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Judas and the Messianic Secret

Yesterday I gave one reason for thinking that Jesus considered himself the future messiah: he almost certainly told his twelve disciples that they would be future rulers in the coming kingdom.  It is hard to imagine how they could be twelve rulers in a kingdom if he himself was not the one over them, as the ultimate ruler, the king.  Jesus understood the coming kingdom in an apocalyptic sense: it would be brought in by a cataclysmic act of God in which the forces of evil were destroyed prior to the utopian rulership appeared.  And Jesus would be the king.  In *that* sense, he was to be the future messiah. I’ll give a second reason for thinking this in my next post.  For now I want to show how this understanding of Jesus’ view of himself makes sense of one other very puzzling datum, the betrayal of Judas. I don’t think there can be much doubt that Jesus really was handed over to the authorities by one of his own followers, Judas Iscariot.  Some people [...]

2020-11-08T00:03:25-05:00December 1st, 2015|Historical Jesus|

What Judas Betrayed

In my last post I indicated that I would write, next, on what it was, in my opinion, that Judas betrayed.   It is commonly thought, based on the NT evidence, that he indicated to the authorities where Jesus could be found apart from the crowds.   Maybe that’s right, even though, as I indicated, I do have some doubts about it.  Even if it is right, there may be more to it than that.   I think the following data are worth bearing in mind, leading to the resolution of the question that I prefer.  (At first these data may not seem relevant: but hang in there for a minute!) There is nothing to indicate that Jesus publically proclaimed himself the messiah or, more specifically, that he ever publicly announced that he was the King of the Jews during his lifetime.     You find Jesus accepting the title messiah in the later Gospels, but the first time it becomes a public issue, in our earliest account, Mark, is at Jesus’ trial in 14:61-62.   And never is the King [...]

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