The first question may be the more difficult one to answer. If you do a web search on "Jesus self understanding" you will find many who will be happy to say that the Bible tells you exactly who Jesus is — the one and only "son of God," by which they mean — God.
The only problem with that answer is — can one use the Bible to "prove" who Jesus is? That depends on your understanding of scripture. Where does Scripture come from God, or people? If your understanding of scripture is that it is the infallible Word of God, then of course you can use it to prove whatever you want (but you are going to have to do a great deal of explaining why God is so hateful and hurtful). But most people who believe the Bible is the "Absolute Truth" have never read it carefully or critically, especially in the original languages. If you don’t believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God then what is it? (That will be next weeks blog, along with my sermon on Sunday!)
So, who did Jesus believe that he was?
- Was he the Messiah?
- Was he the Son of God?
- Or maybe Son of Man?
Both of those are designations used in the Bible for Jesus. And I would suggest that yes, Jesus is both. But what do those words mean? Again, if you have read your Bible you know that Jesus is not the only Messiah, nor is he the only one referred to as Son of God, or Son of Man. Yikes, that makes it difficult.
But that still don’t really answer if he thought he was Messiah or not.
I think he did, especially with the Jewish understanding of Messiah, as one in a special relationship with God, chosen for a special task. Jesus clearly was that, and I think he understood it. I am not sure that he always understood what the consequences of that were, but he was willing to go along and trust in God.
WHO DO YOU SAY JESUS IS? That is really the important question, and the one that impacts our daily lives.
- Is he the lifeguard who saves us from this world?
- Is he the one who must return (will return) to signify the end of the world?
- Is he the one chosen by God, to show us how we are to live in relationship to God and with one another, here and now?
I am going to leave that question up to you.