C O U R S E L E C T U R E
Jesus: Who Do You Say I Am?
Notes taken on April 17, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
both Jesus and Israel are considered God's beloved and first-born son
in Genesis, this title is a challenge
"Human nature is not constituted so as to facilitate the acceptance of chosenness. The one chosen is sorely tempted to interpret his special status as a mandate for domination."
some think that this hurdle which is so present in the Old Testament will not be present in the New Testament
the disciples are just as much in the dark about chosenness as the twelve sons of Jacob were
a story that sits at the center of Mark's Gospel
the tale is bounded by two stories of blind men being healed by Jesus
takes place in Bethsaida
small town to north of Sea of Galilee
Mark 8:22-26: "They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, 'Do you see anything?' He looked up and said, 'I see people, but they look like trees walking around.' Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, 'Don't even go into the village."
this story is well-chosen for its present position in the Gospel
here Jesus asks his question: "Who do you say that I am?"
Mark 8:27-30: "Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, 'Who do people say I am?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others, one of the prophets.' 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah.' Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him."
what does the general public make of me?
what do you, my disciples, make of me?
Peter is the representative of the disciples
provides what seems to be the correct answer
Messiah means anointed one
translated in Greek as Christos
kings were regularly anointed with oil when they entered their office
e.g. Samual anointed David at the beginning of his services
Peter presumes that Jesus is the leader that will restore Israel among the kingdom of the nations
rather than looking at those glorious predictions, Jesus says some astonishing things about the liberator that God has appointed for Israel:
Mark 8:31-32: "He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him."
for Peter, this prediction of suffering on the part of Israel's Messiah ridiculous
the predictions told something quite different
Peter and the rest of the disciples have signed onto this mission to be part of Jesus' twelve, in order that they can become the prime beneficiaries of the glorious kingdom that Jesus will inaugurate
they imagined when the liberator came, Jerusalem would be bathed in light
the nations would bring the exiles back to Jerusalem
great wealth would dispense on this city
the disciples believed that if they had been with the Messiah from the beginning, much of this wealth would accrue to themselves personally
an ignominious death of the Messiah would cancel those expectations
the sacrifices made by the disciples would have been made in vain
but such an ignominious future was precisely what Jesus saw for himself, and therefore responded to Peter's rebuke:
Mark 8:33: "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men."