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Messiah in John

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Messiah According to Ashton, 'The Messiah, properly speaking, is a man anointed by God and sent by him at the end of time to assist him in establishing his kingly rule . . . generally speaking, whenever Messiah is used without qualification in the New Testament . . . it is either as a proper name or else in reference to the kingly, Davidic Messiah.' Smalley: 'The background to the concept of 'Messiah' is obviously and intensely Jewish, and the Johannine portrait of Jesus as the Christ - like the synoptic - shares this fully. John is also aware, like any good Jewish person, of the kingly and triumphal implications of the figure of Messiah: whether these were by association political, or religious, or both. However, once more John's Christology - while ultimately indebted to a Jewish-Christian tradition familiar to all the Gospel writers - is taken further. To this end John interprets the messiahship of Jesus by linking it to the notions of 'derivation' and, in a developed sense, 'kingship'. ...read more.


When Jesus is later challenged to tell the people plainly if he is the Messiah, he responds that he has already told them but they would not believe. However, Bultmann questioned the idea that Jesus had a Messianic consciousness, supporting the concept that views like these about Jesus were superimposed upon Jesus by later disciples The belief in Jesus' messiahship seems essential to the evangelist who comments (20:31) that the signs have been recorded so that people are brought to believe (or belief is confirmed) that Jesus is the Christ. Lindars writes that 'In the early church, baptism into the name of Jesus meant initiation into the company of those who confess him as Messiah and Lord. According to Smalley, 'the messiahship of Jesus, like his glory, was hidden from sight only by unbelief.' The signs cause division about the person of Jesus. There are those who conclude he is the Messiah (7:31), appreciating that the Christ could perform no more signs than Jesus has, and (7:41) openly affirming 'This is the Christ'. ...read more.


"As a result of which", says Beasley-Murray, "the awaited prophet like Moses became in the minds of many, at least a messianic figure". This would appear to be supported by the reaction of the crowd after the feeding of the 5000, when their appreciation that he is the awaited prophet means they wish to make him their 'messianic' king. However, in John, 'Messiah' is distinguished from 'Prophet'. John the Baptist denies that he is both the prophet and the Messiah. In 7:40, some hearing Jesus' words conclude he is the prophet, while others affirm that he is the Christ. The Samaritan woman acknowledges Jesus as prophet when talking to him, but later in her own Samaritan group, she asks 'Can this be the Christ?' when referring to Jesus' prophetic capacity as 'a man who told me all that I ever did'. Similarly, the man cured of blindness develops in the 'light' from his initial awareness that Jesus is a prophet, to confess his belief in Jesus as the Son of Man, accepted by some as a veiled Messianic title. So it seems that awareness of Jesus' prophetic status leads logically to an appreciation of his messiahship. ...read more.

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