Who is Jesus? Great teacher? Religion creator? Messiah? Jesus the Messiah does an incredible job of tracing the growth and understanding of Messiah in the Old Testament and intertestamental period as well as its use in the New Testament.
What I expected was a book where I knew all that I was about to read. What I discovered was a book that looked at the individual threads of the Messiah tapestry and did so in a way that highlighted the beauty of each thread, each prophecy while maintaining the overall beauty of the Messiah tapestry.
Of the three sections of the book, Part II on the Expectations of a King was my favorite. The engagement of these intertestamental pieces from the Psalms of Solomon to the various Essene Dead Sea Scroll fragments gave a picture of the growth of the understanding of Messiah.
The temptation for Christians is to identify our understanding of Jesus the Messiah and embed that in all that we read. In a sense this is good and true, but to go back to the Old Testament as well as Jesus contemporaries, Jesus the Messiah lets the prophecies speak to their own time as well as the time when Jesus the Messiah came and still is to come. Words like historical and eschatological are used quite frequently in this book. The result is not a focus on the either/or of a prophecy, but both/and. In other words, how did these words speak to their specific historical situation and how are they to be understood in the coming of Jesus.
The New Testament section of the book, The Coming of a King, helps to see how the understanding of Jesus the Messiah not only grew but influenced the development of the early church. Each author is highlighted with his unique use of the word Christ while honoring the overall picture of Jesus the Messiah.
I give Jesus the Messiah 4 out of 5 stars. Its written for scholars, pastors and lay people to read. Though it gets a bit wordy at times, it provides a tremendous resource to lay out the growth of the understanding of Messiah and how the different pieces of the puzzle fit together in Jesus. You can check out the table of contents by clicking here or read an excerpt here.
My thanks to Kregel Publishing for a free copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review just an honest one.