so important and innovative.
In a nutshell, the religion professors I had in college were deeply skeptical about the reliability of the Gospels. Like many academics, they were convinced that the historical Jesus did not consider himself to be the Messiah — that this was something that the later church dreamed up on its own.
This group of scholars, who specialize in the language and Jewish context of the Gospels, found just the opposite. When they examined Jesus’ sayings about himself, he often made powerful claims to be the Messiah in a very sophisticated, subtle Jewish way. He would allude to key Messianic passages from the Scriptures, and point out how they were fulfilled in his life and ministry.
If you need some background for this talk, see the chapter called “Stringing Pearls” in Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.
My final observation, about Isaiah 53 and its messianic imagery, was something I wrote about in this article: A Surprising Idea in Isaiah 53.
Please excuse the sniffles – I had a bad cold when I spoke.