The apostles of our faith used a violent title for Jesus. They called Him The apostles of our faith used a violent title for Jesus. They called Him"Christ," literally meaning "Anointed," a title which Psalm two prophesied in very violent terms. We evangelicals expect Him to fulfill Psalm two in the future, while embracing His first coming as distinctly nonviolent. We may have failed to recognize how violently He triumphed in His first coming over the "rulers and authorities" of the world.
We say the first century Jews rejected Jesus because they wanted a violent king. In fact, Jesus was exactly that kind of king, a violent Psalm-two overthrower. They rejected Jesus not because He failed to act as the Psalm two "Anointed," but because they could not perceive His very violent triumph over their arch enemies.
SEEING, NOT PERCEIVING
Jesus famously told Nicodemas, "Unless one is born anew, he can not perceive the kingdom of God." Jesus did not use the common λεγω meaning "see," but είδω "perceive, discern, or discover." Jesus then clarified the second birth was the birth of the Holy Spirit. Unless one is reborn, he can not discern the kingdom of God. Nicodemas stared straight into the eyes of the Christos-King of God's kingdom, yet only called Him, "rabbi." Without the Holy Spirit's help, no Israelite could perceive what the Apostles perceived about Jesus: He is the "Anointed" or "Christos" of Psalm 2:2. He is the Psalm 2:7 Son of God, and He is the Psalm 2:8-9 Conqueror who crushed the ruler and authorities of this world.
When Jesus ripped a demon from the soul of a mute man in Luke eleven, the crowd perceived Beelzebub had empowered such victory. Jesus responded with talk of binding a strong man and plundering the treasure of enemies, then promised, "But if by the finger of God I cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you!" When Jesus drove a horde of demons out of one man into a herd of pigs, the crowds did not perceive a victorious new king. When our anointed King "disarmed" according to Colossians 2:15 earth's true rulers and authorities in a public display of triumph, Israel and Rome alike perceived only the ignoble death of a naked weakling.
Hebrew scripture gave the title of God's "Servant" (Is 52:13 & 53:12) to the One who would suffer for the guilty and rise again. Even though the Apostles demonstrated their familiarity with that title (Mt 12:18-21, Acts 3:13, 4:27, 13:26, Eph 2:7), they did not make "Servant" their primary title for Jesus. They did not call Him "Servant Jesus" or "Jesus Servant," but preferred to call Him Christ Jesus, Jesus Christ, the Christ, and Christ.
Whoever believes Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of God" believes Psalm two has happened, because nowhere else in Hebrew scripture are the two titles drawn together of the Christ (Anointed) and God's Son. Jesus promised in Matthew 16:16 He would build His "ekklesia" on the confession He was Christ and Son of God, the violent Conqueror whom Psalm two promised us.
Whoever believes what Mark called "the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" believes the gospel of Psalm two. Good News: Psalm two has happened. Good News: God's appointed King has crushed the ruler of this world. If Jesus is King, and His kingdom has "come near" (as scripture proclaims) then one might wonder, "What must I do to be liberated" from what Colossians 1:13 calls the "domain of darkness"? So Paul and Silas replied, "Believe in Master Jesus, the Anointed and you will be liberated, you and your house."
We preach a gospel of atonement and sacrifice. The Apostles explained atonement to believers and preached to unbelievers "The gospel of the Kingdom," "The Gospel of Christ," and "The Gospel of God." Romans 1:1-4 shows the gospel of God is the kingship of Jesus both humanly (of David) and divinely (Son of God) as proven by the resurrection.
To truly believe Jesus is the Christ and Son of God is to believe Psalm two has happened. The rulers and authorities have been crushed with a rod of iron like clay pots. Therefore the Apostles proclaimed, "No other name has been given under heaven by which we must be liberated." The enemy no longer has a claim to the liberated ones. Sin does not rule the liberated citizens of Jesus for He has conquered in the spiritual realm.
King Jesus conquered with greater strength than swords, politics, or even social media. He conquered by radical suffering, radical serving, radical giving, ridiculous forgiving, unearthly humility, and an absurd style of submission. So likewise we too conquer evil by our suffering, serving, giving, forgiving, humility and submission in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 12:1-21.
"Violent Messiah?" by Matthew Bryan was first published at www.matthewbryan.net on April 2nd, 2014. All rights are reserved.