Did Jesus claim to be the long-awaited "messiah"? Contending that he did, Bird explores Second Temple literature to reveal an evolving messianic context for Jesus' life and teaching; refutes explanations that the contention originated with the early church; and examines the Gospels to show that Jesus' words and actions demonstrated that he believed he was Israel's savior. 208 pages, softcover from Baker.
Did Jesus claim to be the long-awaited "messiah"? Going against much contemporary scholarship, Australian scholar Michael Bird argues that he did. He begins by exploring the messianic expectations in the Old Testament and Second Temple Jewish literature. Next, Bird points out weaknesses in current arguments that "Messiah," or "Christ," was a title given to Jesus by the early church but not used by Jesus himself. Bird then examines the Gospels and related literature, finding in Jesus's words and actions evidence that he saw himself as the messiah described in the Scriptures of Israel and believed that Israel's restoration hinged on the outcome of his ministry.
Michael F. Bird (PhD, University of Queensland) is lecturer in theology at Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College in Australia. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission and The Saving Righteousness of God, and is a co-contributor to the biblical studies blog "Euangelion."