Are You the One Who is to Come?
"Jesus understood himself as designated by God as the Messiah of Israel." This thesis may strike many historical-Jesus scholars as dangerously bold. But through careful study of the Gospels, Second Temple literature, and other period texts, scholar Michael Bird makes...
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"Jesus understood himself as designated by God as the Messiah of Israel." This thesis may strike many historical-Jesus scholars as dangerously bold. But through careful study of the Gospels, Second Temple literature, and other period texts, scholar Michael Bird makes a persuasive argument that Jesus saw himself as performing the role attributed to the messiah in the Scriptures of Israel and believed that Israel's restoration hinged on the outcome of his ministry.
^^Bird begins by exploring messianic expectations in the Old Testament and in Second Temple Judaism, finding in them an evolving messianism that provides historical context for Jesus' life and teaching. Next, he examines the prevailing contention that the messianic claim originated not with Jesus himself but in the preaching of the early church. Bird argues that such contentions lack cogency and often skew the evidence. Examining the Gospels and related literature, he then shows that what Jesus said and did demonstrates that he believed he was Israel's messiah. His career was "performatively messianic" in a way that shows continuity in eschatological terms between Israel and the church.
Did Jesus claim to be the long-awaited "messiah"? Going against much contemporary scholarship, Australian scholar Michael Bird argues that he did. He begins by exploring the messianic expectations in the Old Testament and Second Temple Jewish literature. Next, Bird points out weaknesses in current arguments that "Messiah," or "Christ," was a title given to Jesus by the early church but not used by Jesus himself. Bird then examines the Gospels and related literature, finding in Jesus's words and actions evidence that he saw himself as the messiah described in the Scriptures of Israel and believed that Israel's restoration hinged on the outcome of his ministry.
Michael F. Bird (Ph.D., University of Queensland) is Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College, Melbourne. Previously he has lectured at the Bible College of Queensland, and tutored at Highland Theological Institute in Dingwell, Scotland. He is a member of the Studiorum Novi Testamentum Societas, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Tyndale Fellowship.
He has written The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective (Paternoster Biblical Monographs); A Bird's Eye View of Paul; Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission (Library of New Testament Studies); Are You the One Who Is to Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question; Colossians (New Covenant Commentary); Crossing over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period and Romans (Regula Fidei Zondervan Commentary series)
Koorong -Editorial Review.