My Pastor on the Messianic Secret

At church this morning, the pastor offered a sensible interpretation of the Messianic Secret.  The Messianic Secret is Jesus keeping secret his Messianic status in the synoptic Gospels.  Jesus either did not tell people that he was the Messiah, or he exhorted his disciples and demons not to reveal to others that he was the Messiah.  Why?  According to the pastor, Jesus did not want people to think he was the Messiah according to a common understanding of the day: that the Messiah would be a king who would deliver Israel from her Gentile oppressors.  New Testament scholars would probably offer a more nuanced perspective on first century Jewish Messianic expectations, but there were many who envisioned a cataclysmic and dramatic intervention by God into world events.  The pastor’s point was that Jesus did not want to be associated with that in people’s minds, and so he distanced himself from the term “Messiah”.  Rather, Jesus desired for people to focus on his deeds of mercy and compassion.

This could be.  At the same time, plenty of New Testament scholars would argue that Jesus did proclaim an imminent cataclysmic intervention by God into world events.  He just thought that he’d have to die and rise again for that to happen, and that did not accord with his disciples’ expectations.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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